Friday, December 21, 2018

Book Blogger Hop No. 155: Book Club Gift Exchanges

Welcome to the Book Blogger Hop,
hosted by Billy @

For more information, and 
to find out the topic of next week's question, click HERE.

This Week's Question

Does your book club have a book
exchange for the holidays,
or any other time during the year?
If you don't belong to a book club,
do you think that would be
something fun to do?

(Submitted  by Elizabeth  @ 

My Answer

Here's the short and sweet answer again! 

I don't belong to any book clubs, either online or in "the real world", alas...... Do I think this would be a fun thing to do? Heck, YEAH.

A bit longer, now, lol.....

At this WONDERFUL, JOYFUL time of year, there are "Secret Santa" gift exchanges going on at many companies. I used to participate in the annual ones held at a certain company I worked at, in downtown Miami. I haven't worked there in nearly five years now, so my only job is my part-time evening teaching job, at a Miami high school. Sadly, we don't have any gift exchanges there. Teachers might get Christmas presents from their students at the end of the last trimester (in December), or they might not. It all depends on the students. 

At any of these company exchanges, it has been my experience that VERY few people EVER give anybody a book, or a Barnes & Noble gift card, or even an Amazon gift card that could be used for buying books. It seems that people at most companies think that a book is NOT a worthwhile present, especially not for a woman. 

Even when I've been given presents by students, NONE of them have ever given me a book or a B&N gift card! In fact, one year, a group of students gave me a $200.00 gift card. I was overjoyed!! But, when I happened to mention, to several students, that I could buy several books with that gift card, one of hem gave me a weird look, and told me to spend it on NECESSARY things, like shoes, purses, or clothes. AAAAARRRRGGHH!!!! Needless to say, I did NOT heed her "advice". I LAVISHED books on myself!! LOL.

Many people -- whether company employees or students one teaches -- will invariably give a female employee/teacher such stereotypical presents as perfume, scarves, costume jewelry, or Bath & Body Works body lotions. Once, a group gave me a purse, which was obviously of the expensive variety. So, whenever I've gotten either a printed book or a B&N gift card in a company gift exchange, I've had to actually let people know that I would like to receive either one of those two options. Not that I don't like perfume or the other typical gifts given to women. But heck, if I feel a sudden need for some great-smelling perfume, I'll go ahead and buy it. A book as a gift, though, will send me through the roof with happiness!!!

I've written all of the above because I would LOVE  to be a member of a group of people who did not consider it somehow "not quite appropriate" to give someone -- especially a woman -- a book as a present, whether for Christmas or birthdays. So I would be ECSTATIC if I were to be in a book club -- preferably in "the real world" -- where people DID have such exchanges! Unfortunately, I'm not...... :(

I've been searching for such a book club for some time now, but have not found one. The ones I've found through Google all seem to be too far away for me. So my search continues....

To all of you lucky people who belong to "real life" book clubs that DO have book gift exchanges during the holidays, I say the following: thank God or whoever is your higher power that you belong to such a book club!! And let it be known that I am TOTALLY GREEN WITH ENVY. Lol.

So.....Merry Christmas to all of you fellow book lovers/bloggers, or Happy Kwanzaa (Hanukkah is long since over), and Happy New Year to all!!!  

What are your thoughts on
this topic?
Please leave a comment! 
If you're participating in this meme,
I'll go comment on your 
own BBH post.
If not, I will then comment on one 
of your blog posts!
Thanks for visiting!!! 


  1. Great post Maria . My boss just gave me an Amazon gift card for the holidays so I am happy! I have gotten books as gifts and I have been happy with them. But the folks who gave them to me kew me well and were able to pick books that interested me. In all fairness if one does not know a lot about a recipient's reading tastes buying a book seems difficult.

    The reaction that some people have had to you wanting books is dismaying. Some folks do not get it, worse, some seem almost anti -reading. It is even more discouraging that some react like this more so with women.

    The good news is, that I think that it is safe to say for both of us, that when it comes rime to read something new, there will always have plenty of unread books surrounding us to choose from!

