Are you looking for gifts for book lovers that aren’t books? These are some of The Uncorked Librarian’s favorite bookish gifts paired with iconic authors and titles from childhood to adulthood. Find butterbeer tea, Shakespearean enamel pins, and funny bookish Fifty Shades spoofs.
Yet, this is not just another BLAH bookish gift list either. Learn about TUL’s writing heroes and daily sources for inspiration. Read more about infamous authors and books that leave imprints on your soul like footprints on the beach or wine stains on your lips.
Ten Themed Gifts For Book Lovers That Aren’t Books
Dear Momma Claus, Daddy Tooth Fairy, Grandma Easter Bunny, Uncle Birthday Wish Fulfiller, Best Friend Anytime Of The Year You Wish To Shower Me With Gifts Giver:
This year, The Uncorked Librarian and her friends would like the following gifts for book lovers that aren’t books. Although, these bookish gifts paired with the actual book and a glass of wine are also perfectly acceptable. Oh, and a horse.
1. Roald Dahl Themed Gifts
Looking back at my innocent childhood and days of Roald Dahl, my naïve and virgin eyes had no idea that Willy Wonka had causally murdered off greedy little children in Charlie and the Chocolate Factory. The cute and always dumbfounded Big Friendly Giant wasn’t a stereotype of no schooling but instead a misguided and large whimsical friend. The racial stereotypes in The BFG are not quite so…friendly (see my full critique here). Yet, who didn’t love James and the Giant Peach, Matilda, and The Witches? While I will always struggle with the subtle, not always PC messaging throughout Roald Dahl’s writing, his sometimes crude and classic stories offer a magical escape for those in less fortunate worlds. The message of perseverance and kindness always breaks through. Those with large hearts come out on top.
2. Anthony Bourdain Themed Gifts
Speaking of heart, mine is cracked into a thousand pieces with the untimely death of this well traveled and heartfelt soul. Anthony Bourdain shaped the course of my life and many others. He traveled with a unique eye that went right into the soul and core of what makes us human. That’s a heavy weight to witness and carry. As he traveled the world, Bourdain shared with viewers the good, the bad, and the ugly. Not to mention the yummy.
Before moving to Indonesia as a United States Fulbright, I watched all of his shows and devoured his books. Bourdain and Bryson inspired me to think critically, write sarcastically, and never forget the history of a place. People, relationships, and community are boss. From learning that one should not order fish on a Monday in Kitchen Confidential to seeing how food transcends language in A Cook’s Tour, I understood then as I do now that no one will ever compare to the greatness of Bourdain.
3. The Little Prince Themed Gifts
Connection to people and the world is everything to this uncorked traveler. Have you read my piece about whether or not you can go home again? When I travel around the world, I want to leave my mark and be remembered in a sisterly way.
Just like the Little Prince asks the fox if they can tame each other, I crave this relationship building:
For me you are only a little boy just like a hundred thousand other little boys. And I have no need of you. And you have no need of me, either. For you I’m only a fox like a hundred thousand other foxes. But if you tame me we’ll need each other. You’ll be the only boy in the world for me and I’ll be the only fox in the world for you…You see the wheat fields over there? I don’t eat bread. For me wheat is of no use whatever. Wheat fields say nothing to me. Which is sad. But you have hair the color of gold. So it will be wonderful, once you’ve tamed me! The wheat, which is golden, will remind me of you. And I’ll love the sound of the wind in the wheat. ~Antoine de Saint-Exupéry
The Little Prince exemplifies the lessons learned from Bourdain about how to travel and love. Like the messages I missed in Dahl’s work growing up, the little prince also has an implied tragic end much like Bourdain. Although slightly concerning for the wanderlust and possibly stricken soul, these restless and intuitive minds possess timeless messages of how to live and love in the world. See the full book review of The Little Prince here.
4. Shakespeare Themed Gifts
To buy or not to buy… What is your favorite Shakespearean play? I will always love the witches in Macbeth and the spritely humor of A Midsummer Night’s Dream. King Lear and his greed will never cease to amaze me, and I probably will forgo reading Romeo and Juliet for the 50th time since college and high school.
