It’s that most wonderful time of year, when the internet is bursting with gift guides. Here’s our annual list of suggestions for the readers and writers in your life. We’ve got all the essentials: books, candy, bobbleheads, and hammocks.
2. Writers and Their Cats
Steven King, Beverly Cleary, Marlon James, Luis Borges … these are just a few of the writers who appreciate the company of cats. This photography book features portraits of writers and their feline companions. A great gift for writers with cats and also for writers who wish they had a cat, but are still working on convincing their families to live with one.
3. Mark Twain Bobblehead
For fans of Mark Twain, humor, and white suits. Look upon this bobblehead and remember Twain’s wise words: “When a man loves cats, I am his friend and comrade, without further introduction.” (Also: “A successful book is not made of what is in it, but of what is left out of it.”)
4. Wine Shelf
I’ve heard it said that editing your own work is best done after a glass of wine (but probably not two). If pinot noir is part of your writing process, this shelf might come in handy. It might also work well as a resting spot for the kitten you adopted after perusing Writers and Their Cats.
5. Ergonomic Desk Chair
Most writers could use a better chair, especially if they type on a laptop. Wirecutter recommends the Steelcase Gesture Chair, but at over $1,000, that’s a luxury gift. A more budget-friendly option is the “Mesh Task Chair” (also a Wirecutter pick) or Millbergert from IKEA.
6. Jelly Beans
An excellent writing snack. Also a good way to bribe small children who are trying to distract you from your work.
7. The Writer’s Map: An Atlas of Imaginary Lands
This beautiful book contains maps of imaginary lands from literature, from Narnia to Dante’s Inferno to Earthsea, Mordor, Treasure Island, and many more, both classic and obscure. With an introduction from Philip Pullman, there are also a number of essays from authors and film directors about how maps inform their creative process.
8. Literary Walking Tour
A walking tour is the kind of thing you don’t buy for yourself, especially not in the place you live, but a tour is an easy way to see a new side of a place you think you know well—especially if you live in a place with a lot of underemployed graduate students. New York City is, unsurprisingly, home to a large variety of literary walking tours that cater to both tourists and locals. I also found tours available in a number of American cities including Boston, Pittsburgh, Savannah, Chicago, Iowa City, San Francisco, Los Angeles, and Minneapolis. For international travelers, Lonely Planet put together a list of the world’s best literary tours. (Some are offered year-round, while others are intermittent; I’ve linked to tours that are available now.)
9. Cabin Getaway Vacation
The one thing that all writers and readers want is more time to read and write. Nothing offers quiet and solitude like a cabin getaway, especially if you search for one located in an area with poor wifi access.
10. Indoor Hammock
If you can’t afford a getaway, a hammock in your home is like a daily vacation. (I recommend browsing Etsy for the widest variety of options, but many home goods stores sell them, as well as sites that sell outdoor furniture and camping supplies.)
11. A Book Blanket
Wrap yourself up in the words of your favorite author with Litograph’s blankets. Like their posters and T-shirts, their throws are printed with the text of your favorite works of literature.
12. Reading Lamp
Everyone can use a lamp for their bedside table (or floor) to facilitate cozy reading time and soothe the brain after a day of screen time. Some options: a simple light bulb, a sturdy table lamp, or this little spaceship of a lamp.
13. Literary Subscriptions
Literary subscriptions seem to be having a bit of a moment these days, with independent bookstores curating book boxes to meet the taste of their clientele. Some of the national subscriptions that we’ve mentioned in the past are defunct, while others, like Journal of the Month and The Short Story Advent Calendar are still going strong. A few others to consider: Call Number celebrates contemporary Black literature, while Coffee and a Classic helps readers catch up on all the classics they missed in college (and provides coffee to keep you awake). For used books (and a more budget-friendly subscription) try Blue Spider Books. For YA fans, there’s Bookship, which is specifically catered to adults who like to read YA.
14. 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 2019. 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!