Craft & Culture Professor Wu's Rulebook

Perfect literary gifts for book lovers this Christmas

A selection of some of our favourite literary gifts for the book lovers in your life

Searching for the perfect literary gift for the book lover(s) in your life this festive season? Well, look no further. While the songs we hear pumped into ever store at this time of year tend to reference presents under the tree, it’s important not to forget the smaller ones that fit snuggly inside stockings of all shapes and sizes. So, below you’ll find our list of book-ish treasures that will be perfect for the bookworms and bibliophiles in your life.

December Stories II, by Ian Sansom

Ian Sansom is back with another antidote to the festive season with this brilliant collection of short stories, filled with those same emotions we feel year upon year in the most trying and joyous of months – anticipation, frustration, despair and ecstasy. We loved the first instalment by Sansom and our feelings towards December Stories II are no different. These wonderful stories will make you laugh, cry and question everything you thought you knew about Christmas, Yuletide, the winter solstice, etcetera. In these stories, Sansom’s vivid and varying characters peel back the many layers of the winter month, from a lonely mother to a guardian angel, a pest-controller to a ‘bar-bar-bar owning brother’ to a baker selling lockdown sourdough kits, these snippets of lives are revealing and beautifully familiar. With the cynical wit and emotional insight we’ve come to expect from Sansom, get ready to fall in love with this mind of winter, and you might begin to wonder, are December Stories becoming a tradition? ‘Happy, Merry, etcetera, etcetera, etcetera.’

A subscription to a literary magazine

There’s a lot of talk these days of buying the ones you love subscriptions to streaming services like Netflix or Spotify. But this year, why not support some independent creatives instead of lining the pockets of huge media corporations, while also bringing some literary delights to the doors of those you care about for the next year?

Purchasing a subscription (or three, or thirty) to a literary magazine (like The Brixton Review of BooksLitroTin HouseThe Emma Press the TSS or Oxford American, to name but a few) help readers around the world discover new writing. Not only are they a great way of getting cheap (sometimes almost free) reading material on the regular, you also get added cool-person points for supporting some right-on creatives.

The ‘Dung Beetle Calendar’ 2022

The last couple of years may not have been the most fun-filled for many of us; but that doesn’t mean you can’t have a fun-filled calendar.

From the creative minds behind Dung Beetle books (the team who brought you the excellent spoof ladybird classics like ‘We Go to the Gallery’), now comes a limited edition calendar featuring the ‘best of’ stories from these hilarious books.

You can order our special limited edition Dung Beetle Books ‘best of’ Calendar for 2022

Mummy is guaranteed to put your life in order for just £12.99.

With a limited run of 1500, these calendars are a genuinely perfect gift for bookish and art-ish types in your life.

Something special from the Folio Society

Looking to hide a real genuine treat at the bottom of someone’s stocking? Then why not check out these extraordinarily beautiful books from The Folio Society’s Christmas selection, featuring Bram Stoker’s Dracular, Charles van Sandwyk’s The Meaning of Mice and even a stunning collection of Spiderman comics by Stan Lee and others (perfect for anyone currently enthralled to the latest Marvel instalment celebrating your friendly neighbourhood spiderman.

A literary face mask

Not all of our items on this list are Covid-related (we promise!) but in a year that has seen the face mask make a re-emergence on the fashion market for the first time since plague times, we think you’d be missing a trick not to make sure the book lovers in your life were able to sport their literary spirit while sticking to health and safety guidance. The folks over at Redbubble have a fine selection of literary masks to choose from, to boot. We quite like the above one featuring a quote from old Bill Shakespeare.

Who loves a Christmas gift from Virginia Woolf?

Mrs Dalloway. Or To the Lighthouse. Or A Room of One’s Own. Virginia Woolf remains one of the canon’s most beloved writers, and essentially any of these Vintage Classics series of her works, complete with gorgeous watercolour covers by Aino-Maija Metsola, would make a lovely addition to any reader’s stocking – and a necessary addition to any book collection, too.

Something magic from Foyle’s Harry Potter gift selection

Twenty years on from the first publication of J.K. Rowling’s beloved Harry Potter and the Philosophers’ Stone (or Sorcerer’s stone for our US-based friends), the Harry Potter series continues to enchant adults and children alike. For any of your Potterhead friends, something from the Foyle’s Harry Potter gift selection – including wands, chess sets, models and an official marauders map – is surely going to go down a treat.

The official Book Lover gift set from Literary Emporium

Literary Emporium’s Book Lover Gift Set makes the perfect present for any bibliophile and includes an assortment of bookish items along with an exclusive Literary Emporium mug and your choice from a selection of delicious tea. 

A monthly subscription to a book club

If there have been some positives to draw from the last couple of years, perhaps one is that lockdown and the pandemic seem to have gotten many more of us reading. Earlier this year, The Bookseller reported that publishers and booksellers had seen “dramatic increases” in the numbers of people signing up for book subscriptions. Some book subscription services reported up to 10-fold increases.

Book subscriptions make the perfect presents for bookworms, so perhaps it’s no surprise that more time spent at home has seen us reaching for classic books we’ve perhaps never read. After all, what could be nicer than a beautifully wrapped, hand-picked, thought-provoking book dropping through your letterbox every month?

There are plenty of bookclub style subscriptions out there, but a few of our favourites (via Not on the Highstreet), include the Personalised Book Subscription, and A subscription to Rare Birds Book Club, the home of women’s fiction, with their monthly Female Authors Book Subscription.  

A literary challenge, with this scratch-off booklist poster from The Literary Gift Company

Those that like a challenge or want to broaden their reading horizons will love this scratch-off poster from The Literary Gift Company. Get inspired to delve into a varied range of fiction, non-fiction, contemporary and 20th-century tomes, as well as classics – and then, once you’ve read it cover to cover, rub off each panel to reveal a hidden image. All the classics are here and it makes for some nice wall art (remember: you can always cheat and scratch off panels even when you haven’t read the books to impress your friends…though where’s the fun in that?)

A wintry tale from Tim Leach

We’re huge fans of the latest novel by historical fiction writer, Tim Leach. A Winter War will transport you and your bookworm friends back to the frozen steppes of ancient Sarmatia – which makes it perfect reading when positioned cosily beside a warm fire over the festive season. Complement it with another chilly tale from Leach in Smile of the Wolf to receive extra gift credit.

Literary socks (of course)

It wouldn’t really be Christmas without some socks to open on Christmas morning. Add a literary twist to this year’s Christmas socks with these Fahrenheit 451 inspired designs from the Literary Gift Co.

“Side-splittingly funny” fiction for lovers of books, philosophy, and dogs

Philosophers’ Dogs is published by award-winning publishers, Unbound

If you’re looking for a perfect stocking-filler sized gift, you need look no further than Philosophers’ Dogs, the first book by Nothing in the Rulebook’s own Samuel Dodson.

Featuring beautiful illustrations, alongside jokes and puns galore, Philosophers’ Dogs reveals a truth long kept secret: that all philosophers stole their ideas from their dogs.

Of Philosophers’ Dogs, bookstore Waterstones writes:

“Finally setting the record straight and revealing the philosophical genius of the canine species, this invaluable – and side-splittingly funny – book demonstrates how Marx, Socrates and many other celebrated intellectuals shamelessly pilfered their pooches’ theories.”

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