Shopping for your bookish significant others is easy, right? You trek to your local bookstore, bring a printout of the New York Times bestseller list, close your eyes and randomly place your finger on the paper -- whatever title you happen to be pointing at that one it shall be! Right? That's certainly one way to go about it, but if you're looking for a less risky approach here's a gift list book lovers are bound to adore:
Stocking stuffer: Writersblok Matchbook Sticky Notes ($2)
These sticky notes come in a pack of four and have a perforated edge for ease of use. Perfect for wrangling all types of stray thoughts. Available at most local art supply stores (I went to Flax in SF's Duboce Triangle) and online.
Splurge: Kate Spade's Book Clutch ($328)
This season's clutches are made out of the beautiful book covers of The Portrait of a Lady, The Age of Innocence, and A Tale of Two Cities. These clutches feature interior zip compartment with card slots, pretty custom woven lining, and a 14-karat light gold-plated hardware. Drool.
Splurge: Rare Hardcover Editions at Bell's Books (From $100 to $200)
Some of the best gifts I've gotten are from this lovely, family-owned independent bookshop in Palo Alto. Bell's Books features some of the finest, wood-cut-illustrated, hardcover books you'll find in the Bay. For an incredible gift, find out the favorite book of the person you're shopping for and then make your way to this amazing little bookstore. They keep numerous shelves stacked with the most galvanizing editions. My favorite gift was a Sons and Lovers edition from 1975.
Under $20: Handpicked Slim Notebooks at Maido (From $2.55 to $7.55)
Most bookish types are writers too. Whether we enjoy journaling, writing stories, or generally reflecting on what we read, these three notebooks are sure to wow. Tucked away on the third floor of Westfield Mall on Market Street in San Francisco is downtown's best-kept secret: buried next to a game shop and a restaurant is Maido, a store that features rare and hard-to-find imports from Japan. Their notebooks are beautiful, elegant, and I assure you so much more exceptional than the usual notebook fare at paper stores.
Under $50: Powell's Indiespensable Subscription ($39.95)
Every six weeks a new Indie release is selected by the respected booksellers at Powell's and is curated with little gifts (from cookies to steel cups). The latest volume features The Best of McSweeney's, edited by Dave Eggers. Buy one volume or several, depending on what you want to spend. Subscribe now at powells.com.
Lastly, the Best Reading Experience in the World: Robert Olen Butler's Intercourse read in concurrence with Severance ($22.95/each)
Robert Olen Butler just may be the best living writer today. Reading these two volumes together is the best decision you'll ever make. It has been the reading event of the year for me. While Severance is a collection of the last thoughts of real and imagined characters at the moment right after a beheading, Intercourse is a collection of the thoughts of real and imagined characters during intercourse. The writing is so distilled and beautiful I was at times literally bereft of breath. They are perfect companions because when one becomes too intense, you can just turn to the other, and in this way read them in tandem. It'll change your life. Available at Chronicle Books.