Bookish Gift Ideas For Reading and Relaxing!

A typical holiday season can escalate to crazy in a hurry. There are a million things to do. Like shopping for gifts and wrapping them, and decorating your home for out-of-town guests. There’s also making sure your pantry is stocked for company, and your closet is ready for your packed social calendar.

It’s exhausting – but there’s a special kind of joy that comes with all this hard work, and tradition says it’s all part of embracing the holiday spirit. There’s also some comfort in knowing that others the world over are working hard doing the same thing.

It’s the unique person that can breeze through the holidays effortlessly – for most, it’s a labor of love. And in my experience, after spending several weeks in high anxiety mode, the world is ready to relax. For this reason (and more), books and thoughtful items that enhance the reading experience make perfect gifts. And they’re not just for the book-obsessed.

One gift-giving principle I live by, is to show that you put some thought into a gift.

 I try to be creative and make it personal – and I always go over the top with wrapping. This means: beautiful paper, ribbons and bows, and small decorations.

“As we struggle with shopping lists and invitations, compounded by December’s bad weather, it is good to be reminded that there are people in our lives who are worth this aggravation, and people to whom we are worth the same.”     – Donald E. Westlake

Ideas And Inspiration For Gifts:

One of my favorite gift ideas is pairing a great book with wine glasses, a bottle of wine – and a small candle – all fabulously wrapped together. You can also do this with Craft beers, which are wildly popular nowadays.

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 Another way to elevate the reading and relaxing experience is pairing a book with anything cozy. This can be big cozy socks, soft throw blankets or my favorite – snuggly pajamas.

Many people enjoy sleeping in on weekends, lounging in bed with a hot beverage and knowing they have no agenda. If this sounds like someone you know, pair a book with a basket of gourmet teas, coffee, or hot chocolate.

 Another awesome idea is to pair a book with a few spa items. This says; make time to pamper and take care of yourself. It’s a gift for the mind, body, and spirit. It’s not just for women either – there are now many treatments packaged for men too. Add a CD with some soothing music. 

 If that someone you’re buying a gift for likes to cook – there are some great cookbooks published recently. We tried a few recipes from Half Baked Harvest by Tieghan Gerard and loved them. But we also liked Happy Cooking by Giada De Laurentiis and Ree Drummond’s cookbook; The Pioneer Woman Cooks Dinnertime.

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These are just a few ideas. What’s especially nice is that these gifts are probably not what anyone is expecting. They say – I put some thought into your gift and they also inspire a person to hop off the merry-go-round and recharge.

Of course, after such a whirlwind of holiday activity and excitement, you too should pick your favorite pairing and – relax – enjoy and re-energize.

Below find some book suggestions to pair with wine, beer, hot cocoa or whatever the person’s personality and interests call for.

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Woman’s Fiction:

These books are engaging and easy to read. The topics can be emotional, so just because they’re lighter, doesn’t mean they won’t pull you in and make you think (or cry).

Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo  by Taylor Jenkins Reid

The Arrangement  by Sarah Dunn

The Stars are Fire  by Anita Shreve

A Dog’s Purpose  by W. Bruce Cameron

Historic Fictional

A little more intense than Woman’s Fiction, these books are for the person who likes to learn about the past in an interesting way rather than through textbooks. Again, these stories can evoke a lot of emotions as you read of the customs and treatment of people in the past (especially women).

The Vengeance of Mothers  by Jim Fergus

The Pecan Man  by Cassie Dandridge Selleck

News of The World  by Paulette Jiles

The Light We Lost  by Jill Santopolo

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Literary Fiction

Books that are insightful and help better understand the world. They are usually elegantly written – and best if read slowly. Generally speaking, they are not fast paced riveting reads, but more of a slow burn. Intense and insightful.

Little Fires Everywhere by Celeste Ng

The Lightkeeper’s Daughter by Jean E. Pendziwol

The Heart’s Invisible Furies by John Boyne

The Heirs by Susan Rieger

Mysteries & Thrillers

Everyone loves a good mystery. And thrillers are immensely popular- psychological thrillers in particular are growing in popularity.  Thrillers are fast paced and suspenseful. And puzzling out a mystery challenges the mind.

Best Day Ever by Kaira Rouda

Midnight at the Bright Ideas Bookstore by Matthew Sullivan

The Marriage Pact by  Michelle Richmond

The Widowers Wife by Cate Holahan

A Few More Reading Suggestions

Books with endearing, quirky characters are also very popular lately. These stories are light and engaging.  Guard your heart – you will fall in love with the characters. Below are some of my favorites.

A Man Called Ove

Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine by GailHoneyman

Ginny Moon by Benjamin Ludwig

The Rosie Project by Graeme Simsion

Happy Holidays,

Linda & Andrea

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