    Have great weekend.

    1. Hi, Brian!

      Sorry for the late reply....:( And thanks for the compliment!! <3 <3

      It's GREAT that your boss gave you an Amazon gift card! You can certainly use that to buy books!! :) And you're SO LUCKY to have received books in the past from people who know just how much you love them! That used to be the case with me, too, when I was younger. I used to get books as presents from my parents. When I got older, and had been working for several years, Mom figured that, since I could then buy my own books, she would stop giving them to me, and give me other, "necessary things", like sweaters and socks, instead. Lol.

      As for co-workers in "Secret Santa" exchanges, they knew very well what types of genres I enjoyed, because I would tell them. Lol. I once posted, on a bulletin board, exactly what I wanted as a "Secret Santa" present. (That was at one of my early jobs, lol.) I posted that I wanted an SF or fantasy book, adding that it was okay if it was a paperback, so the person who got my name wouldn't have to spend too much money! :) :)

      At subsequent jobs, I would let people know that I wanted a B&N gift card, so they wouldn't have to worry about giving me a book I didn't like. He, he!!

      Yes, that reaction is certainly dismaying, not to mention disappointing..... And it does seem that it's directed more at women. I've had this experience three times, actually -- it happened at two different jobs, where two women (one at each job) gave me costume jewelry instead of a book or gift card. These jobs were spaced several years apart, yet both women said the exact same thing -- that jewelry was a "more appropriate" gift!! The second woman added that "you already have plenty of books". Well, she wasn't wrong about that, lol. BUT STILL.

      Okay, I have to admit it's true that I have a LOT of books sitting on my shelves that I haven't read yet. That doesn't mean I won't be giddy with happiness if someone gives me either a book or a gift card with which to buy MORE books!! ROFL!!!

      Well, it's Christmas Eve, so I'd like to wish you, your wife, and family a VERY Merry Christmas!! Sure hope someone gives YOU a book!! (You already got the gift card, lol.)

      Thanks for the great comment!! <3 :)

  2. What a great answer as always, Maria.

    I always love your detailed comments. :)

    I would have used the gift card for books too. :)

    Have you tried your library for a book club? They may even know of local ones to recommend.

    Thanks for sharing and for coming by my blog.

    1. Hi, Elizabeth!

      Sorry for the late comment.....:( And thanks for always giving me such nice compliments about my BBH answers!! <3 <3 <3

      If someone gives me a gift card, even if it's not specifically a B&N gift card, I will, OF COURSE, use it to buy books!! I just wouldn't want to use it for anything else! LOL.

      Hey, that's a GREAT idea, going to my local library to ask about any book clubs in the area! Now WHY didn't I think of that?! Thanks!!!

      You're welcome for the sharing and the visit to your blog!! Thanks for always being SO NICE!! <3 <3

      MERRY CHRISTMAS TO YOU & YOUR FAMILY!!! HUGS!!! <3 <3 <3 :) :) :)

  3. Enjoy the holidays, Maria. Hope you get many new books.

    1. Hi, Nicki!

      Sorry for the late comment..... :(

      Oh, I already have! And I've bought them all myself!! LOL!! LOL!! LOL!!

      Thanks for commenting!! MERRY CHRISTMAS TO YOU AND YOUR FAMILY!!! <3 <3 <3 :) :) :)

  4. I agree with Brian. You do have to know someone very well to give them a book. Once, I was given, for my Kris Kringle(Secret Santa?) gift, a cookbook aimed at teenagers just leaving home! After twenty years out of the house! Heck, I could WRITE cookbooks! I’d rather have had soaps or bubble bath!

    And there is a limit of, in my workplace, about $10 - $15. I usually give my “Secret Santas” whom I don’t know well, something generic, such as, yes, Body Shop soaps and shower gels for women. The male ones I’ve given to tended to be ones I knew well. A new father would get a picture frame or a brag book. One was fond of sweets; I gave him a mini-hamper of goodies from favourite sweet shops. Another was passionate about coffee. I went to a restaurant well known for its coffee and asked the barista for a suggestion; he suggested his own favourite bean. For $10 I got a big bag of wonderful, aromatic coffee beans. For women colleagues I knew well, I did the same. A friend I knew was passionately into social justice, I bought some Oxfam stuff. She turned out to be MY Kris Kringle that year and got me a lovely calendar. I do buy book vouchers for my friends, male and female alike - I bought three this year- and iTunes cards which they can use to buy ebooks.

