16 December 2009

Holiday Gift Guide 2009: Six Reading-Related Gifts That Aren't Books

I know, I know, why would you want anything else? Well, maybe you might have too many books, or have a stocking to fill.

A witty T-shirt -- "Hyperbole..." and "Irony" are particular favorites.

A Moleskine -- I know it's the bookworm hipster douchebag medium of choice, and it's not worth the money to switch exclusively. But I like the pocket ones for trips.

A donation to a local public library or literacy-minded charity -- I like First Book and Donors Choose. Both got 4 stars (of 4) from Charity Navigator.

Bananagrams -- one of my college roommates just raved about this word game, saying her whole family played it together. I wanted to put Penguin Bookchase in this space, but I couldn't find it available stateside (why) -- UK and European readers, play a vicarious round for me.

Glommets or glittens -- The mythic reading mittens I always wanted are not only in style, they have their own name. Suitable for turning pages or operating your smartphone. I'm constantly losing gloves which is why Santa puts some in my stocking every year. (From what I can tell, glommets and glittens are the same, but men's outlets will use the former term, women's the latter.) Basic black or striped with a matching scarf.

A wine and book pairing -- Technically this is cheating since it involves books, but the guidebook company The Little Bookroom teamed up with a wine store here in New York called Le Dû's to put together wine-and-book pairings. I'm not a connoisseur, but I think it's a super idea, albeit not cheap and they don't ship everywhere even in the 50 states due to some bullshit regulation. (I believe it was the Some Bullshit No Fun No Wine Act of 1920.) Try At the Bistro (4 books, 3 bottles) or La Douceur de Vivre (6 books, 3 bottles).

FTC cover-assery: I was not given any of this stuff to review. I bought the Irony shirt, and worse, I wear it.

Photo: Travelin' Librarian


Elizabeth said...

Bananagrams is a lot like Set, in that it's really tough to get better at it if you're playing against people with more experience, because by the time you've looked at all your tiles, they've already won.

That doesn't mean it isn't a good game, it's just a lot more fun if all the players are equally matched. If not, the only way to get better is to practice by yourself (and how much fun is that?).

Wade Garrett said...

I wonder how many Moleskines are sold outside of New York, Boston, the north side of Chicago, San Francisco/Berkeley, and Portland/Seattle? Those cities must account for about half of their sales, right?

Ellen said...

W.G., you're probably right, but I wouldn't underestimate flyover state residents' penchant for fancy notebooks. Look at the way the relevant section in Borders and Barnes & Noble continues to thrive -- that's not all hipsters.

On that note though, both Staples and Borders do a decent Moleskine knock-off, dare I say a Fauxleskine, for $6-$8. The paper quality for Staples' isn't as good, but the Borders version is practically identical (I think Piccadilly is the brand).