MY friend Kim writes a candid and funny blog about being a first-time mum.

Last week she was invited on BBC Radio Scotland to talk about whether wee ones under the age of two should be given Christmas presents or not. As an honorary auntie to two two-year-olds, this made me think. Aunties need an eccentricity and mine is to be a crazy old book lady. My nephews, and any future friends' progeny will, henceforth, be given a book each Christmas and birthday, and they can like it or lump it.

Wandering Waterstone's looking for suitable books for their sticky little mitts and enquiring eyes gave me time to think about my bookish habits.

As well as haphazard shelves of books in my flat I have a series of emergency books: by the bedside, in the spare room, one on the dashboard of the car for traffic jams/lights (unless you are a police officer, in which case the car is, of course, entirely book free), one in my desk drawer, one in my handbag and one by the cooker (for during hob-related duties such as omelettes, boiled veg and pasta).

Lack of organisation is not to say I am not respectful or emotionally attached to books. It's just that, as everything I know about life has come out of books, logic dictates I should trust them to find their own place on the shelves and elsewhere.

Pondering all of this, it occurred what a privileged position it is to be in, to be concerned with such things. An embarrassingly privileged position, particularly in light of research from the National Literacy Trust, which shows nearly four million children in the UK do not own their own books. That's a third of all children. In 2004 this figure was one child in 10.

To be without Andrina Adamo, The Sheep-Pig, the Chalet School, the Wind in the Willows and the Borrowers or modern wonders like Mina McKee, A Greyhound of a Girl and the Hunger Games, well, I can't compute it.

To gift a book is to gift the obvious: knowledge, pleasure and imagination. But it is also a gift of time; time to sit down in a protected space and enter that protected other world through the back of the wardrobe.

The NLT finding that children from disadvantaged backgrounds are the ones far more likely to not be given books worries me on two levels. First: children who own their own books are more likely to read for pleasure and the research shows reading for pleasure is the most important indicator of the future success of a child. It was also, interestingly, found that benefits are wrought by traditional fiction and non-fiction, while reading text messages and web pages held no advantages. Books are key.

Secondly: if owning books is sign of affluence then it is shameful that, in just seven years, the gap between the have-books and the no-books has widened in such a way.

As the report concludes, solid literacy skills are a crucial step in overcoming factors that lock individuals into a cycle of disadvantage. If the number of bookless households has tripled in seven years, what will the landscape resemble after six more years of George Osborne's austerity?

So yes, give the under-twos presents: give them books. And give books to the over-twos, children, tweens and teens. It's not a case of gifting the chance to while away a few lazy hours: it's a salvo against inequality.

WE had Tram Lady, arrested and charged after a video of her racist shrieking went viral on the internet. This week we have the Big Man, who stepped up to aid a suspected fare dodger in alighting the train at Linlithgow, and who now faces allegations of assault. Is this the dawn of internet vigilantism? Maybe it's only time before YouTube becomes a name and shame shortcut. We can call it YaTube.