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?

J is for Journals

A few of my favorite upcycled journals from Etsy.

A few of my favorite upcycled journals from Etsy.

I started collecting journals before I actually started writing in them.

I kept a diary as a kid, faithfully recording the events of my day, until I stopped for no real reason when I was in my early 20s. Life got in the way, maybe.

Being a writer, I wanted to go back to journaling, so I’m not really sure why it took me so long to do it. I found really pretty upcycled journals on Easy, and I bought several of them, but I didn’t write in them. I put them on a shelf and left them there.

When I did start journaling again, I got myself a plain, spiral bound notebook, not wanting to write in a pretty journal. I’m not sure why I thought I shouldn’t scribble my thoughts in something nice, but I didn’t want to “ruin it.” I didn’t write much in my plain notebook, and journaling became something I made myself do because I think writers and therapists “should” keep a journal, instead of something I actually wanted to do. I kept trying to start a journaling habit, but it just didn’t stick.

Then one day, a friend of mine showed me a notebook he keeps with his favorite quotes. I loved the idea. I had done something similar as a kid, writing in quotes and my favorite bits of poetry or prose. For years, I’d been collecting quotes in my email, where they’d sit in the dark to never see the light of day again. Without hesitating, I grabbed one of my nice journals off the shelf, and started putting quotes into it. The blank pages were no longer waiting for words.

It felt right to fill those blank pages; my journals were finally fulfilling their purpose. While I still don’t have a journaling habit, I do journal pretty regularly now. Sometimes I write several times a day, and sometimes once a week. It just depends on how much I have to say. At this point, my journaling is often kind of like thinking on paper. I just write stuff down and afterward see what it was I had to say.

What’s the point of having something and not using it for it’s intended purpose? Honestly, I think it’s a little sad that I let those journals sit empty for as long as I did. So, I say: use that pretty journal, light the decorative candle, drink out of your crystal goblet. In my mind, things are meant to be enjoyed.

And besides, when I fill that pretty journal, that means I can go on Etsy to buy a new one. Right?