At the beginning of November Canongate said that the first 100 people who registered on THE GIFT site would receive a free copy of Lews Hyde’s The Gift. All you had to do in return was pledge to make a gift today. I posted about it here, after finding out about the whole thing on dovegreyreader‘s blog that day.
The simple idea is that the most important, and the best things we are capable of have no price and can’t be bought, so this gift can’t be found by braving the crowds in the high streets (what a relief at this time of year). This gift is the antithesis of money and crowds and shopping, it simply requires time and a talent you already possess. The book also suggests – I haven’t read it properly yet, so this is a reading-the-blurb-and-an-amazon-review guess – that in our society we have made the mistake of trying to sell things that shouldn’t be sold.
Here’s part of a review I read on amazon, by Leo McMarley:
Lewis Hyde is not only a beautiful prose stylist but he is a thinker to match, for The Gift offers a challenging and provocative argument about how we value things. He uses wide-ranging examples from across cultures and epochs and leaves you at the end valuing all the more those things that can’t have a monetary worth attached to them.
For my gift, I decided to write a love letter to my boyf because writing is what I do, and because it is one of the suggestions on THE GIFT site. (You don’t have slavishly to follow the suggestions on the site, obviously, but that suggestion appealed to me very much.) I sent the boyf away with his copy of The Gift and my letter last night (with bossy instructions not to read what I had written until today … perhaps not entirely in the spirit of the day, but my excuse is that it was late and I didn’t want him to read it until Gift Day).
The other thing Canongate suggest you do is pass on your copy of The Gift when you’ve read it. And I noticed this morning, when looking at THE GIFT site, that there’s still room to register for a copy, if you’d like to. This morning 74 people had registered and there’s a little note saying that it doesn’t matter if you register after 15 December.
Try it. I have a feeling it could be good for the soul.