A Guide to Gifts

I am hopping on this particular blog article bandwagon, primarily as a reaction to many years of experiencing skepticism over my desire for receiving books and book-related items as gifts. Here are the most frequent reactions to wishlists I am asked to create:

  • You just want books?
  • Yeah, but what do you really want?
  • I don’t want to skimp on you this season/for your birthday.*
  • Don’t you already have one/hundreds of those?

My answers include:

  • Yes. I always want books. Books are one of the very few items I purchase or ask for that are “wants” and not “needs.”
  • LOL you’re right, that wishlist I poured over and meticulously chose items for is my pretend one, let me send you my real wishlist.
  • Okay, then I’ll take first/early editions of my favorite classics, preferably signed. -OR- Then get me everything on my list (or that really nice leather tote bag I’ve been eyeing)!
  • Yes, many of my notebooks are half empty and my stockpile of pens vary in color and type, but I may run out sometime soon and would hate to be unprepared. Plus, there’s always room for more books.

I know I’m not the only one with some friends and relatives who are just dumbfounded by such holiday and birthday wishlists, so rather than addressing a couple of my personal favorite wishlist items related to writing and books, I present to you a general guide for choosing gifts for that lovely bibliophile in your life. Let’s call them…Philos.**

If you live with and/or see Philos reading all the time, this will be easier than if you do not. Check bookshelves to get ideas about what genres, authors, and subject matter Philos likes to read, then visit your local bookstore and either browse for those or ask someone to help you.
Otherwise, just ask. Philos most likely already has a large compilation of book titles on a “need” or “must-buy” list that they would be happy to tell you about. You can take a risk and buy a “random” title, and Philos will probably be okay with it, but why risk becoming a mediocre or enemy character in their next story?

Journals and Notebooks
Philos can purchase ordinary notebooks almost anytime they want to; as a gift, one-of-a-kind or handmade journals and notebooks, especially leather bound notebooks with metal clasps, is the way to go. Perhaps one inspired by quotes from a favorite author, and definitely one that includes a bookmark or attached placeholder.

Perhaps the most underestimated gift of them all, subscriptions can bring happiness, thought provocation, inspiration, and many other forms of joy to Philos. Whether it’s a magazine subscription for National Geographic, Slate, The New Yorker, or a subscription to a literary journal like Glimmer Train, Writer’s Digest or The Maine Review (among many, many others).

Commonly found at local bookstores and on Etsy, Philos certainly would be happy with a Jane Austen candle, witty mugs and those with favorite literary quotes and inspiration, and one-of-a-kind or handmade bookmarks; all worthy gift options. Philos and I are both currently obsessed with pendants, signs, and pencils with “I still believe in 398.2” written across them (398.2 is the Dewey Decimal call number for fairy tales).

This list should make it a tad bit easier to find that perfect gift for your favorite book lover, and who knows, maybe you’ll find yourself asking for book-related gifts from Philos next year. Happy reading, and happy giving!



*I will admit asking for expensive things as gifts makes me cringe, but I’m not asking for inexpensive items just to be nice. And like I say above, if you want to spend more, early editions of many books cost thousands of dollars, so go nuts if you feel the need! I would go into the large amount of pressure seemingly felt to buy “nice” gifts, but that would be off topic so I’ll [maybe] save it for later.

**Philos comes from the Greek philos, meaning “friend”

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