Saturday Selects #24: Valentine’s Day

Saturday Selects is a series of posts I write on the first Saturday of each month to discuss a topic outside the general bookish theme of the blog. Today the topic is Valentine’s Day.

What’s the day mean to you? Maybe it’s been full of memories? Or perhaps you can’t wait for the calendar to say it’s the 15th of the month? To me, the day means next to nothing. I worked in a grocery store in an upper middle class suburb for a long time. And every year around this time the store would be full of men buying their girlfriends or wives or mothers roses, chocolate, chocolate covered strawberries, and cards. And I just don’t see the reasoning behind it.

I mean, is there anything less romantic than flowers that are going to die in a week? How does buying chocolate or flowers prove you care about or love someone? And why are we so enamored with going out of our way to show it on one day of the year? It’s ridiculous.

I think the whole thing is a game. A game people in relationships play to set the stage for the coming months. They know how superficial the entire thing is, but they partake anyway.

Most of the holidays and non-holidays we celebrate make no sense to me, but Valentine’s Day is right at the top. Not really because I’m interested in telling people what they should or should not be celebrating, but because society as a whole has been trained to believe that Valentine’s Day is about showing how much you love someone. But it isn’t. That’s something that should happen every single day.

What’s your take on the day we celebrate every February 14?

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On Holiday Movies

I’m not a fan of the holiday season at all, but there are some classic holiday movies I simply love. Home Alone is probably the one everyone thinks of, and it’s high on my list, but there’s at least one movie that sits above it. Can you guess it?

No. Probably not.

The Nightmare Before Christmas.

I’m not a fan of Tim Burton, but this movie is just perfect. Better than any of his more recent work, in my opinion. There are a few other holiday movies I find enjoyable, but this one is my all-time favorite. Easily.

What’s your favorite holiday movie?

Have a nice day off work today.

*turns on the movie now*

All I Want for Christmas is…

For it to be over.

The decorations can go back into the garage. The music can stop playing. People will stop questioning why I have a different opinion (gasp!) than just about everyone else.

People will stop complaining about it being so hot here. I’ll finally be able to do a little more at work because the store won’t be full of people. And I’ll see my family the one time this year. How fun. But hey, my birthday is coming up. So it isn’t all bad.

What’s your least favorite part of the holidays?

Look at This Vending Machine!

I haven’t bought a single Christmas present this year and I’m still quite happy the holiday season is coming to an end. I seriously hate that no one in my family listens when I say I don’t want anything. It’s ridiculous that they feel obligated to give me something I definitely don’t need or want. I don’t even believe in the stupid day. Ugh.

Anyway, I can’t do much about unwanted gifts here in the US. I could perhaps take them back with the original or gift receipt, but then I’d just have to replace them with something else I don’t need. But those living in Germany have another option. They can take their unwanted gifts to a vending machine that will be going around various shopping malls that does something rather amazing. It takes your unwanted gift and replaces it with a new release book! Has there been anything greater, ever? And the gifts are donated to charity!

I’ll be stuck with some unwanted and unnecessary gifts in a few days, but at least in Germany they can do something about it. I’ll just pretend to like whatever I get.

What do you think of this vending machine replacing unwanted gifts with new books?

On Holiday Books

The holiday season is upon us here in the US. Black Friday is less than a week away and then it’s a mad dash to get everything you need for Christmas. Which in most cases is nothing, but people suddenly “need” or “want” things when the holidays come around. So dumb.

Anyway, I got to thinking about holiday books recently. We have a table of Christmas cards. We have a table of Christmas books. And there’s a small section of holiday books in the kid’s section at my store. All this to say that I’d never thought of holiday books before now.

I’ve thought of the Charlie Brown specials and old cartoons that start showing up on TV. And I’ve thought of the ridiculous shopping season. But not any books. I mean, is it really THAT important to read something that just happens to be snowy and jolly? Is it THAT important to read a book around Halloween that is about Halloween? No. I don’t think it is.

We already know how crazy Black Friday will be nationwide. We already know about the shopping season that takes place over the next month. We already know about the decorations EVERYWHERE. I just hate that the holiday season now has to be a part of every aspect of life. Oh well. It isn’t a major part of mine. Thankfully.

Do you have any go-to holiday stories? I have none.

Today Should Be a Federal Holiday

And it really upsets me that it isn’t. For those who have no idea why I think today should be a holiday in America, on this date in 1941 Pearl Harbor was attacked.

I’ve written about World War II before on this blog. I’ve previously said that I think June 6 (D-Day) should be a holiday. But no. In the decades since the end of the worst conflict in history, I’ve never even heard of Congress trying to recognize December 7 as a holiday. And September 11, another day I believe should be a federal holiday, has only been discussed in small numbers.

I obviously wasn’t alive on December 7, 1941, but I imagine that it felt much the same as September 11, 2001. I remember exactly where I was (Ms. Niezgoda’s 4th grade class at Meadows Elementary.) I remember not being able to go outside for recess that day. I remember my dad picking me up from school early. And I remember the news coverage. Technology of the 40s was not what it was in 2001, but whether it was over the radio or in the newspaper or from your neighbor, everyone eventually found out what happened. And I’m sure you’ve all heard the FDR speech at least once.

There have been many events and conflicts in the history of the United States. But how many really bring you back to that specific day? I would say December 7, 1941. June 6, 1944. November 22, 1963 (Kennedy Assassination.) And September 11, 2001.

There won’t be any parades and you may not see anything about Pearl Harbor on the news today, but that doesn’t change how important it is in the history of this country.

I Won’t Recommend Books…But I Know who Will!

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Photo Credit: Penguin

First off, thanks to everyone who voted in my first ever poll yesterday. I’m going to write a companion post once the poll is no longer visible next week to discuss the results. If you have no idea what I’m talking about, then click here to read the post and get your vote in before it’s all gone!

Okay. So y’all know that I don’t recommend books. Ever. Even when I’m asked by someone who knows that I still hesitate to do so. Well it turns out that there are some people who are eager to recommend some books for the reader in your family. Even though I’d just say get an Amazon or Barnes and Noble gift card, but that’s just me.

The wonderful folks over at Penguin have set up the Penguin Hotline this holiday season to help you get that special someone the perfect book. Now there’s no doubt in my mind that they will be recommending books they’ve published, so obviously they aren’t recommending the “perfect” book to anyone. More like the “perfect book we published.” But Penguin Random House is huge and I’m sure they’ll really try finding the best matches for every person.

And it’s super easy. All you have to do is fill out a simple form about the person’s reading habits and you’ll receive an email within a couple of days with some recommendations. Simple.

So if someone in your family or circle of friends is big on reading and you’re not going to take my advice by getting them an Amazon gift card, then maybe the Penguin Hotline is for you.

Click here to visit the website and get your form filled out.