Yet, Shakespeare is a writer who captures the essence of the human soul. While writers like Bourdain and Bryson chose an entertainingly sardonic tone, this infamous writer adds an element of poetry and beauty in equally biting observations.
5. Harry Potter Themed Gifts
Ready for TUL to unleash a wild secret in the mist of this bookish inspiration? When I first picked up the Harry Potter series way back when, I couldn’t get past the third title. Yup. I stopped reading Harry Potter. GASP. Years later, after all of the insane hype, I started over during the snowy winter. I read all of the books and admittedly loved the story. Would I say that I am obsessed, though? No. But, I appreciate each novel, the world building, and what J.K. Rowling has given the world. If there has ever been a reading Renaissance, J.K Rowling caused it.
6. Rainbow Rowell Themed Gifts
As I am writing up this list, TUL has realized that her soul is now under scrutiny too. I guess I love a little angst and truth. Hey, in vino veritas—the first phrase I learned in my Latin undergrad class.
Eleanor and Park is straightforward raw and sincere honesty. Remember Daria from MTV? I am getting pretty nostalgic. Rowell writes with a slower pace that encapsulates the morals of Bourdain, Dahl, and even Shakespeare into realistic fiction novels. Fangirl will always be one of my Rowell favorites, and I still need to read Carry On. Rowell also introduced me to the awesomely geeky world of fandoms.
7. A Discovery of Witches Themed Gifts
I cannot wait to watch the TV series for A Discovery of Witches. Full disclosure but I only read the first novel so far. Time, man. Time. Deborah Harkness is indeed my grownup Harry Potter. I love the mix of history, Charlaine Harris supernatural inter-species romance, and bookish witches. P.S. You can read my most popular post EVER on TUL about wickedly witchy books here. The post includes a review of A Discovery of Witches.
Along with this recommendation, I have to admit: reading an almost 600-page novel has become hard on this boozy book lover. Shameful, I know. Am I a product of my time with a technology-induced, shorter attention span? Maybe? Or am I too tapped out? That too. Anyone else find themselves getting book anxiety over any title longer than 350 pages?
8. The Handmaid’s Tale Themed Gifts
The world is a scary place right now, at least in America. Politics, prejudices, elections, leaders, and the treatment of all non-white males have heads reeling. I honestly think all of this heartbreak and fear is why Margaret Atwood’s The Handmaid’s Tale has become so popular, especially with the TV series. Disturbing and emotional, most of us cannot peel our eyes away. In fact, American society is dressing up like handmaids during protests. For me, this story is a stark reminder not to become complacent, to speak up, fight back, and to never give up hope.
9. Fifty Shades of Grey Themed Gifts
Going from serious to fun, I just watched Book Club. Whether or not you choose to hate the Fifty Shades of Grey series, the story is iconic with the movies taking over Valentine’s Day for women across the world. I choose to love these books in a funny, light-hearted way. I appreciate the controversy and passion they stir up, good and bad. Sexual meets successful. Laters, Baby.
10. Where’s Waldo? Themed Gifts
Where is The Uncorked Librarian? Soon: Germany and Belgium, baby! Personally, I love that Waldo got a dog, girlfriend, and entire community to find along with him. I grew up with these books and still guard them on my shelves. I could sit for hours looking for those classic red and white stripes.
As adults, we once made a drinking game out of finding Waldo, his socks, and the toaster oven. What I love is that Where’s Waldo still exists and his worlds show creative points in time. Our little downtown area in Central Florida hides Waldo in the boutique shops for kids to find while their family members are shopping. I hope Waldo will always be a part of our lives like Big Bird. He’s never really lost, is he?
Are You Ready To Spread The Bookish Inspo?
I hope that you found some great reads and bookish ideas in this gift list. I always feel that giving a book is truly sharing a gift that never stops giving, inspiring, and teaching. A book-related gift is even more fun!
Also: Don’t forget this holiday to support your local blogger by scrolling blog pages and using affiliate links for companies that you purchase from.
Other book lists that you may find helpful:
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Hoping for a scary read? Check out these spooky books for adults.
In need of an LGBT+ book rec for teens? Click here.
Chill out with a good book with this great collaborative list.