10 Last Minute Literary Gifts for Christmas

by Derwood Hunsdale-Talbot on December 21, 2010

Christmas is just days away, and all shoppers (be them last-minute or other) can use a little three-days-to-go inspiration. Thus:

10 Presents for Book Lovers That Aren’t Books

1. Wakefield Chandelier

literary wakefield chandelier
Don’t get too excited by this three-tired, wrought-iron beaut – it’s no longer for sale at Pottery Barn (or anywhere else I can discover). But I bring you the Wakefield Chandelier as inspiration. Perhaps you are a blacksmith on the side and need a new project. Or perhaps this will encourage you to go out and find a blacksmith and claim him (or her) as your own. Or perhaps you can reach into the depths of your DIY soul and create your own out of papier-maché and some clothes pins.

2. Personalized Bookshelf Paintings

Painting of favorite bookshelf
I fell in love with these bookshelf paintings (and their creator, Jane Mount, a little bit too) the second I saw them. Send her pictures of the spines of your favorite books, and she’ll create a one-of-a-kind painting featuring your ideal bookshelf. I can think of no better gift come Christmas (except for maybe the books themselves).

Like another person’s bookshelf more than your own? Ms. Mount sells prints of some of her finest works for a pretty penny less that the custom piece.

3. Library Smell in a Bottle

Book smell perfume
If you love the smell of 19th c. Dickens novels, but can’t afford a first-run copy, CB I Hate Perfum provides a solution. The purveyor of unique scents (including perfumes, room sprays, and pungent oils) has created In the Library, a “warm blend of English novel, Russian & Moroccan leather bindings, worn cloth, and a hint of wood polish.”

4. Postertext Pictures

Great Gatsby poster text
Postertext transforms the words on the page into the scenes in your head with their absolutely stunning black&white works. The team at Postertext transforms the entire body of work into a famous eye-catching and captivating scene.

Be warned: these guys have a penchant for the classics, so you won’t be seeing any Pynchon any time soon. Fingers crossed.

5. A Word from Save the Words

save the words
It is hands down my favorite online campaign, even though it takes a good two minutes for the blasted site to load. Once it does, though, Save the Words has rounded up the endangered vocabulary that text messaging and emoticons have threatened with extinction. Browse the site for your favorite obscure utterance and adopt it, therefore promising “to use this word, in conversation and correspondence, as frequently as possible to the very best of [your] ability.”

It’s brilliant. It’s the perfect gift. And it’s free.

6. Book Page Wallpaper

Book page wallpaper
The downside to this great gift idea is that you need to make absolutely sure that the recipient really wants to have new wallpaper. And that his/her landlord is okay with it too. Note: pointing to a picture in a magazine and saying “that’s pretty neat” is not a green light for this project.

However, if the green lights are a go, a wall covered in beautiful book pages (old time-y dictionaries are the recommended vessel) is really, really pretty. Apartment Therapy makes the whole process sound easy. I’m not entirely sold, but those who wield their decoupage with dexterity: have at it.

7. It Was a Dark and Stormy Night – the Game

Literary board game
It’s a game for those who enjoy the concept of olde fashioned family fun but clam up any time a Humdinger comes around their way. All you do in It Was a Dark and Stormy Night is identify the book or author based on a series of opening lines and trot your way around the board. A bunch of book categories (ranging from non-fiction to short stories to children’s books to contemporary fiction) makes it equally interesting and challenging.

Fun, simple, smart and just pretentious enough.

Update: This game is currently out of stock until mid-2011. Bummer. I suggest create your own game based on this game and gift that, or give one of those homemade IOU coupons good until next July.

8. Literary Tea

Literary tea
Sure they are a little bit cutesy, but what sort of reader isn’t also a tea drinker? I’m not 100% positive Novel Tea has the very finest English Breakfast tea on the market, but the packaging is nice and the concept, too, is nice: 25 teabags featuring classic quotes from the kind of books and authors you would expect to read while drinking tea. You’ve got your CS Lewis, your Louisa May Alcott, your Rita Mae Brown. Etc.

I feel like this would be the kind of thing you’d get your awkward book-wormish co-worker or your grandmother as a stocking stuffer.

9. Manly Book Cologne

Orwell cologne
I’m not sure how many men seek to own any scent inspired by Animal Farm‘s Napoleon, but in their defense Ah & Oh Studio did set out to exhibit “the dark sides of men’s nature with a line of scents named after famous writers” (sic).

I have a feeling I wouldn’t really like the man who loves loves loves this present, but I’m sure he is out there. So do it. Buy it. See what happens. The bottle is pretty swanky, after all.

10. Subscription to Bookworm Dating Site

Alikewise dating site
You risk being not a little bit insulting, but if your nerdy friend can’t get a date and it’s because all s/he talks about is Phillip K. Dick’s notoriously ambiguous endings, go ahead and sign that person up for Alikewise. It’s the book-lover’s romantic breeding ground, the literary-niche equivalent to Jdate, where you are supposedly evaluated only by the books you read. (I would believe that more if there weren’t epically poetic profile pictures of girls reading on window seats and boys gazing solemnly up at the camera.)

If nothing else, it will produce hours of browsing entertainment. Seriously. I started this post two days ago.

Merry Christmas everyone.

For more book fun book gifts and gadgets:

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{ 3 comments… read them below or add one }

Anna December 22, 2010 at 9:09 am

Great list. I’ll take one of everything, please!

Bummer that the board game is out of stock… I’ve heard good things about the newish board game called Word on the Street. Might be worth checking out?

Dani October 10, 2011 at 9:48 am

Have you seen The Literary Gift Company – a great assortment of nearly 1000 literary gifts!

Gina December 14, 2011 at 2:58 pm

A friend makes awesome book lamps…maybe a good stand-in for the extinct Pottery Barn chandelier? http://www.etsy.com/listing/86639225/upcycled-book-lamp-good-advice-more-than

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