Sunday, December 9, 2007
Ten Gift Ideas for Book Lovers
There's still time to get your Christmas shopping list pared down and here are some ideas from the Book Trout:
1) Book lovers will make good use of a rugged and useful book tote bag from the Bibliobullpen site in the classic design of an elderly gent in front of a fire with his glass of wine and books at his feet (needing to be properly put down to avoid cracking the hinges). I use mine daily to lug books back and forth from home to bookshop, but it also serves duty hauling library books, groceries, and packages to mail. Check out the rest of the site for bookish designs on T-shirts, clocks, baby apparel and thongs (thongs can also be used as bookmarks). $14.99
2) A Book! If you can engineer a secretive peek at whatever list your loved one has to keep track of books they've heard about and want to read, grab it and copy it and then sneak out to obtain a copy. Bibliophiles also welcome "upgrade" copies of their favorite books, as in a lovely hardcover to replace a well-thumbed paperback edition or replacement for a beloved book that has been loaned out but not returned. It is common here at Old Saratoga Books to get last-minute phone calls at the holidays to track down a replacement copy of mom's bespattered and scorched favorite cookbook or sleuthing with few clues ("It had a red cover with a bunny on it") for a lost childhood favorite. If all else fails, you can always get a gift certificate from your recipient's favorite online or in-person bookstore.
3) Cool bookends. Bookends are not inexpensive anymore, as they seem to have hit the collectible category in the last decade. I try to get inexpensive, mismatched or solo bookends, to sprinkle around the shop and a true bibliophile will love some weighty bookends to help dress up the bookshelves. Thrift shops and tag sales seem to be the best bet for bookends under $20.00. If you are crafty, you could whip up some sturdy bookends from bricks covered with fabric or at least some cheap felt for the bottoms to avoid scraping delicate tomes and shelves.
4) A Literary calendar for 2008. Some folks like those quote a day calendars from literary legends and some just like monthly calendars with a literary theme. $10-$15 easily ordered online from any number of sources (google "literary calendar") or from most brick and mortar bookstores.
5) Simple book repairs and maintenance are easily achievable with the products and tools obtained at this book repair supplies website. There are even videos to show you how to use the products or effect simple repairs, like removing bookplates, tipping in loose pages and cleaning book covers. The Basic Book repair kit contains Book Deodorizer, Dry Cleaning Sponge, Large Dry Cleaning Pad, Dusting Brush Set, Leather Dressing, Bestine Solvent, Nylon Label Lifter and Scotty Label Peeler. $36.00
6) How about owning the a Bust of your favorite author? That's pretty classy and they can also serve double duty as an overly large bookend. At this website you can pick from Balzac, Aristotle, Hippocrates, John Wesley, Plato, Socrates, Voltaire, Shakespeare, Dante, Darwin, Einstein, Goethe, Homer, Sappho, Freud, Robbie Burns, or Schiller. From $32 for a sale priced Hippocrates up to triple digit prices.
7) Perhaps your gift intended covets The Book Lover's Cookbook: Recipes Inspired by Celebrated Works of Literature and the Passages That Feature Them, by Shaunda Kennedy Wenger (NY: Ballantine, 2003). Available used on the Internet starting at $1.00 plus shipping.
8) A book switchplate for the home library. I really want some of these to dress up the old bookshop. They are available at the Folger Library website for $9.95 apiece. The Folger Library also has a collection of other great Shakespeare gifts for Bard lovers, including Hamlet finger puppets, mugs, a Shakespeare rubber ducky, and other amusements. $9.95
9) Male bibliophiles may enjoy a necktie printed with book images, Shakespeare heads and other reading images from this teacher website ($10.00-15.00), while book women might enjoy a bookish scarf from the same source ($10.00-$11.95).
10) Time to read is perhaps the most precious gift for a bibliophile. Finding the time to fit in a good stretch of book time is hard when work, holiday gatherings, shopping, cooking, kids and all the business of modern life gets in the way. If your favorite bibliophile has kids, a coupon for child removal for an afternoon of blissful quiet with a good book would be just the ticket. If your book lover is just too busy and stressed out with life, a coupon allowing him or her to pass on some errands and just chill out with some reading time would be thoughtful indeed. $$$$$Priceless.
For loads of other bookish holiday suggestions, check out the Library Support Staff website. It has many other bibliophilic gift ideas and links which should keep you browsing and shopping for hours.
Wishing everyone a happy, healthy holiday season with lots of relaxing reading time thrown in.