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Books are excellent gifts, especially to book lovers.  Even those who are not exactly bookworms like well designed books.  We are all delighted by pretty covers, nice illustrations and even the fragrance of new books. It is like a wrapping paper with a unique and beautiful design.  If the gift that is covered by the paper and is tied with a pretty ribbon is as delightful it is even more thrilling.

How about old books, though?  There are all kinds of ‘old books’.  There are books we read when we were younger, the kind of stories that we no longer find interesting.  There are books that are parents read that don’t interest us at all maybe because the stories are too complicated or because they are about things that we really don’t care much about.

We find old books in all kinds of places.  You find them in book cases which hold the books that your parents had read a long time ago.  The covers may not be very interesting simply because the styles of that time are now considered ‘old fashioned’ or ‘boring’.  Sometimes they are covered in dust and that is a put-off.  The pages don’t look as fresh as your math text book.  And even if you don’t really like numbers you wouldn’t toss aside the textbook and pick up an old book with yellowed pages, some of which have been attacked by silverfish.

But then there are ‘old books’ that have stories as interesting as the one you just finished reading.  The pages are yellowing and the musky smell doesn’t exactly delight you, but if you can get past all that you will have a story to read that you might delight in.

Most houses where there’s some interest in reading will have old books.  On rainy days, say, it’s something different that you can do.  It’s like going to a used-books store where the kind salesperson will allow you to sit and read a book from cover to cover without charging a cent.

Among these ‘old books’ you will surely find some that have been read more than once.  Perhaps some of them were actually purchased from a used-books store and had multiple owners before someone brought it into your house.  Some books are read by many because they are passed around among friends.
So, on a rainy day, say, when you can’t go out and play, can’t fly a kite or can’t even stroll around the garden, you can sit among books.  If you find some interesting story, bingo!  If not, it’s still not a waste of time.  You can think of all the unknown people who would have read the particular book.

You can wonder where they lived and what they do now.  If it is a really old book the first owner might now be a grandparent or may be dead.  You can wonder if that person lived a different kind of life simply because he or she read the particular book.

You can flip through the pages and think of other fingers that turned each page impatient to know what came next.  You can wonder what kinds of fingers touched those pages before yours did.  Did they belong to someone who became a pianist and if so did he or she turn each page softer than would say a person who became a mechanic?  Did the turning page sound like music to someone?  And if you find the fragrance of old books fascinating, you can ask yourself whether someone else breathed the same fragrance or was it different, fresher, back then?

There are many gifts within the covers of a book.  Old books have secrets.  They can be enchanting, if you think about it.

MS