The She.ology Gift Guide for Readers
Author: Kristen Lunceford | www.kristenlunceford.com | @kristenlunceford
Readers can be a peculiar bunch, but I promise we’re easy to shop for. Whether you’re looking for a bookish present to give this season, or hoping to amass some literary loot for yourself, these readerly gems will fill your shopping and wish lists in ways that would make Kathleen Kelly proud.
Aslan Wood Pennant
For the Narnia or C.S. Lewis-loving readers in your life, look no further than the Aslan Wood Pennant from 52Home. I splurged on one last year and have regretted it not once.
Allow me to let you in on a little secret: That friend who always lets you borrow her books? She wants them back. Help her mark her territory with a personalized book stamp from Packagery or a set of library cards from YourNewFriendSam. If she’s always buying books for people, hook her up with this darling gift giving bookplate from CarrotTopPaperShop.
For a gift that’ll keep your friends and loved ones stocked with the newest releases all year long, consider a bookish subscription to Book of the Month. You better believe I’ve got one on my wish list this year. But, wait, there’s more: Literary fiction lovers will rejoice over a First Editions Club membership like the ones offered from The Novel Neighbor, Parnassus Books and Book Passage.
Bookstagram Worthy Socks
Add bookish style to their feet (and #bookstagram feeds) with a pair of Out of Print socks. Don’t miss the shop’s Eric Carle line for toddlers.
Whether headed to the library or to the bookstore, every reader needs a clever, practical tote. Society6 has endless options. Check out Word Nerd and Read. Then tumble down the rabbit hole from there. For a larger option that gives as much as it holds, customize a 4 Things tote from The Shop Forward. Proceeds help support orphans and their nannies in Haiti. Looking for something snarkier? Emily McDowell Studio’s Book*(wine) has you covered.
Few things scream, “Enjoy this re-gift!” or, “I know nothing about you!” like a candle. Avoid both traps by ordering one of Frostbeard Studio’s Book Lovers’ Candles. Pair it with a gift card to a local indie bookstore, and you’ll be living your best gift-giving life. Pro tip: Use IndieBound.org to locate the independent bookstore nearest the bibliophile on your list.
Ideal Bookshelf Print
Bookish prints abound, but few are as precious as the paintings illustrator Jane Mount sells through Ideal Bookshelf. I love this and this for new parents. This one for writers is everything. And don’t get me started on the teacher gift potential here and here and everywhere. Jane will even make you a custom print if you say please.
Books about Books
You didn’t think I’d let you go without some book recommendations, did you? Readers love books about books. Like I said, we’re peculiar. Make sure the ones on your watch have one of these to cozy up with during the glorious week between Christmas and New Year’s.
I’d Rather Be Reading by Anne Bogel
This collection of spot-on essays about the reading life from the queen of literary matchmaking herself is small enough to fit in a stocking and rich enough to speak to the heart of every bibliophile. Trust me when I say this is a must-gift.
“We are readers. Books grace our shelves and fill our homes with beauty; they dwell in our minds and occupy our thoughts. Books prompt us to spend pleasant hours alone and connect us with fellow readers. They invite us to escape into their pages for an afternoon, and they inspire us to reimagine our lives.”
84, Charing Cross Road by Helen Hanff
This book is a collection of letters showing the twenty-year correspondence (1949-1969) between writer/book lover Helen Hanff in New York City and Frank Doel, chief buyer of rare books for Marks & Co in London. I read it in a couple of hours and was amazed at how Helen’s friendship developed with Frank and the other shop keepers through nothing but the simple letters, books and gifts they sent back and forth to each other over the years.
“I love inscriptions on flyleaves and notes in margins, I like the comradely sense of turning pages someone else turned, and reading passages someone long gone has called my attention to.”
The Storied Life of AJ Fickry by Gabrielle Zevin
I originally picked this up because I’d heard it was replete with bookish charm, and that’s exactly what I found when I stepped into A.J.’s story. Like Ove in A Man Called Ove, A.J. is cranky, cynical and depressed until unexpected love blows through the doors of his small-town independent bookshop. What follows is a story about why we read, why we love, and the power books have to connect us.
“We aren’t the things we collect, acquire, read. We are, for as long as we are here, only love. The things we loved. The people we loved. And these, I think these really do live on.”
The End of Your Life Book Club by Will Schwalbe
Reminiscent of Tuesdays With Morrie, this true story tells about the time Will spends with his mother during her weekly chemotherapy treatments and what they learn about life from discussing their favorite books. There’s a lot of wisdom and perspective packed into this tender tale.
“Mom never wavered in her conviction that books are the most powerful tool in the human arsenal, that reading all kinds of books is the grandest entertainment, and also is how you take part in the human conversation. Mom taught me that you can make a difference in the world and that books do matter: they’re how we know what we need to do in life, and how we tell others.”