Books are among the best Christmas presents I’ve received.

Books make good gifts because “they’re never fattening, seldom sinful and permanently personal,” said Lenore Hershey, who was editor of McCall’s Magazine and The Ladies’ Home Journal.

“A book is a gift you can open again and again,” added Garrison Keillor, who hosted public radio’s “A Prairie Home Companion.”

A new book titled “Mobituries,” by CBS Sunday Morning correspondent and humorist Mo Rocca, was among my favorite Christmas presents this year.

“Mobituaries,” like the podcast of the same name, stems from Rocca’s love of obituaries and a desire to profile with elements of humor and irony accomplished people who should be better known.

Rocca points out some, like Audrey Hepburn and Farrah Fawcett, whose deaths were overshadowed by other big events in the same news cycle. Bill Clinton was inaugurated the same day Hepburn died and Fawcett died the same day as Michael Jackson.

The dozen or so biographies range from founding father Thomas Paine to Billy Carter “and other black sheep siblings.” There is a chapter about Chang and Eng Bunker (the Siamese Twins), who lived in Traphill for about 10 years before moving to Surry County.

In a chapter titled “Death of the Fantastic,” Rocca writes about dragons, mermaids and other mythological creatures once thought to be real. Another chapter  is on station wagons, which he said didn’t get an obituary when it passed in 2011.  

Two good sources of books locally, with the added advantage of supporting worthy causes, are the Friends of the Wilkes County Library Used Book Sale and the Wilkes Heritage Museum gift shop.

The inventory and variety at the Friends book sales is surprisingly large, with bargain book prices and the element of discovery.

These sales are from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. on the second Friday and Saturday of each month in the Friends Book Room, which is a renovated warehouse building behind the Wilkes school system’s administrative building at 611 Cherry Street, North Wilkesboro. Many know this as the building with the Stone Center.

The Friends of the Library collects books through the year to help fund the Wilkes County Public Library at 10th and C streets, North Wilkesboro, so the selection of used books is always changing.

Donations of books may be made at any time by delivering them to the Friends Book Room. Donated books are also for sale on the upper level of the Wilkes County Public Library.

Joining the Friends of the Library provides the opportunity to attend a Friends Preview Sale from 5-7 p.m. on the second Thursday of each month.

The Wilkes Heritage Museum Book Store, on the first floor of the museum (old county courthouse) in Wilkesboro, has a great selection of books related to the history and other aspects of Wilkes County and the region. It also has CDs featuring the music of local and regional artists, local canned goods, crafts and more.

Some of the books available at the museum book store are listed by topics and ordered at

The museum book store, like the museum, is open from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Monday through Friday. The museum and book store are open on Saturdays, same hours, from September through January.

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