The 2017 Millions Gift Guide for Readers and Writers

November 27, 2017 | 3 books mentioned 3 min read

What to buy for the writer who has everything? More books, of course! But if you’re looking for something a little different, please enjoy our annual gift guide for the readers and writers in your life.

1. Keyboard Upgrade
Laptop keyboards are not ergonomically designed, nor are most of the keyboards included with desktop computers. A ghostwriter/editor friend of mine who has dealt with tendon pain from typing recommends the Freestyle2 Blue, which allows multiple Bluetooth attachments, so you can switch between phone, tablet, and laptop, and is available for both Mac and PC. Wirecutter also has an extensive list of mechanical keyboard recommendationives.

2. Portrait of a Favorite Author
It’s a literary tradition tack up a portrait of your favorite author near your writing desk—to inspire or intimidate, I’ve never been sure. Upgrade your friend’s tattered postcard of Beckett with a hand-drawn portrait from “Badly Drawn Authors.” (Or, go DIY and try your hand at your own portrait.)

3. Book Wallpaper
Book wallpaper might seem redundant if you already have several shelves of books in your home, but if you’ve moved the majority of your reading to e-readers, it might be comforting to have a trompe l’oeil wall of books. (Here’s a minimalist version for a twist on plain white walls.)

4. Bookniture
This clever stool from the MoMA Design Store is made from sturdy cardboard and can be stored on your bookshelf. It can also be used as a standing desk. Confused? Watch its accompanying video and see if you’re not convinced of its utility.

5. Five-Year Diary
I received a five-year diary as a gift seven years ago and I must admit, it took me five years to start using it. But now I love it. The design is unique in that every page represents one day and is divided into five parts, with each part representing one year. So, when you write your entry for Feb 1, you can look back at Feb 1 of the previous year to see what you were doing/writing/reading/thinking/weathering. I think it’s especially useful for writers because if you use the space to track writing and reading projects (as I often do), it’s a great way to gauge your long-term progress.

6. Library Card Pillows
Small children and teenagers will have no idea what this pillow depicts. You’ll have to explain to them that, once upon a time, you wrote your name on a card, which was tucked into the back pocket of a book. Other people’s names were on the card, so you could see who else had read the book. Looking at those little cards, you had no idea that one day, they would become the subject of nostalgic pillows.

7. Monk’s Library Candle
No holiday gift guide is complete without an overpriced candle. This one smells like winter, myrrh, and quiet concentration.

cover8. David Sedaris Diaries
Theft By Finding: Diaries 1977-2002, is the perfect gift for an aspiring writer, who can take heart in Sedaris’s long journey to literary success. Although his fame appeared to come overnight with the instant popularity of his NPR-produced “Santa Land Diaries,” Sedaris spent the first 15 years of his career wavering between visual art projects, theater, writing, teaching, and an array of odd jobs. The diaries also reveal the evolution of Sedaris’s literary style, and fans of his writing will recognize riffs and stories that ended up in his later essays. For those with a little more to spend, David Sedaris Diaries: A Visual Compendium, is a beautiful art book that showcases the collages and artworks that have also been a part of Sedaris’s journals.

9. Literary Tees/Totes
Once quirky, the literary tee and/or tote is now ubiquitous. Even if you’ve seen them all, you might want to give these tees and totes from Litographs a second look, which pair award-winning illustrators with classic novels. You might also consider the universally flattering “Readers For” tee shirt from Books Are Magic.

10. Licorice Pipes
For those who don’t smoke but want to settle down in their den with a pipe, a snifter of brandy, and a classic.

11. Donation to Libraries in Houston, Florida, and Puerto Rico
Water and wind are not a friend to books, and neither is President Trump. You can donate to Houston through the Texas Library Association and Florida through the Florida Library Association. I could not find a charity devoted specifically to library restoration in Puerto Rico, but the Hispanic Federation has set up a fund devoted to short and long-term disaster relief, and has helped to coordinate donation drives on the U.S. mainland.

12. Support The Millions!
And here’s something we hope you’ll consider treating yourself to: Support The Millions by becoming a member, and you’ll help ensure there’s something smart, curious, unexpected and moving to read pretty much every day in 2018. And — the ribbon on top — our members now receive an exclusive monthly newsletter in which our venerable staffers let you know what they’re reading right now. It’s a great way to find new books to read!

Image Credit: Public Domain Photos.

is a staff writer for The Millions and the author of Home Field. Her short stories have appeared in The Southern Review, The North American Review, The Chattahoochee Review, and Visions, among others. She writes about movies on her blog, Thelma and Alice and Read more at or sign up for her newsletter here.

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