The best gifts for book lovers are, naturally, books—and you’ll find plenty of book recommendations on our site for the person who loves history or historical fiction, philosophy or fiction—or just wants to read the best books of 2023. This is my list of other gifts that are really useful for people who love to read. It’s based on my own research and experience as well as questions and comments I’ve received from readers. (For more eclectic lists, put together by members of our team over the years, here are more holiday gift ideas).
The Best E-Reader
Read our e-reader recommendations
Like many people in the world today, I still prefer to read print books rather than electronic versions, but it isn’t always practical and I do end up relying heavily on my e-reader. Of the Amazon Kindles, my favourite is the Kindle Oasis. It is at the pricy end of the range, however. The cheapest is just called Kindle. The most expensive is the Kindle Scribe, which you can also use for taking notes. The more expensive Kindles are a bit sleeker and have additional bells and whistles, but they’re also a bit bigger. All Kindle types now allow you to listen to audiobooks via Bluetooth.
The other main type of e-reader is the Rakuten Kobo range. My sister (also an obsessive reader) loves hers. Like the Kindle, Kobos are available in budget, mid- and expensive versions. The Kobo Clara 2E, the mid-range model, received an excellent rating from UK consumer rights group Which? (a nonprofit that does extensive tests on all electronic gadgets sold in the UK). They called it “one of the best we’ve tested.”
Moleskine Book Journal
If you read a lot, it’s easy to forget which books you’ve read and which you’ve enjoyed. There are quite a few reading journals out there, but my favourite is the Moleskine Book Journal. It’s very nicely done, and includes a slipcase. The pages are alphabetized (you’ll have to decide how best to order the books, by author or by title) and each book entry has its own page. On it, you fill in details like ‘title,’ ‘author,’ ‘date read’, ‘original language,’ ‘awards, ‘notes,’ ‘thoughts and impressions’ and ‘memorable quote.’ The journal is 8.25 by 5 inches with 350+ pages, enough to keep even the most avid reader going for at least a year.
A Subscription to Audible
It’s a golden age for audiobooks, with almost every book published also available in audiobook form and wonderful recordings of classic books being produced as well. Audible, which was bought by Amazon in 2008, is the world’s largest producer of audiobooks, and the range they offer is excellent. The app is easily downloadable onto a smartphone.
There are alternatives. Some, in contrast to Audible, are free. For example, LibriVox offers books that are in the public domain, all read by volunteers. But Audible is very good and worth the monthly subscription if you love books.
Listening to audiobooks in a noisy place can be annoying unless you have a good set of headphones. If you prefer to have them over your ears, the best ones currently on the market are the Sony WH-1000XM5 Wireless Noise Cancelling Headphones. They’re expensive, but get close to removing the distracting noise of the outside world altogether, as Which?, the UK consumer magazine, so neatly puts it.
For in-ear headphones, the AirPods and Air Pods Pro—we’re now at the 3rd and 2nd generations respectively—remain highly recommended. Personally, I find the quality of the Anker Soundcore Life P2i Wireless Earbuds excellent. I use them while running and see no reason to upgrade to a more expensive pair.
Addicted readers suffer from the same problem as insomniacs, we’re awake when everyone else is asleep. One of the big advantages of a Kindle is that you can read it in the dark without disturbing anyone. When I’m reading a print book, however, that’s not much help. I’ve experimented with a wide range of reading lights, and the best I’ve come across is the rechargeable Glocusent Round Neck Reading Light. Because it sits on your shoulders, you’re not having to fiddle with a clip or other device to get the light onto the right page. It’s useful not only for reading but any task for which you need extra light but can’t hold a torch in your hand. The downside of this reading light, I’ve found, is it doesn’t attract the most flattering comments from family members: ‘you look like a character from Star Wars‘ etc. etc. Also, it feels a bit cheap. All in all, I’m still not completely satisfied with this option, so if anyone has any better ideas…do get in touch.
Do you have any other suggestions? Please write to us (firstname.lastname@example.org), as we’re always on the lookout for good reading-related gadgets and stationery.
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