Wednesday, 17 October 2012

Amazing gifts for the bibliophile in your life

I am very much hoping that my mum doesn't suddenly start reading this blog, because these ideas have basically sorted my gift-buying for her for the next year.  All of them are fairly pricey, but if you have a bookworm in your life who you love very much, they'd make great Christmas presents.

I don't take kindly to being told what to read (my poor friends Caroline and Jen have been trying to get me to read To Kill A Mockingbird and A Thousand Splendid Suns, respectively, for the last year.  So far I have stubbornly resisted, because I am a pain in the arse), but any normal reader would adore receiving Mr B's Reading Year.  Run by beautiful Bath bookshop Mr B's, the gift consists of an introductory consultation in which to discuss reading preferences, after which the recipient will be sent a book a month, tailored to their tastes.  At £135 for the paperback version or an eye-watering £220 for the hardback, it doesn't come cheap, but as an extra-special gift I think it would be hard to beat.  With my mum's 65th birthday - and, more importantly, her retirement - coming up early in 2013, I think I have the perfect excuse to splash out.

Erm, just look at that Hogwarts-ian library interior!  This is Gladstone's Library, in Flintshire, and I would very very much like to visit.  Amazingly enough, they charge just £87 for an en suite double room, including dinner & breakfast (and that's for the room, not per person).  If you're not fussy about en suite, it comes down to £69 per room.  The Library is, according to their website, "one of a kind - a residential library and meeting place dedicated to dialogue, debate and learning for open-minded individuals and groups who are looking to explore pressing questions and to pursue study and research in an age of distraction and easy solutions."  They run workshops and courses, or you can just visit to read, write, think... or walk in the glorious surrounding countryside.  A trip to Gladstone's Library would make the perfect gift for a busy bookworm who needs a few days to unwind (*cough* me *cough*).

If you can't quite stretch to the full yearly subscription from Mr B's but like the concept, then the Willoughby Book Club might be the answer.  The difference here is that you can get subscriptions for as little as three months - and there are choices for children, lovers of cookery or gardening books, and cult fiction fans amongst others - so it makes a more affordable gift.  However, unlike Mr B's Reading Year, if your gift recipient already has the book sent they can't return it, which makes it a risky choice for someone who has masses of books.  The WBC is a local company (based in South Leicestershire village Willoughby Waterleys) so I want to support them just for that reason: plus I love the idea of opening up a new surprise package every month.


  1. I agree with your friends, you should read 'to kill a mockingbird' - best book i've read in years!

    1. I know! I'm so rubbish, I keep taking it away with me but bringing it back, unread, to sit in a book pile in my bedroom.

  2. That hotel/library looks amazing. I's love to escape there for a relaxing weekend on my own. I've always wanted to go somewhere like that, and chat to like-minded people.