The Best 2016 Gift Books for the Literati in Your Life


Here are some gorgeous, funny, clever and inspiring books — mostly published in 2016 — for the literary person in your life (or yourself). Whether it’s a beautifully-bound poetry collection, a motivational journal or or much-needed source of laughter and satire, the gift of a book can be sophisticated, subversive and/or intellectual, three qualities we need in abundance this year. And don’t forget to skip Amazon and buy directly from the publisher, or order these gifts from your local indie store (if you can).

Without further ado, our bookish guide:

For the poetry fanatic:

Selected Poems, Emily Dickinson

The Folio Society’s stunning, affordable selection of Dickinson’s poems is perfectly-timed to the Dickinsonassaince, with A Quiet Passion likely to hit theaters in 2017.

For the scandal-loving story devourer:

Sex and Death: Stories. Sarah Hall and Peter Hobbs, eds.

This handsome anthology lingers on the two most enduring themes in literature: the urge to reproduce, and mortality, neither of which we can avoid. Features writers like Wells Tower, Taiye Selasi, and Yiyun Li.

For the aspiring (or current) scribbler:

The Way of the Writer, Charles Johnson

An impressive collection of thoughts on writing and philosophy from one of America’s literary stalwarts. Pair this one with…

The Kite and the String, Alice Mattison

A no-nonsense craft manual and literary exploration which will hold particular appeal for women, mothers, and anyone else who wants to balance care work with pursuing their creative dreams.

For the “creativity” obsessive:

Pick Me Up: a Pep Talk for Now and Later, Adam J. Kurtz

The phrase “pick me up” has a double meaning: to feel better, and to get your juices flowing. It also gives a ttile to this slim new workbook from creativity guru Adam J. Kurtz, which is meant to serve as an inspiration both when you use it, and later when you return to it.

Got more creatives in your life? Some more options include …

Treat Ideas Like Cats, Zachary Petit

A handbook of inspiration in the form of quotes (we love those here at Flavorwire). [And cats, too — Feline Ed.]

The “Year of Yes” Journal, Shonda Rhimes

A gorgeous journal that asks the writer to say “yes” to something every single day. It’s a follow-up to Rhimes’ self-help book — a book that many people said actually helped them, which makes it something of a rarity in the self-help genre.

For the book-fetishist

The Book, Keith Houston

Earlier in the year, we ran a gallery of gorgeous images from The Book, the handsome and comprehensive history of the object, from Papyrus to the printing press and beyond. This is for a friend who loves both fonts and history.

For the Postmodernist or Philosopher-type

Six Memos for the New Millennium, Italo Calvino

Calvino’s unfinished, undelivered — and widely-lauded — Harvard lectures on literature (there are only five of them, natch) are newly-translated by Geoffrey Brock and bound in an attractive paperback copy.

For the satire-loving feminist

GLOP: Nontoxic, expensive ideas that will look ridiculous and feel pretentious, Gabrielle Moss

GLOP is the GOOP/lifestyle evangelism satire you’ve been waiting for. (Our own Moze Halperin will be particularly delighted with this!)

The Reductress’ How To Win at Feminism

The coffee table book that encapsulates the deadly accurate tone of the parody women’s site. Guaranteed to make you laugh and cry and the same time.

For the Sci-Fi fanatic:

The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy collection, Douglas Adams

The Douglas Adams “trilogy of five” collection, also from the Folio society are slipcase-bound, illustrated editions of the Hitchiker’s Guide to the Galaxy and its companions, and they sparkle. What more do you need to know?

For the fan of creepiness and/or Christmas:

The Christmas Ghost Stories Holiday Bundle, Biblioasis

A bundle of tiny pocket editions of some memorable ghost stories (including installments from Wharton and Dickens) for the December season — an adorable and easy way to sneak in a little supernatural, seasonal reading in a busy month.