Looking for great gifts for book lovers? Here are 15 book-inspired gift ideas that avid readers will love.
And of course, Penguin’s fine editions with covers designed by Coralie Bickford Smith.
Wondering what to gift the book lover in your life? While I always love receiving a bookstore gift card , bibliophiles will swoon over many other book-related presents. This gift guide rounds up some of my top bookish gifts for this year…beautiful fine editions of classic works of literature, laptop and iPad covers that look like books, book boxes, library-inspired stationery, and much more. Personally, I love the fine editions and PosterText’s literary posters..hint hint, dear family.. ;) Happy gifting! -Barbara
1. Penguin Classics released a gorgeous cloth-bound set of classic works of literature, with covers designed by Coralie Bickford-Smith. (Usually $20 each, $12.44 on Amazon). There’s also a great new Penguin series for children, available at Anthropologie ($20).
2. BOOK for iPad is a clever handmade iPad case that looks like a book. Inside the hardcover, a 100% wool felt sleeve protects your iPad. ($99, or $109-$119 for customizations).
3. PosterText Over 20 posters each feature a book’s text shaped into an image of a memorable scene or object from the book. ($23.99-$34.99, currently offering free shipping if you buy 3 or more).
4. Book boxes Of all the book boxes I’ve seen, I think Wisteria’s are the prettiest. They resemble a stack of vintage French books (stacks are 2 or 3 books), and available in red, pink, blue, green, turquoise and stripes. ($44-49, on sale $30.80-34)
5. BookBook iMac case If I had a Mac, I’d be all over this hardback case that looks like an old book. Designed by TwelveSouth for the MacBook Pro (though not the white one) it comes in 13-inch, 15-inch, 17-inch size. ($79-$99)
6. The Last Tycoon, by F. Scott Fitzgerald, part of a beautiful Penguin hardback series with cover designs by Coralie Bickford-Smith (click here for Flappers and Philosophers, or here for The Beautiful and Damned).
7. Bookplates by Cavallini. Colorful bookplates to personalize a library. Cavallini products are also carried by Paper Source, Pottery Barn, Blick Art Materials, Papyrus, Anthropologie, and Barnes & Noble.
9. Book City Jackets’ “Reading List” book jackets. For times when you want to be discreet about your reading choice, disguise your books with these Moby Dick, Ulysses, and War & Peace covers. ($12 for set of 3).
10. Treasure Island, Fine Edition. Cloth-bound editions of favorite books, with wraparound cover artwork from leading illustrators. Other titles in the series are: Sherlock Holmes: His Greatest Cases, Emma, Jane Eyre, A Christmas Carol and Other Stories, Sonnets and Poems, Wuthering Heights and Pride and Prejudice.
11. Knock Knock Personal Library Kit This nifty kit for library lovers includes 20 self-adhesive pockets and checkout cards, a pencil, date stamp, and ink pad. ($15.97)
12. Print for a Little Reader. This poster by Grace Hester Designs on Etsy lists children’s book titles in different typefaces. The artist was inspired by her daughter’s current and all-time favorite reads. ($20, for $10 extra choose your own book titles).
14. PaperSource bookmarks ($1.95).
15. Faber 80th Anniversary Poetry Editions. Illustrators and printmakers were commissioned for the covers of six new editions of twentieth-century poetry (by W.B. Yeats, W.H. Auden, Sylvia Plath, John Betjemen, T.S. Eliot, and Ted Hughes) and the woodcut and linocut results on the covers and matching endpapers are just beautiful. ($12.66)
16. Kindle. I know some die-hard book lovers will only read from paper editions, but I think a huge number of reading enthusiasts (myself included) would also love this electronic reading device. I’d love one for vacations, instead of having to lug a bunch of books in my suitcase! ($139)
17. Glass ball bookends from Restoration Hardware. (68.99)
18. Book Clock. This fully functioning clock is made out of a copy of Stephen Hawking’s A Brief History of Time.
19. On Reading, by Andre Kertesz. A compilation of André Kertész’ photographs, which capture people reading all over the world. Anyone who loves to read will love this this book. ($19.77)
20. Novel-T literary shirts. Nerdy book t-shirts? What’s not to love? Don a t-shirt to show where your literary allegiance lies. ($29.95)
21. Demeter Paperback fragrance From Demeter’s website: “A dusty old copy of a Barbara Pym novel did it for us. This Demeter scent is sweet and just a touch musty, a lot like Pym’s world come to think of it. Read her if you haven’t. Her writing is wonderful, if slightly musty, English satire from the 60s and 70s.” ($20 for 1oz.)
I’m babysitting a very cool 9-year-old for a few days, which has gotten me thinking about books I loved when I was younger. I read a LOT as a kid, but The Phantom Tollbooth, by Norton Juster (and illustrated by Jules Feiffer) was one of my absolute favorites. This year I recommended it to the same 9-year-old and she could not put it down, so it definitely continues to stand the test of time. With so many new books coming out each year, it’s easy to forget about the great books that are already out there. I don’t worry too much about this usually, because I know I can always come back to the classics next year, or 10 years down the road for that matter. But with children’s literature it’s harder since 5 years can make for a completely different read of the book. There’s only a short window for a children’s book to have that amazing impression.
Anyway, back to The Phantom Tollbooth. The story is about oh-so-bored Milo, a young boy who comes home one day to find a mysterious package. Once he assembles the tollbooth inside, he’s off to a fantasy world that toys around with word play and logic, finding places and people that are literal interpretations of ideas or common phrases. Along his way he travels to the Doldrums, Dictionopolis, Digitopolis, the twin towns of Reality and Illusions, the Mountains of Ignorance, and a Castle-in-the-Air, and meets entertaining and utterly unique characters like the watchdog called Tock, a “Not-So-Wicked Which,” a boy who hovers in the air at his final height and grows toward the ground, the Whether Man, a Spelling Bee, and the Half Boy (who is the .58 person of the average 2.58 person family). It’s really fun to read and really hard to put down. If you’re scratching your head about a gift for a 4th-grader, this is a sure bet.