For the bookish folks on your list …

Wednesday 7 December 2011
The tree is up, I've watched a few snippets of It's a Wonderful Life, and I've been humming along to holiday tunes for the past few weeks; however, I'm far from ready for the holidays. A few stocking stuffers aside, I've barely bought any gifts, let alone provided Jordan (the better half) with any useful ideas for me. My own disorganization has prompted this post, in hopes that it will spark a few ideas for people with book lovers on their lists.

1. Vintage Books

This list isn't in chronological order; however, personally, vintage books take the top spot on my list. (Are you taking notes, Jordan?)

Not only are vintage books wonderful, tactile artifacts from the past, they're also the perfect gift to personalize. I'm not talking about taking a Sharpie to the inside cover; rather, I mean the act of choosing the perfect vintage book for the person on your list. Because I work in educational publishing for children, and picture books are a love of mine, vintage picture books are one of my favourite relics to buy and receive. I also find myself drooling over vintage cookbooks in used bookstores and at antique shows, wishing I had a vintage-cookbook-loving foodie on my shopping list.

The best part about gifting vintage books is you can often find the perfect gift sitting in a stack for only a few dollars or even cents.

2. Tree of Codes

I wasn't going to list any specific books here because, as book lovers, we all have such unique tastes; however, Tree of Codes by Jonathon Safron Foer is so unlike anything else that exists that any book lover will truly appreciate it. I don't think I can describe this book any better than I did in the first post I ever wrote on Not My Typewriter:

"Tree of Codes by Jonathan Safran Foer is so delicate that I can barely turn a page without worrying one might tear. It is one of those books that almost seems too beautiful to read. Foer, who wrote possibly the best book I read in 2010, Eating Animals, has extracted his own story, using the text of his favourite book, Street of Crocodiles by Bruno Schulz. Tree of Codes is an art project, utilizing die-cutting techniques to literally carve a new book in to an old one. Aesthetically, it is breathtaking, and I can’t wait to (very carefully) read it."


3. Postcards from Penguin

Quick thinking isn't always one of my strongest skills, especially when it comes to shopping, so I passed up on this collection of postcards at Pottery Barn (of all places) a few weeks ago, simply because I couldn't think of what I could do with 100 Penguin postcards. I've been regretting that decision ever since, hoping that my shopping partner (my sister) somehow found a way to sneak back and buy them for me while I was in a fitting room or taking a bathroom break.

I keep thinking of places around my apartment where a few of them would look perfect in tiny frames, and they could also be my inspiration for a postcard-writing revival. If I find this wrapped under my Christmas tree, I'll be on the lookout for some bookish penpals.


  1. I LOVE vintage books! I especially love vintage copies of children's classics, just because of the romantic notion that at some point, a child had loved this book and had probably begun a lifelong love of reading with this book.

  2. Old books, old bookstores, I can get lost in both. I too like old children's books. (and others) Many bring back memories of my childhood since I was read to and would read from books that were my mother's or grandparent's when they were children. I had some of my own also, but the really old ones are the nicest.

  3. I'm a sucker for re-buying books I loved as a child but didn't hold on to when I see them in used bookstores. I also can't help buying vintage grammar books when I'm out and about, even though I'm sure the rules have changed many times over since they were published.


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