10 Gift Ideas for Book Lovers

With the holidays approaching, I’ve been thinking about what kinds of things most book lovers would enjoy. Here’s a list of ideas I’ve brainstormed. (Note to friends and family: any/ all of these would be welcome!)

  1. Bookmarks. Honestly, we can never have enough bookmarks. It’s an inexpensive and thoughtful gift. Bookmarks are often one-sided, so bonus points if you write a personal message on the blank side.
  2. Books. This one seems obvious, but very few people gift me books. I guess they figure I’ve already read everything in existence? (I haven’t.) Sometimes gifted books are repeats, but one of my favorite things to ask for is a book that was meaningful to the giver in some way. It’s a great way to get to know friends and family better and makes a thoughtful gift. Because, honestly, who needs more stuff?* Bonus points if you write a note in the book (or on a post-it note in the book for those who abhor writing in books.)
  3. Alternate versions of the book lover’s favorite book. I already have multiple copies of Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland, Pride and Prejudice, and Watchers. If someone found a unique or interesting copy of any of these books, a graphic novel, or an attractive cover, I’d think it was a wonderful gift. All book lovers have their favorite books. Knowing what they are opens up endless gift possibilities.
  4. Art prints inspired by favorite books. I love these prints from Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland. Etsy.com is my favorite place to shop for handmade and unique items, and they have tons of book related artwork.
  5. Journals. Not all book lovers journal, but many of us do. Personally, I have a weakness for all paper products: notebooks, journals, scrapbooks. I’ve started to try getting better about writing reflections on things I’ve read. I think it’s a good way to deepen my relationship with books and get a better understanding of things I’ve read.
  6. Upcycled journals. I would say I’m the only one who loves these, because I don’t know anyone else who’s into them, but they’re all over Etsy.com, so I can’t be alone. People find old scrap paper, paper bags, old books, ephemera, and turn it into a hand bound journal. I would own 3,465 of them if I didn’t already have problems with books spilling onto every surface in my home. If you know someone with a weakness for secondhand shops and journals, this might be a unique and fun gift.
  7. A Book of the Month subscription. My sister in law got me this last year for my birthday, and it was great. I got to experience new books that I wouldn’t have gone looking for on my own. A few of the books were meh, but one of them is a new favorite (All the Ugly and Wonderful Things). I’m always looking for the next magical experience in books, and thanks to the BOTM club, I found it. (There are many other book subscription boxes out there; that one just happens to be the one I have experience with.)
  8. Bookish clothing. I’ve been lusting over a pair of tights with text from Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland (from Etsy.com). There’s a site with great scarves with text from all sort of books. Here’s a site with T-shirts, socks, and accessories.
  9. An autographed book. Back when my husband and I were first dating, he got me a copy of a signed, first edition of Watchers, by Dean Koontz. That was one of the (many) ways I knew he was a keeper.
  10. A Zen Pencils book/ print. This one’s a bit of a stretch, but most readers I know also have a thing for quotes. Though Gavin Aung Than, the artist behind Zen Pencils, doesn’t usually illustrate book quotes, he often does poetry and quotes from authors. Right now he’s got 15% off going on. (This post is in no way sponsored… I just love Zen Pencils.)

*Books aren’t stuff. They’re a magical transportive experience.

What kinds of bookish gifts do you like to give or receive?

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I Highlight in Books, But Only Monsters Dog-Ear Pages

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This is from Chapter 1 of the Fault In Our Stars. I didn’t want to post anything that might have spoilers, if people haven’t read it and want to.

Once upon a time, I hated writing in books.  I hated highlighting in them or taking notes.  I thought that it was an awful thing to write in books, and I only did it for school with lot of guilty feelings.

Somewhere along the line, I started using a highlighter in my regular fiction novels.  If something particularly strikes me, I mark it up.  It started with a yellow highlighter, and eventually became pen, when nothing else is available.  It’s like a book tattoo. (These are only my books I do this to… I’d never mark a library book or a book borrowed from a friend.) I also don’t do it if I’m not going to keep the book. To me, marking a book is an act of love. If we’re not in a committed relationship, then I leave it in the condition I found it.

I’ve always loved books with signs of wear.  I love it when the spine is cracked and worn, and the cover has marks.  I love when I get an old book, and there’s something written inside by someone else.  It makes the book look well-loved.  I don’t try to wear out my books, but when I read them over and over, sometimes I’m not as careful as I should be.  I’m walking along, holding the book, and bump into something.  Or I don’t want to put the book down, but I have to because real life, and it ends up face down on a water ring from my drink, or stray veggie soup from my dinner.

That being said, I never dog-ear pages.  I will use anything handy as a bookmark (because I so seldom remember to use a real bookmark).  I’ll put them face down, or I’ll just close them and hope I remember where I was. Dog-earing pages weakens the page, causing tears. I can almost hear books that have been folded like that crying in despair.

For books like Pride and Prejudice, which I’ve read so many times that I can start anywhere and enjoy it, I use post-it notes to mark my favorite parts.  That way, if I’m having a bad day, I can open the book to one of the post-its and read a single section, or read all my post-it marks and enjoy a greatly “abridged” version.

What’s your stand on marking and dog-earing books?