As you may know, I didn't start reading until I was in my twenties. My biological father, who I didn't see from the age of 7 until around the age of 15, used to send me books and encourage me to read. He was an avid reader, and when I did finally start reading, I loved talking books with him. We shared a lot of the same interests, so I could always trust him when he'd hand me a book and tell me to read it. Books like Some Kind of Hero by James Kirkwood, The Painted Bird by Jerzey Kosinski, Boy's Life by Robert R. McCammon, Books of Blood by Clive Barker. Four of my favorite books of all time and all handed to me by my father.
There was one book, though--that he sent me for Christmas when I was 15--that was one of his favorites. The year I received the book from him was essentially the beginning of our relationship. I didn't read the book for 10 years. By the time I had read it, my dad and I had a very close relationship. The book was brought up several times throughout the years where we would discuss our fondness of it and for the author. He no longer had a copy, and on a few occasions he expressed the desire to own one and read it again, as it had been decades since he had read it. He didn't just want any copy. He wanted the hardback version, like the one he had gotten me. This was an age where getting a rare book wasn't as easy as jumping on eBay. There was a real hunt involved, so for his birthday one year I gifted the book back to him. He loved that I did that, and with what had slowly and unexpectedly become a tradition, he gifted it back once again years later.
And then he died, with the book in my possession.
We're in the season to give gifts, so I would encourage you to give someone a copy of one of your favorite books. They may not read it right away, but that's the wonderful thing about books. They don't go out of fashion. They are timeless. The story continues to sit there on the shelf ready and waiting for you to crack that spine and breathe deeply, the wood and ink that emits from its pages.