You may have heard that if you want to give books for the holidays, you should order them immediately. Or even, honestly, yesterday.
Point is, thanks to the supply chain, booksellers are slammed, so you have a great excuse to start ordering the best books to give as gifts in 2021 early (AKA right now, as soon as you finish reading my list).
A lot of these bookish gifting lists focus on the big bestsellers of the year, the buzzy seem-to-be-everywhere books. And that’s a great strategy, for many people.
But the thing is, if you’re here, you’re trying to give a book to a reader. And that’s a problem, because as any friend-of-a-bookworm knows, it’s impossible to buy us something to read, because you’re never sure what we have or haven’t read. And there is a high likelihood that we’ve already read, or ruled out, those buzzy books.
Once during an interview, when asked for his definition of paradise, Johnny Cash replied simply: “This morning, with her, having coffee.”
It’s a strikingly beautiful phrase, though one that lost its initial impact on me after repeated exposure during a back-to-back-to-back series of trips to Nashville (home of both The Johnny Cash Museum and the Country Music Hall of Fame), where it was printed on everything from coffee mugs to throw pillows in area boutiques and cafés.
For that reason, I didn’t think much about that phrase again until last year. A little background on the coffee front: I’d been a beat reporter at the local NPR affiliate in Louisville, Ky., for several years.
The station was in a central corridor of the downtown area and less than two blocks from a miniature deli called Nancy’s Bagel Box. Daily coffee from there was non-negotiable because of proximity. I didn’t think about whether it was “good coffee,” I suppose — but it went down easy and powered me through early morning editorial meetings.