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I love books. As a kid growing up in a small town in the literal middle of nowhere, in those dark days before the Internet, books were the only way I had of seeing the wider world. Books helped me figure out who I wanted to be, where I wanted to go, what I wanted to do with myself. And they helped me see an unlimited array of possibilities.
But books are personal. If you’re an avid reader–or just love someone who is–then you know there’s no accounting for taste. There are books that came highly recommended but that I really, really hated. (I’m looking at you, Gone Girl). There are books I didn’t expect to enjoy, but really did. (Ray Bradbury’s Fahrenheit 451 is a good example. My son recommended it, and I read it only so he and I could have a conversation. But then I wound up loving it, in spite of myself.)
Given the vagaries of taste, buying a book for someone else is risky. Fortunately, there are lots of great gifts that will help readers enjoy the books they choose for themselves. Best of all, these gifts are a little more personal than a bookstore gift card.
Here are my gift recommendations for the books lovers on your list.
Every reader has a preferred reading beverage during these winter months: hot tea, cocoa, a bracing cup of coffee. This adorable mug works for any of those options. If the reader you love already has an extensive mug collection, vintage library card coasters are the perfect addition to it.
Bookish art for decorating a reading nook
I’m particularly fond of this print of Anthony Doerr’s All The Light We Cannot See. I also love this print of a quote from Ernest Hemingway’s A Moveable Feast. (Fun fact: that book is the only Hemingway I can still read without rolling my eyes.)
Scented candles to set the mood
This one apparently makes a reader’s home smell like Gatsby‘s mansion. I’m not sure how that’s possible, since Gatsby’s mansion didn’t actually exist, but I’m curious nevertheless. Please check in here and let me know how Gatsby’s mansion smells, if you find out.
Cozy bookish socks
These library card socks will keep a book-lovers feet toasty while they’re curled up with a new title.
Book-themed tote bags
These bags from Litographs would be perfect for carrying home the latest bookstore or library haul. Litographs also sells t-shirts, posters, temporary tattoos, and other products created with book nerds in mind. (And is there anything more genuinely nerdy than a press-on tattoo of your favorite author’s work?)
Not just plain old card stock, but something truly creative–like this Wizard of Oz inspired gem, complete with ruby slippers. I’ll have to buy it for Mike. (He’s from Kansas. Occasional Wizard of Oz-themed gifts are required.) I love a bookmark that makes me think of someone I love or a place I’ve been. By which I mean Kansas, of course. Not Oz. Unless we’re counting imaginative travel. Then yes, Oz too.
For many of us who love them, books aren’t just a pastime–they’re a way of life. And because of that, giving your reading friends and family members a book-inspired gift is a great way of letting them know you honor what they’re all about.