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A Bibliophile's Birthday


I used to live in Italy. Growing up an Air Force brat, I moved around frequently and, with parents who both spoke fluent Italian, it was inevitable that we'd be stationed there at least a couple of times. While I was in graduate school, they had the gall to move back to Italy without me. Fortunately, DH and I got to visit them several summers in a row. As I have a late summer birthday, we generally managed to be there for it. I have so many sun-drenched birthday memories. Memories filled with sea salt, Aranciata, marble floors, and happiness.


One of the things I've always loved about my family is that we do birthdays well. Wherever we happened to land on my birthday over the years, my dad always managed to finagle a birthday cake. These cakes came in all manner of flavors, shapes, and sizes. Sometimes they were smushy affairs made of yogurt and jam, sometimes they had messages spelled out in a hilarious mixture of languages, always they were heartfelt and delicious.



I've been told more than once that I'm difficult to buy presents for. Part of this may be that I love books more than just about anything and it's intimidating for other people to buy them for me as they're never sure exactly what I've already read, what I have and haven't heard about yet, etc. This doesn't stop my husband though. One particular summer in Italy DH surprised me and pulled out all the stops.



On my birthday he handed me a folded letter. As it technically qualifies as a love letter, I'll just extract a few pertinent snippets:
I hope that somewhere in this collection of books by one of your favorite authors is the perfect gift. If not I hope it's close. We have many years, and I will get it right eventually. Most of all I hope you know I love you more than music and laughter, for you are both these things to me.

As far as I can tell I have found all of the Mary Stewart novels for you. Many of these I know you already own and I found more than one interesting copy of most of them so you'll have a very redundant collection. However, there are, I believe, seven 1st editions in the group and at least four 1st edition paperbacks. I found a couple signed copies, but they were simply beyond our meager budget...someday. In total you will be receiving 36 books in the mail over the next several weeks. Two of these are coming from Wales and Scotland and will take some time, the rest from the U.S. and Canada should be quicker. You'll have to make sure to check the mail every day as I don't think our little mailbox will be able to handle the volume.

Happy Birthday and all my love with these simple gifts.

There's really not much for me to add except to say that it was the loveliest birthday present this bibliophile ever got and that I'm awfully fond of that man.

The Collection

Comments

  1. That's a wonderful birthday present! So romantic.

    Hope all your birthdays are as happy!

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  2. Wow, that is really, really romantic... I'm all aglow.

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  3. Wow, wow, WOW, what a great present. And a great author, too. I'm still in the process of reassembling my Stewart collection -- some of my favorites are still missing. But I will do it!

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  4. So sweet. I love this. And the letter is just as awesome as actual gifts.

    And I'm evil because I thought - "would it be bad to show my husband this post"? My birthday is coming up and he often gets a deer in headlights look in the weeks before it. Every year he does wonderfully and I don't really ask for much but every year he still looks like he's doomed. I kind of like it. HAH.

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  5. How lovely. What a sweet gift.

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  6. Lana, it did sort of set the bar high, didn't it? lol.

    Diana, reading through the letter again made me all gooey as well. I'm a bit hopeless, I suppose. :)

    RJ, she's one of the good ones for sure. And stay tuned. I'm thinking I may have to do a giveaway next week to spread the Mary Stewart love.

    Janicu, you're absolutely right. I treasure the letter as much as the books. Oh, and feel free to give hubby a friendly nudge in the right direction via this post. hehe.

    Janssen, I chose....wisely. ;)

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  7. Karen W.6:49 PM

    What a fantastic gift. It definitely warms a bibliophiles heart. :)

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  8. Music and Laughter. Perfect. :)

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  9. Sniffle, Sniffle. That is SO sweet.

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  10. That is really, really, lovely!

    I'm a Mary Stewart fan too--my mother handed me her copy of This Rough Magic when I was 14, and I never looked back!

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  11. That is an incredibly thoughtful and romantic gift, delivered to you with the perfect words. ^_^

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  12. Angie, what a wonderful gift--to have a man who understands you so well!






    (And the books are obviously icing ;-) )

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  13. Aaaaaahhhhh, that's a lovely story. So that's the reason behind the massive Mary Stewart collection!

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  14. Karen, I'm glad. That was my hope in posting it.

    Carrie, you see he's a bit of a poet. And you did not know it. ;) *pimpernel*

    Michelle, I should have recommended a hanky before reading maybe. lol.

    Charlotte, oh THIS ROUGH MAGIC is a great one to start with. My mom was the enabler as well! With me it was MADAM, WILL YOU TALK? Sooooo good.

    Christine, it really was the delivery that made it.

    ALady, yeah he's pretty great. When he gives me books he's positively swoon-worthy.

    Li, that's the reason. She's got her own shelf and everything.

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  15. Now that IS beautiful!!

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  16. I'm so jealous! That's a fabulous present. I need to figure out a way for my boyfriend to "accidentally" read this post. :)

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  17. Thanks, Amy.

    Jennie, hehe. Best of luck!

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  18. Natasha, true dat.

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