    1. Hi, Sue!

      Yes, you and Brian are right. However, I DID use to let people know, at the companies where I worked, what genres I enjoyed reading. And I mentioned this in the post above. Here's the exact quote: "So, whenever I've gotten either a printed book or a B&N gift card in a company gift exchange, I've had to actually let people know that I would like to receive either one of those two options." In fact, at one particular company, I even posted a note on the bulletin board, with the statement that I would LOVE to get either an SF or fantasy novel, and it was okay if it was a paperback, so that whoever got my name would not have to spend too much money. Guess what? The female co-worker who got my name gave me costume jewelry ANYWAY. VERY FRUSTRATING!!!

      I also have to point out that, whenever I've participated in these exchanges, co-workers have come up to me and asked me what so-and-so would like to receive as a present, because they had gotten that person's name. I've done the same thing. I think one should give a person something that person would enjoy receiving. Instead, I've noticed that most people give others the very SAME thing THEY would like to receive. I don't do that. I make every effort to find out what that person would like to receive. If they're not into books, I wouldn't give them either a book or a B&N gift card. I would give them exactly what THEY would want.

      In other words, I think it's nice, and shows caring, when someone makes an effort to get a present for someone else that they KNOW that person would love, because the giver has actually gone to the trouble of finding out exactly what their recipient would LOVE. Heck, you even went to a restaurant and asked a barista for a recommendation! KUDOS to you for DOING THAT!! :) Gee, I wish everyone were like you..... But most people aren't. If they get a woman's name, they get stereotypical women's gifts. If they get a man's name, they get stereotypical men's gifts. A lot of men would LOVE to get either a book or gift card for books, too!!

      I'm glad that SOME people, like you and me, actually take the time and trouble to get a "Secret Santa" present they KNOW their recipient will LOVE!!

      Thanks for the WONDERFUL comment!! Hope you had a GREAT Christmas!! Happy New Year!! <3 :)

  5. I definitely have enjoyed being in a bookclub in the past that did a book exchange, but we did also use a questionnaire to ensure that the books gifted would fit (because we had very diverse tastes in our bookclub). Hope you have a great weekend and maybe get at least a gift card with which to buy books this holiday season. - Katie

    1. Hi, Katie!

      Oh, LUCKY, LUCKY you!! I need to find out about any book clubs in my immediate area. Elizabeth suggested going to my local library and asking about that. I'm going to do just that! :)

      Using a questionnaire for book club members is a smart idea! In my case, when I participated in "Secret Santa" exchanges, I made SURE people knew what I wanted to get as a gift -- either a book (and I specified the genres, too), or a B&N gift card. Only in THREE jobs did I actually get what I wanted! In one of them, I got TWO Star Trek TOS (The Original Series) hardcovers. In another, I got a general SF paperback. And in the third, in two different years, I got a B&N gift card. Btw, ALL of these gift givers were men. Women gift givers ALWAYS thought they knew what would be "more appropriate" FOR ME, EVEN when I had specified EXACTLY what I wanted. VERY ironic, I think! :)

      We had a great weekend, and a WONDERFUL Christmas, too! And I DID get books -- I bought them on Ebay, and they came in just in time -- on Christmas Eve!! (My husband thinks I have TOO many books, so he never gives me any. My family thinks the same way. And I don't have ANY bookish friends in "the real world".... Oh, well!)

      Thanks for the nice comment!! Happy New Year!! <3 :)

    2. Let me know if you find a book club at the library or if they know of any local ones. :)

    3. Hi, again!

      I SURE will!! Thanks for the idea!! HAPPY NEW YEAR!!!! HUGS!!! <3 <3 <3 :) :) :)


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