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Fahrenheit 451 appears to be a hot book this Christmas.

Very few things happen according to plan in my life. Here’s a prime example. I set out early this morning to finish my Christmas shopping and buy a few groceries. I bought a cart full of food, then spent the next several hours Christmas shopping for my mother-in-law and a couple of kids on my list.

I was able to buy some nice things that I know my mother-in-law will love. Then I picked up some things for the kids, which I hope they’ll like. I was feeling pleased with myself until I got home and unloaded the car. I was proudly showing my husband the things I bought for his mom when he told me that his son and daughter-in-law decided not to attend our extended family Christmas party.

The problem is that the party is tomorrow. We drew names and everyone was supposed to buy one gift of $30.00 or less for the person whose name he or she drew. I knew the names in play and who had drawn whom. My husband had drawn one of the people skipping our party and my step-daughter had drawn the other. I texted my step-daughter and worked out whose name she would take and whose name my hubby would take.

My husband is working tonight, so in all actuality I am responsible for making sure our nephew receives a gift. I texted both my sister and my mom for last minute ideas. I went back into town and frantically searched a few stores for the perfect gift. I bought him something that was on his Christmas list, but I wasn’t happy with just giving him that. It didn’t seem personal enough. While it’s a practical item that he wants and needs, it has no pizzazz.

I’ve often said my nephew is a lot like me in many ways. Not only does have have my eyes, but he’s passionate about several issues, speaks his mind, and is a voracious reader just like yours truly. In fact, people have mistaken him for my son before.

When I’m lost or need to think, I go to the bookstore. I was browsing the classics section when I remembered Mom mentioning that my dear nephew had pointed out a classic to her, but chose something else when they were shopping together. I knew in that moment of inspiration that I wanted to buy whatever book he had reluctantly left behind. I asked her the title, but she couldn’t remember.

So, I called my sister. Four times. I’m surprised she didn’t block my number. She remembered that he had shown her a copy of Fahrenheit 451 when they were shopping for his girlfriend. She’d reminded him they weren’t there for him, and he once again left the book behind.

BINGO! Fahrenheit 451 is a classic novel by Ray Bradbury, and I was standing in a bookstore. No problem, right? Well, maybe. I looked everywhere I could think to look. I found The Picture of Dorian Grey, Beowulf, The Iliad, The Odyssey, Wuthering Heights, the complete collections of Twain, Wilde, Wells, Poe, Lovecraft, and many more. Yet Farenheit 451 eluded me. I knew I had to be overlooking it. I finally asked an employee who retrieved a copy for me. They were on the “Best Sellers” table, which equals expensive.

Apparently Farenheit 451 is a hot book this season. (Yeah, I love a good pun.) It may be because HBO made a movie loosely based on this great American novel, but took broad liberties with the story. I don’t have HBO, so I haven’t seen the movie, but I think it’s wonderful that so many people want to read the book and find out how the story was meant to be told.

As for my nephew, I hope he enjoys his new book. You may wonder about me writing about his gift prior to our celebration. I’m not worried that he’ll read this post before he opens his gift because he’s a teen. They tend to sleep late, and our party is a midday one. I think the secret is safe for now.

Books make wonderful gifts. They are also great investments in your own entertainment, knowledge, and happiness. Thank you for reading Ozarks Maven! If you’ve enjoyed my little seeds of wisdom and joy, please subscribe to Ozarks Maven, Like Ozarks Maven on Facebook, or follow me on Twitter @OzarksMaven.

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