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I have always been an avid reader. In elementary school, I would zoom through chapter books. Eventually, I graduated to young adult novels. Every trip to the bookstore meant buying more books than I could possibly ever read, adding to the already sizable stack I had in my bedroom at home.

My love of books is something I always attributed to my mom. She was the one that took me to the bookstore. She read just as much as I did. She would tell me all about the book she just finished. As I got older, I noticed that I had never seen my dad read. I always wondered why because I always had such a fun time with it, so how could someone miss out on something so crucial.

When I was in high school, I decided I wanted to try and get him into reading. I bought him No Days Off: My Life with Type 1 Diabetes and Journey to the NHL by Max Domi. We both love hockey and he has type 1 diabetes, so I figured this would be something simple that he could relate to. I gifted him this book with the promise that I would read it after him and then could discuss it together, little did I know this would start a sort of tradition that would change both of us. He loved the book, so I decided to keep getting him a new book every birthday and Christmas. I was so proud that I was successfully able to get him to read after years of me never seeing him pick up a single book, and I got to read the book after him. It was truly a win-win.

Now that I have moved out of the house and am away at college, these little books that we exchange are a blessing. It always gives us a reason to reach out and check up on the other one’s progress. Once we both have finished, it gives us not just someone else to talk about the book with, but a better understanding of the other’s perspective on life in general. These books have given me a simple opportunity to continue to have a strong relationship with my father at a time when we have been geographically further apart than ever before.

When I was at home, I played soccer, so my father and I had plenty of time to bond over that, from car rides to and from practice to discussing the game afterward, it felt so simple. Now, I know that I have to work to keep our close bond, and stumbling upon this little tradition of gifting books is the perfect way to do just that.

Books are so universal. Their themes can relate to vastly different types of people across space and time. They can transport you to a different world or give you a new perspective on the one you live in. Books have always been my escape, but now they keep me close with my dad. They make me appreciate the bond that we have and remind me to enjoy these little things with him. With the holidays coming up, I hope now that maybe you’ll consider buying a book for someone you love because there is no better gift than one that brings you closer together.

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Olivia is an English: Editing, Writing, and Media major at Florida State University. If there isn't a hockey game on, she can be found watching Netflix or listening to music with her friends.
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