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Present Over… Permanent?

Over the holidays, one of my dearest friends in the world sent me a book. Not just any book, mind you, one that I’d been secretly wanting since I first saw the cover release. Present Over Perfect, by Shauna Niequist. I’m not sure if it’s because I was a lake girl growing up, or because the color scheme synced so well with the calming promise of the sub title, but this book has been on my mind for quite some time. So, imagine my surprise when the me that lives days away (seriously, I think the two of us are the same person in different bodies) sent me this book without even knowing how badly I’d been wanting it.

I quickly tucked the book away in its packaging to keep it safe (no bent or ripped dust jackets in my home) until I could settle into my favorite leather reading chair next to my favorite lamp, turn off the lights, hunker down with some hot cocoa, and enjoy. Back in my reality, though, I needed to get my daughter all squared away at her dance class. Once done, I settled myself outside the dance room on the cold, hard floor to read the latest manuscript of one of my clients (my authors always come first over free-time reads… You’re welcome. LOL) Then, I got her text message. The message. The one that was about to change my life. There was a note in the book. I was supposed to read it. Uh-oh. (I had no reason to be afraid, but my mind always goes to uh-oh until the unknown is made known.)

Now, you’ll have to factor in this little diddy to fully understand the magnitude of what happens next in this story: I am a book hoarder. That is not the same as an actual hoarder, because book hoarders can also be considered National Treasure Appreciators. We don’t have hoards–we have “libraries,” and we work diligently to keep building up those libraries, to create the elusive “wall-to-wall, floor-to-ceiling, needs a ladder, even if the ceiling is only six feet tall” library. You know, like Belle had. Anything short of that is failure. So, again, main take-away here: once a book reaches my hands, it never leaves my possession. I am the keeper of all things words and spines (except for talking people… I’m not a socialite).

If you’re like me, then, you’ll need to brace yourself for this next part. It’s a doozey, and my first response was to break down, fall to my knees, and scream “The Horror!” at the top of my lungs in the parking lot of the dance studio. (Don’t worry. No animals or children were hurt in the making of this blog post…) Anyway, so my missive (because it was nothing short) was to read the book (*wipes brow* That’s doable…) and then to gift it to someone else… (*reads it again*) Wait. What? People really do this? Is it survivable? I like the idea of having a library, not loaning out books. Do I get to stamp a due date on it, or is this just sort of like if-you-love-something-set-it-free type loaning? Time to fall back down and commence yelling quotes from The Heart of Darkness.

Then, I re-read the note. Once my eyes stopped jiggling, my heart queued up a new emotion to help my brain out. Less lunatic-like and more logical now, I thought, Aww. That’s a sweet idea. This book is about living in the present. It’s about a more soulful way of living. Absorbing what the book has to offer in the present and then passing it along to someone else who I think may benefit from it does, indeed, seem like a more soulful way of appreciating a book.

Okay. Fine. I’ll do it.

So, this marks day one of my reading. I have no idea who’s going to get this book at the end of all this, but, whoever you are, know now that you are special.

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  • What an amazing gift…to be gifted! I love the whole “pay it forward” idea, too. Enjoy it while you have it, and pass it on

  • I think I might still do something like gift it to one of my dogs as a disingenuous way to have my cake and eat it too. Book fever has a terminal hold on me. Despite a large and ever-growing number of built-in and free-standing bookshelves, books are still taking over our home. My understanding wife, Kathy, not only endures this mania but enables it, constantly buying me every book I want. Book Outlet and Daedalus are the equivalent of evil drug pushes in this scenario, with their impossibly cheap remaindered books. Of course, these purchases come with the extra guilt of knowing I’m not helping the authors much when I buy this way. Luckily for my writer friends, I usually can’t wait for their titles to be remaindered before reading them, so I buy them when they first come out anyway. Does this redeem me a little? And what happens when our home becomes indistinguishable from a library? Will the county use Eminent Domain to declare it a public library, then lock me away in the laughing academy?

    • Jessica S says:

      Haha! This is a fabulous idea, and you have one very, very wonderful wife. 😀

      My poor little town… I didn’t even know there were whole stores for remaindered books. I understand where you’re coming from on the discounted books, but keep in mind that being remaindered isn’t always a bad thing. Could be excess stock, might be the last of hardback print run even though the paperback is doing an incredible job, might be that it just became a more economical choice to remainder than warehouse, too. Lots of considerations when it comes to remainders, but one thing to smile at with each one is that it got a print run or their wouldn’t be copies to remainder. 🙂

      When your home becomes indistinguishable from a library, then you’ve won at life. LOL

      …Now, that being said, if they get ready to lock you away in a laughing academy, please call me. I’d like to know what books you recommend checking out before they take you away.

  • Emily says:

    I’ve done this with friends before and while it’s a wonderful thing to do, I’m so the same way. Some books I like to make notes in, and that seems like a no-no when you’re passing it on! Still, if you love the book, you can always buy it for yourself after passing that particular copy on!

  • Hi, I’m Becca, and I have a library in my home. ❤

    That’s an awesome gift and really cool challenge. As always, I love your blog!
    Becca Waddell recently posted..Me and JesusMy Profile

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About Me
JessicaJessica Schmeidler is a professional editor, ghostwriter, literary agent, and homeschooling mompreneur. While still in college, she began working from home, starting her own business soon thereafter. In 2015 she founded Golden Wheat Literary. If she's not inside reading, writing, or editing, she's outside with her daughter, riding her horses, annoying the chickens, or playing in the garden. Read More
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