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Bookish Gifts

I saw a “Miss Manners” letter in the newspaper yesterday from some reader who wanted to know the proper response when then gave someone a gift of a book and the person replied “I already have this book.” In this particular case the person who received the book was rather rude and insensitive, handing her gift back to the giver and suggesting she return it for something else. It is hard to know what someone else might like to read, particularly if they are an avid reader. I recently had occasion to give a gift to someone who had told me she likes Janet Evanovich. It has been my experience that anyone who likes the Stephanie Plum mysteries has already read them all. So, I gave her a couple of other books by Evanovich. I don’t know if she liked them, she was polite enough not to tell me if she didn’t. What gifts are available for people who like to read? How do you choose the ideal give for someone who you know reads five or more books a week and has probably already read the bestseller you think they might enjoy?

First off, the best way I know of to avoid giving someone a duplicate of a book they already have or have read is to give them a gift certificate. Rereadables offers these in any several denominations, and the reader can go online and choose what they want. The books will be mailed to them so the time and effort they must put in is minimal. There are other things that make nice gifts for book lovers. Bookmarks are probably the most obvious. They come in all shapes, sizes and designs. This is a perfect gift for children to make for grandparents who read. A laminated picture or drawing cut to bookmark size makes a perfect way to preserve memories.

I checked the internet for ideas for gifts for book lovers and was surprised by the variety. Some I would like myself. There are different kinds of book lights, book stands, book ends along with shirts, coffee mugs, or bags with book logos printed on them. I liked the idea of a personal library book embosser, where I could stamp my name on a page of my books. Another idea is a “books I’ve read” journal. These are a manageable size that one could carry in their purse, with alphabet tabs, where one could record and easily find the names of the books they had already read. I wish I had started one of these years ago.

There are several designs of hand-held magnifying glasses for those who don’t like to use reading glasses. There is a plastic, see-through screen that can be placed on a book to hold it open and keep the pages clean, ideal for someone who uses a lot of cook books. I saw a tissue box that looked like a book, perfect for the library (especially if you are reading a book that is bringing tears to your eyes.) And of course, people tend to enjoy a cup of coffee, tea or even some munchies while reading so candy, cookies or any other clean snack is often ideal for the avid reader.

So, if you don’t know which book to buy someone for Valentine’s Day, think about a gift to enhance that wonderful habit of reading.

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