My favorite gift

Mark Oppenheimer writes an interesting article about the possible end of the book as a romantic gift with the advent of the e-book.

So what will you do, Kindle generation, when you cannot tell which of the quiet boys holding the e-reader on the subway is engrossed by the latest, predictable legal thriller, and which one by a cheery, long-forgotten Laurie Colwin novel? If by some chance you do end up with the right one, what do you buy him a month later, when it is time for that first, tentative, not-too-expensive present—a gift certificate for a free download?

This brought to mind the first gift that my wife ever gave me, less than a week into our relationship. It was a copy of Kate DiCamillo’s The Tale of Despereaux, a book that I simply adore. It’s the story of a nonconformist mouse who believes that his love for the light, for books and for a human Princess can overcome any of his rodent limitations.

There’s a quote from this book that is one of my favorites  in all of literature, and in my experience, it is one of the most accurate things that an author has ever said:

“Reader, you must know that an interesting fate (sometimes involving rats, sometimes not) awaits almost everyone, mouse or man, who does not conform.”

These words are at the the heart of my third book, currently in manuscript form, and they will likely be included as an opening quote.

But the best part about my copy of the book is the inscription that Elysha wrote. It reads:

For Matt,

Swimming in wonderment and possibility and with an eye to tomorrow…

- Elysha

It doesn’t get any better than that. Less than a week after our first date, I received this from a girl who I already wanted to marry. My heart soared, and it still does each and every time I read her inscription.

Someday I will pass this book down to my daughter, and with luck, it will remain in our family for generations.

You simply can’t write things like that on a Kindle.