“Books make great gifts because they have whole worlds inside of them.” (Neil Gaiman)
We all know Valentine’s Day — the season of red roses, heart-shaped chocolates, and endless rom-coms. However, most people will have never heard of ‘International Book Giving Day.’ Both holidays share two things in common; 1.) the same 14th February calendar date; 2.) the act of giving. Equally so, the sentiments behind them could not be more different. International Book Giving Day boosts children’s access to and enthusiasm for books. In other words, it is a day to do precisely what the day says — give books. Having said that, we’ve decided to fuse International Book Giving Day with the festival of St Val. So, when it comes to matters of the heart, the act of giving books can be practised and celebrated by all.
So, here is a list of 5 books to gift to your loved one on International Book Giving Day.
1. ) One book for book lovers
The Book Thief by Markus Zusak (2005)
We all know someone in our lives who we would describe as a bona fide bookworm. For one, they observe the quintessential dress code of cosy knitwear, holding a latte in one hand and a book in another. To be sure, their whole universe is centred around the written word. And what better book to gift the bibliophile in your life than Zusak’s tragically moving tale of a young girl’s love-affair with books. Liesel, with the help of her accordion-playing foster father, learns to read during the midst of WW2 in Nazi Germany. Soon, she becomes known as the Book Thief, stealing back books to protect them from Nazi book-burnings. Most importantly, what lies at the heart of this book is the powerful capabilities of the written word in the most dangerous and trying of circumstances.
*Tip: Why not gift the book lover in your life with a second-hand copy of this book. The split spine, the yellowed pages, and fragmented notes made by the previous owner carry stories of their own.
2. ) One book for someone who hasn’t read in a while
The Guest List by Lucy Foley
There may be someone you know who hasn’t picked up a book in years. This person struggles to keep on top of the books that are gathering dust on their bookshelves. For one thing, these people need a binge-worthy book that can keep them hooked. Rest assured, I recommend Lucy Foley’s The Guest List to kickstart their reading. This book is a modern rendition of Agatha Christie’s classic murder mysteries. The scene: a remote Irish island; a wedding party; an ensemble of unruly personas; and a dead body. Each guest offers their narrative, yet they appear to have suspicious motives. Needless to say, you’ll be rivetted by this cleverly constructed plot, and the juicy secrets of our star-studded, glamorous ensemble.
*Tip: Swap out a physical copy of the book with an audiobook version. Audiobooks are an incredible way to incorporate reading into our daily routine of work, chores, and commutes. Foley’s The Guest List features Aoife McMahon, who also narrates Sally Rooney’s bestselling novels, Normal People and Conversations with Friends.
3. ) One book for your partner
What Writers Read: 35 Writers on their Favourite Book by Pandora Sykes
When it comes to gifting a book to your significant other, it can be tricky. To begin with, the book must capture their personality, their nature, and their interests. Likewise, your selection should express how well you know them, understand them, and listen to them. Regardless, that’s a lot of expectation to demand from just one book. So, last year, you may have missed the mark and are now struggling with this year’s title. In this case, I recommend What Writers Read: 35 Writers on their Favourite Book. This pocket-sized book offers a collection of essays from some of the most beloved writers of our times. Each writer shares their favourite book and how it has shaped them into the writers they are today. Even so, I’m sure your significant other will be inspired to read one of these titles. Perhaps, it may become their new favourite.
4. ) One book to gift to a friend
Atomic Habits: An Easy and Proven Way to Build Good Habits by James Clear
Part of the unwritten contract between friends is to encourage each other to be better and do better. Also, part of that contract (the bit in small print) includes gifting them a book. So, what better way to fulfil these two clauses than by gifting them a self-help book? This bestseller details how humans form habits, whilst sharing practical strategies for building good habits and breaking bad ones. You’ll hear from Olympic gold medallists to business leaders, discussing how they have utilised small habits to master their craft. After reading this book, your friend could be two push-ups away from revolutionising their life, career, and relationships.
5. ) One book for yourself
Dear Dolly: One Love, Life, and Friendship by Dolly Alderton
The act of gifting books can show our love and appreciation of a person. Although, who says that we can’t show ourselves love and appreciation, through gifting ourselves a book? My favourite thing to do is to stroll through a bookstore, in search of a new addition to my bookshelf. So, for those looking to gift themselves a book, I suggest Dear Dolly: One Love, Life, and Friendship. This book includes the most memorable and bizarre questions from Alderton’s Agony Aunt column in The Sunday Times. She covers everything from break-ups and body image, to love and loss. Alderton lends her own experiences to guide her readers through the delights and downfalls of social media, sex, and solitude. Without a doubt, Dolly feels like a best friend with the most relatable advice, and unquestionable sense of humour.
If you want to find out what to read on your next coffee shop date, we share ideas in our monthly newsletter. Or, if you can’t wait, then check out our Editor’s Blog. Find us on socials, our website and Goodreads to get notified whenever we publish something new.
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By Saima Khan