December is almost here, and that means it’s time to shop like it’s nobody’s business — and groan at all the prices.
This top 10 list contains items that range from the ridiculously affordable to the slightly pricey, but it’ll cover all the readers on your gift list this year. So whether you and books are strangers or total best friends, your life this next month is about to get a whole lot easier.
1. Digital e-readers
The big question this year for readers is, what kind of e-reader do you have? Luckily, if you’re planning on giving one as a gift, you have plenty of options. My favorite is Amazon’s Kindle, and the new Paperwhite ($119) promises to be a dream. But if you’re turned off by the glow and want something plain and simple, you can’t go wrong with the standard version. I recommend at least spending $139 for the built-in keyboard.
If you prefer to buy a more expensive device that displays in full color and can be used for more than one form of media, then go with the Kindle Fire ($199) or a quality tablet like the iPad Mini ($329) or Nexus 7 ($199). And if your dear reader has absolutely sworn off Amazon for Barnes and Noble, then go with the Nook Simple Touch ($99, or $119 for GlowLight) or HD ($199). Just remember: Color means an LCD screen, which means glare. E-ink is better for cutting down on eye strain and motion sickness when reading on the go, too.
2. E-reader covers
If you can’t afford to purchase an e-reader, then maybe you know an existing owner of one of these devices. What she might not have is a cozy, personalized bag for her e-reader, like this Blue Color Splash E-Reader Cover for $24. It can fit a number of devices and keep the screen and device safe and snug. Etsy has dozens of styles available.
2. Totes and messenger bags
I tend to pick purses depending on whether I can store a book inside, but sometimes, a girl’s gotta make room for other essentials. A cute tote or bag is the perfect fix. I can’t get over this astronaut reading in space ($46) or this tote that reads, “My book club only reads wine labels” (probably true). With a variety of designs out there, you can easily find the right bag for any book lover on your list.
3. Journals and memopads
Readers are often writers, too, and writers could always use a good journal. Again, Etsy is my go-to choice for these things because they’re handmade and customized, which book lovers go crazy for. Check out this gorgeous Tree of Life leather diary/notebook/planner ($79) and this more affordable Edgar Allan Poe quote journal ($10) that reads, “I wish I could write as mysterious as a cat,” on the front cover.
If you want to go even simpler, writers always need more Post-Its and memo pads!
Books bind the thoughts of the world; bookends keep them from falling down. A sturdy bookend is crucial for maintaining our ever-growing libraries, but it doesn’t have to be boring. Lots of fun and modern designs are available for the choosing, such as this set of Rodin’s Thinker Bookends ($59), this clever shadow bookend of a girl reading ($14), or these superhero and sports decorative bookends ($25) — perfect for a comic book shelf.
Even book lovers who have made the conversion to e-readers aren’t completely on board with the digital revolution — many still buy and borrow paperbacks and hardcovers, not only for the smell and feel but also the amazing covers. And a beautiful book needs a lovely bookmark to complement it.
Just about every writer dreams of penning her first novel on a real typewriter. Thankfully, you can find them on Etsy, but like with this decor piece ($68), they don’t always work. Even so, having one around might inspire a daydreaming writer. Look hard enough, and you might even discover one that still functions.
7. Vintage books or unbelievable covers
One of my favorite activities as a bookworm is hunting for that perfect cover. It’s what I do every Friday on this blog, after all. If you know someone with a favorite book, give the gift of rereading — and a book he can proudly display. You’ll be surprised where you can find these beauties (like this 1969 version of The Lord of the Rings), so shop around.
Really, if I were rich, I’d do this all day.
8. A new mug with free coffee
Coffee (and creamers, candies, etc.) alone is a brilliant gift, but nothing beats an awesome mug to put it in. You can get mugs with author quotes on them, mugs that empower, mugs of your favorite books, and cozies to cover them. Don’t forget the coffee, hot chocolate, or tea!
9. Word games
Even the most voracious readers take a break every once and awhile … to do more reading, of course. But while books are good for the brain, so is creativity, and word games are excellent for strengthening mind and memory.
Dixit ($22) challenges you and your friends to invent stories from abstract images and guess which description fits the card best. I’ve played it, and it’s pretty fun. So is Quiddler, an old card-game favorite of mine that you can find for $10. Just leave the dictionaries in the drawer — this is about vocabulary power.
When it comes to novels and most of the books you find scattered around a store, everybody likes something different. But poetry is universal: Even if you don’t like a particular style or poet, chances are you don’t read enough of it to begin with.
I can’t remember a time when anyone gave me a book of poems, but I can pick out the novels on my shelves that were given to me by friends and family. If you really want to surprise someone this year, share the often unloved treasure of poetry — like the collection below, The Complete Poems of Emily Dickinson.