One of my fondest (and earliest) memories of my childhood Christmases was my mother opening presents addressed to herself as soon as they'd arrived, and re-wrapping them as presents for other people. We were very short of money, and so this must have seemed a good solution (although my mum would have given you the coat off her back if you'd admired it).
I was reminded of this a couple of days ago, when I ran out of reading material and the library was closed. We'd been given a book-shaped present, so I thought I'd probably be able to read that.
Except that I couldn't, because it was the Coronation Street Quiz Book. Hmmm. We are Corrie fans, but we are also grown-ups, so some lucky customer of the Oxfam shop will get it instead (I took it straight there). A lot of my Christmas presents end up in the Oxfam shop, so maybe it would be better to open them all so that they can be bought before Christmas while people still have enough money. (I'm not hard to please; I just don't need too many smelly candles, diaries and strange dangly pendants.)
But the second book-shaped parcel I opened was Julian Barnes's The Sense of an Ending (Booker prize winner) which I'd asked for, so I'm reading that. It's very slim, beautifully written, and quite good, but I never cease to be amazed at the Booker Prize. While lesser mortals like me are told they must write at least 70,000 words, and preferably quite a lot more, literary prize winners get away with far less. Think John Banville's The Sea. And Chesil Beach.
Perhaps I shall write a very short, brilliant book in 2012, and then you'll all be proud to know me (well, a woman can dream...). And - who knows? - I might even get up to 60 followers.