*Image above featuring one of Olympia Le Tan’s showstopping book clutches.
A Magpie reader recently reached out in search of a Christmas gift for her difficult-to-shop-for mother-in-law. After laying out some of her MIL’s idiosyncrasies and aversions, the Magpie concluded: “I’d say literary pursuits are about all I have to work with and I can’t seem for life of me to come up with something she would actually like to receive.”
I thought I’d share some of the thoughts I sent back because I estimate that there are many of us who have difficult-to-shop-for bibliophiles in our lives.
This Etsy shop sells adorable totes with themed book collections on them (i.e., a bag featuring women writers of color or one featuring classic cook books) — these are the perfect bags for schlepping library books back and forth. My mom would love this, as she is a die-hard customer of the D.C. Public Library System and her interactions there are a routine part of our nightly conversations — what book is on hold, how she’s rushing to finish x book by the return date, etc.
Another thought would be to bundle up a bunch of this year’s best-seller/buzzed about books with some personalized book plates and/or a personalized bookmark. You know your loved one’s literary tastes better than I do, but these were two of my absolute favorite books this year that seem to be crowd-pleasers across a wide swathe of readers:
DUTCH HOUSE BY ANN PATCHETT
RED AT THE BONE BY JACQUELINE WOODSON*
*This book contains explicit content. Just a heads up that it might not be the best fit for everyone on the list. For that matter, now I’m wondering if Dutch House and Circe (suggested just below) might also have content that might scandalize certain readers…just a reminder to use your best judgment on the book front, but I thought all three books were outstanding.
I also have yet to find a person who does not love Circe by Madeline Miller — men and women alike of all ages cannot resist the pull of this beautifully crafted epic. (Full, glowing review here.) Or, you can go more traditional with any of the books on this list. Buy in hard cover! Makes it more special and substantial. (And these Penguin Classics boxed sets are gorgeous.)
You could also personalize one of these journals to read JEN’S BOOK JOURNAL — encourage the analog tracking of your loved one’s reading habit and associated musings.
A bit further afield from the practice of reading proper, I recently bought an erudite family member one of these gorgeous writing implements (comes in a fancy box that makes the presentation that much more spectacular) and my favorite notebook. If you want to go even splurgier, perhaps a Smythson leather notebook with his/her name or initials on it. I bought one of these with a bridal slogan for a friend after she got engaged, with her NEW initials emblazoned on it.
If you want to go BIG, maybe consider a weighted blanket for him/her to relax under while reading.
P.P.P.S. Coffee table decor and styling ideas.