Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Happy Birthday, Jay

My baby brother and I have the same birthday, a decade and a half apart.  My fifteenth birthday was spent in a hospital waiting room sitting placidly while my mother gave birth. As the only boy in our family, he has been saved from hand-me-down dresses and dolls with tangled hair, but still ends up getting everything after my sister and I are done with it.  His bedroom is scattered with a motley collection of electronics, old beanies, and books he poached from my shelves.

For his birthday, my perpetual gift is a pile of books.  We have similar tastes, meaning I'm very good at selecting books that he'll read ravenously.  The only downside is that means I will also read the books ravenously before sending them to him, making his books yet another accidental hand-me-down.  On occasion I read his books with post-its, writing "!!!" and popping it on the page after a salient plot point so he'll call me afterwards.  We've consumed Kazu Kibuishi's Amulet series, Gene Yang's graphic adaptations of Avatar: The Last Airbender, all of the Rick Riordan books, Doug TenNapel's books for younger readers, Raina Telgemeier's graphic adaptations of The Baby-Sitter's Club, and pored over dozens of galleys.

This year he is turning thirteen, and I know that my days of brilliant gift-giving may soon come to an end.  He has an iPhone.  He's starting high school next fall.  He knows what twerking is.  He isn't a baby anymore, even though I insist on calling him my baby brother.

As he matures, I'm curious to see where he'll go with his reading.  Will he follow in my ravenous Nicholson Baker footsteps?  Will he like Christopher Moore?  Will he discover Jessica Hagedorn?  Will he still love the books he read as a kid?  For now, I'm able to give him the following books that I know he'll love: Gene Yang's Boxers/Saints boxed set, the new Kazu Kibuishi Explorer collection, and a book that some dude scribbled in.
In which we learn having an events director as a sister has its benefits
Happy birthday, Jay. Love you. 

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