Gifts to satisfy your favorite picky reader


Millie Alt

My suggested gifts for book lovers (some of my favorite books and products)

Readers have high standards. If you’re a reader yourself, you understand this. If you have a reader in your life and haven’t experienced this quality yet, just wait. So, as Christmas creeps even closer, here is a list of gift ideas guaranteed to satisfy your picky reader (or yourself).

To start out with the obvious, books are the primary choice of any reader. Whether it be a favorite or a soon-to-be-read, readers love to grow their collections.

Six of Crows, by Leigh Bardugo, is a well-known urban fantasy novel. It is one of two books in a series. Six of Crows is, first and foremost, a heist novel, and will appeal to fans of the found family trope. It is sweet and rich, and the plot is stunningly developed between this book and the next.

Throne of Glass, by Sarah J. Maas, is the first book in a seven-book series. While this may seem daunting, it is a perfect book to gift to a fantasy lover. This series is the epitome of all things fantastical with shapeshifters, fae, witches, dragons, and every brand of magic imaginable.

Percy Jackson and the Olympians, by Rick Riordan, is also a very famous series. Although it is geared towards a younger audience, readers of all ages will be emersed in this world immediately. This series is especially suitable for a lover of Greek mythology or mythology in general.

Scythe, by Neil Shusterman, is a dystopian science fiction novel—the first of three. It takes place in a futuristic world where death is no longer natural. It is a fast-paced read with multiple points of view and stunning plot twists. If your reader loves a morally gray lead with a sprinkle of forbidden romance, this is the book for them.

This Savage Song, by V.E. Schwab, is another novel with morally gray leads. It follows a monster and a monster hunter in a futuristic world. The magic system and social commentary in this book are impeccable, and although it is a lesser-known work from Schwab, it is one of her best.

A Study in Charlotte, by Brittany Cavallaro, is a retelling of Sherlock Holmes. It centers around descendants of Holmes, Dr. Watson, and Moriarty in a thrilling novel—the first in a four-book series. The dynamic between Holmes and Watson, as well as the discussions of mental health and trauma, are stunning. For any mystery fan in your life, this book is perfect.

The Atlas Six, by Olivie Blake, is a newer novel. Featuring a large cast of diverse characters in a modern world with a twist—magic is normal—this book is perfect for your existential reader. It dives into topics even I don’t quite understand, and the magic system is as complex as the relationships between the six main characters.

Featuring a large cast of diverse characters in a modern world with a twist—magic is normal—this book is perfect for your existential reader.

These Violent Delights, by Chloe Gong, is a debut novel, the first in a duology set in 1920s Shanghai. It is a Romeo and Juliet retelling focusing on the heirs of two rival gangs. Colonialism, imperialism, and violence are discussed in this glittering novel, and the last 100 pages are perfect for fans of a plot twist (or twists).

Lore: Olympus, by Rachel Smythe, is the only graphic novel on this list. It is another Greek mythology retelling, centering around Hades and Persephone, but including many other recognizable faces. The art style is stunning, and the story is well-built. Greek mythology fans and graphic novel lovers alike will adore this book.

Beach Read, by Emily Henry, is a summer romance. Sweet and sunny, it is the perfect taste of the beach in the middle of winter. For fans of a book within a book, this story is also perfect as it features two rival authors working on their newest novels.

Red, White, and Royal Blue, by Casey McQuiston, is the final book on this list. This may be my favorite book of all time, not to save the best for last. It is a political romance between the first son of the United States and the prince of England. These two and their best friends create chaos and social commentary wherever they go, and this book captures found family and blood family in a stunning light.

All of these books are guaranteed to be a hit, but if you are not sure which book your reader would like, here are some gift ideas that are not books (or at least specific books).

Penguin Clothbound Classics are the ultimate purchase of a book collector. Even if your reader is not an avid collector of books, they will undeniably adore a Clothbound Classics edition of their favorite classic novel. From The Great Gatsby to Mansfield Park, this collection has every classic imaginable, and they are absolutely stunning.

Another great gift for a book collector is a subscription to a book box. Fairyloot, Illumicrate, and Owlcrate are three more popular options, but the major appeal of these boxes is the exclusive editions that they contain. They often hold newer releases with exclusive covers, foil stamps on the hardback, endpapers, and even sprayed or stenciled edges.

Tote bags, mugs, and candles are three other great gifts for book lovers. Totes and mugs with a bookish theme and candles scented like old books or parchment are especially applicable, but any choices will be well-received. Book lovers are always looking for ways to carry their current read (and their next two) everywhere they go, and a hot drink and cozy scent always improve the reading experience.

Book embossers are another great gift for a reader with a large collection. They are similar to stamps but instead have a raised pattern that can be pressed into the cover page of a book. They are customizable on many websites such as Etsy, and they are a great way for a reader to make their collection personal.

The final gift idea is for your reader who loves to annotate their books. Sticky tabs and nice pens and highlighters are the perfect gifts if you know a reader like this. Tabs are always running out, and no one can ever have too much stationary.

Readers are picky, but with advice from a reader herself, you are sure to find the perfect gift for your book lover. Nevertheless, if you are still unsure about which of these items to gift to your reader, a Barnes & Noble gift card has never once failed.