Now that the holidays are winding down, let me share a quick story with you. It’s about gift giving, book shopping and how great minds think alike, and so do ours.
A few weeks ago, Mrs. Weathereye was reading about a new novel called The Bishop’s Man, by Canadian TV journalist Linden MacIntyre. The book had just won last year’s Giller Prize (Canada’s top book award) and it caught her fancy. As I was heading for the library, she asked me to see if I could sign out a copy.
I couldn’t, as it wasn’t available, but I made a pre-Christmas mental note to buy it for her as a gift.
Flash to mid-December. I went to the bookstore to buy it. This is one of those huge bookstores with a Starbucks and a fireplace and sofas and such. The first thing I saw when I got there was The Complaints, Ian Rankin’s newest. My mother is a huge Rankin fan, so I grabbed that. Then I found The Bishop’s Man and got in line.
There were two clerks working and about 30 people in line. After about 10 minutes, I knew I would be late getting the kids from school, so I put the books down and left. One thing led to another and I didn’t make it back for a few days, and during that time I stopped over at my mother’s and saw she was reading … The Complaints. She’d already bought it.
This reminded me that I still had to buy The Bishop’s Man. I went to another bookstore, a smaller one, but they were sold out, so I headed back to the big bookstore … and couldn’t find a parking space. Fuming and over-shopped, I decided to try again another day.
Just before Christmas, Mrs. Weathereye flew across the province to see her sisters. While there, they exchanged gifts, and it turned out both she and one of her sisters had bought a third sister the same present: The Bishop’s Man. “No worries,” Mrs. Weathereye said. “I’ve been wanting to read this, so I’ll just keep one copy and take you out to buy you a different book.” Problem solved. When I picked her up at the airport, she told me the story and I laughed, telling her how I’d almost bought her the book.
Cut to Christmas Eve. My mother gives us presents: The Complaints for me, The Bishop’s Man for her. The story gets told again. Everyone laughs. I can only wonder what we’d have done if I had actually managed to buy those two books. That would have meant four copies of The Bishop’s Man and two copies of The Complaints.
In related news, there are now nine copies of the Susan Boyle CD floating around our immediate families. Next year: gift cards.
- Note: The Complaints is Rankin’s best book in a long time, even better than Doors Open, which I adored. I love his Rebus novels, but I prefer his standalones. I recommend this one to anyone who’s been wanting to try the Scottish writer out.