18 Non-Book Gifts for Literary People
What do you give someone who already has every book?
Gift-giving can be an anxiety-producing experience. Giving books is always a good option, of course, especially to those loved ones who read less than you do and might value your expertise, but what book do you give to the person who has everything ever written (or, maybe they work in the book world and books every days…)? [Ed. note: for example, those of us who work here at Literary Hub. HINT.] If you still need a gift for the literary person in your life, but don’t want to risk it by getting them a book they’ve already read, you might try one of these other fine options.
Does your beloved keep altogether too many books in their apartment? Of course they do. That’s why you’re reading this. To help them reach those topmost tomes, surprise them by sneaking into their home and installing this sliding library ladder on their very best bookcase. Trust me, it won’t be creepy at all. Or, it will be, but it will be totally worth it.
Lots of literary types choose to express their love for the written word by having it inked into their skin for eternity—but a real tattoo is fairly personal, and hard to actually give as a gift. You can’t wrap it, for instance. But these temporary tattoos featuring quotes from classic books and doodles inspired by literature fit pretty perfectly in an envelope with a bow on it. May I suggest, as we careen into 2017, the very timely Walt Whitman quote pictured above, particularly perfect for use next month: “Resist Much, Obey Little.”
Perhaps your beloved lends her books with abandon; perhaps she never lets them out of her tender sight. Either way, this personal book embosser is the perfect gift—a way for her to classily remind her many doting borrowers of the book’s rightful home, or a way to obsessively brand all the novels in her domain.
It seems highly likely that there is major overlap between lovers of Tarot and lovers of Austen. I have no real evidence for this, except for my general feeling that romantic, mystically-minded intellectuals with something of a wicked edge tend to go in for both.
I don’t know about you, but I have dropped more than one book into the bathtub in my day. It happens when I’ve been reading in the tub for so long that my arms get tired, or else I reach for the tap to add more hot water and experience a bubble-related slip. Listen, it happens. But my (and your?) problem could be solved with this lovely gift: a bathtub caddy that has a stand to hold up your book. (It also appears to do well with wine.) Still no solve for the wet corners that come from soapily turning pages, but we’ll just have to wait on the technology for that one.
Donations to Literary Charities
Here’s a thoughtful gift for someone who has every book (and book accessory) imaginable—make a donation in their name to a great literary charity. Books Through Bars, Girls Write Now, Milk + Bookies, Room to Read, and the World Literacy Foundation are all good options, but there are countless others. You could even offer to donate some of their excess books to a deserving charity—now that’s basically two presents.
If you enjoy a rude and literary holiday, consider gifting this new party game created by our friends over at Electric Literature—it’s like Cards Against Humanity, only for book nerds. Then you can also give your friend the gift of playing with them. What better way to pass a midwinter’s eve?
Does your beloved come home at the end of a hard day of reading, drop their tote bag on the floor with an enormous thump, and sigh? Perhaps a nice back massage is in order. But for the times that you aren’t there to give one (or, perhaps you are not very talented at massage—this happens to the best of us), consider this high-tech back massager. It looks like an alien backpack, but maybe that’s exactly what one needs to smooth out all those reading and book-carrying muscles.
This tote bag rack holds 33 tote bags. There has never been anything more useful.
What goes great with a book in winter? A nice, steaming cup of delicious tea. Even better if that tea comes in a book-shaped tin, and even betterer if that tin comes emblazoned with a literary pun. Book lovers have been known to delight in a pun or two, you know. Flavors include Don Quixotea, The Picture of Earl Grey, Pride and Peppermint, and War and Peach.
The Cadillac of clip-on reading lights.
Now, this is a genius item for your laziest friend or, seriously, anyone you know with limited mobility. Wearing these, you can lie flat on your back and still read—no propping or holding the book up in the air above your head required. Now, whether or not your favorite reader can stay awake reading in bed this way is another story entirely.
This or really any pretty blank journal is a great gift for an avid reader—especially the kind who doesn’t write in books for reasons moral, material, or otherwise. With this, they can jot down ideas, keep track of books they’ve read, or, you know, do anything else one might do with a pen and some nicely bound paper.
This is a perfect gift, because it’s the kind of thing everybody wants but few people will actually buy for themselves. It only works, of course, if the recipient has enough books to really camouflage it on their shelf (if someone only has one book, know this: that book has a flask in it). Pro tip: if you really love the recipient, you’ll pre-fill the flask with whiskey.
Speaking of whiskey… Everyone needs something to cry into sometimes. This fine beverage is a solid option.
Enough with the materialism. Give your beloved book person what they really want—a bigger platform from which to tweet their #galleybrags, links to literary thinkpieces, photos of their TBR piles, and their least favorite things Jonathan Franzen has ever said.
Everyone knows that about 85% of reading is actually just smelling the book. But what if you’re away from your collection and need a whiff? Solve that problem for your beloved book nerd by giving them a gift that lets them take that smell everywhere. There are lots of book-scented perfumes out there, so take your pick—the makers of this one describe it as “sweet and lovely with just a touch of the musty smell of aged paper.” Yum.
They just sold at auction for $45,000, but you could probably get them back from the buyer if you offered a little more.