St Valentine’s Day

We’re all for love and romance at Five Books, but sometimes having a special day dedicated to it can feel a bit pressurized. If you’re single, you feel left out, if you’re in a relationship, you wonder if either you or your partner should be more romantic than you are. Still, there are always books and other things you can read to get you thinking about things. For the historically minded, one blogpost we particularly enjoyed  was by Lisa M. Bitel, Professor of History and Religion at the University of Southern California, entitled “The ‘real’ St. Valentine was no patron of love.

Whatever the miserable fate of those late Roman/medieval saints that our Valentine’s Day is based on, the fact remains that these days February 14th is associated with romance. Below some book recommendations interspersed with the inevitable flowers and chocolates.

Reading-Related Gadgets for Book Lovers

If you are looking for a gift for the book lover in your life, but you’re not sure which titles they already have on their bookshelves, a reading-related gadget might make a thoughtful present this holiday season. Below we’ve selected five suggestions – to suit every budget – that will make their life easier.

Gifts for the Aspiring Author in Your Life

Writing a first book can be a long, slow and solitary road. Support the hopeful novelist, poet or non-fiction writer in your life by buying them one of these useful gifts this holiday season. For more ideas, please see our ‘how to write’ archives, where we have a dozen interviews with authors who recommend titles that they found helped their own writing process.

Gift Subscriptions for Book Lovers

The gift that keeps on giving: a monthly or quarterly subscription. Here are five of the best English language literary publications, subscriptions to which would make a wonderful present to the keen reader in your life – or even a gift to yourself, to supplement your Five Books habit!

Gifts to Help Get Children Into Science

Our children’s section has a number of interviews in which experts have recommended some brilliant titles: Alice Bell, for example, recommended five of the best science books for kids; Alom Shaha chose five science-based novels for children; and Georgina Stevens selected five of the best children’s books on the environment. But sometimes you need hands-on experience to get a better sense of the subject. Here are five science-related educational gift ideas which we believe would make excellent presents for children of all abilities, aged eight and over.

Gifts for Coders and Computer Scientists

Our recent computer science interviews have been among our most popular ever, and offer a selection of outstanding book titles which would make excellent presents for your coder friends this holiday season: start with Ana Bell’s discussion of the best books on computer science and programming. We’ve gathered some highlights below, plus a couple of non-book gift ideas, to help you plan your Christmas shopping.

Presents for Children Who Love To Read

We at Five Books are always desperately keen that kids should catch the reading bug early: if you know a child who has, or have a child you’d like to convince, we have a myriad of gift suggestions. Firstly, nothing would be more appropriate than a good book. We have dozens of interviews with authors and illustrators, each of whom recommend five of their favourite books – browse them all here. But if you’d like to branch out from books alone, some of these carefully selected gift ideas might make suitable presents – covering everything from stocking fillers or gifts for friends’ offspring, to more significant purchases which could mark a special occasion.

Even More Stocking Fillers for Book Lovers

Still searching for that special little something for the reader in your life? Our first and second lists of small presents—also suitable as stocking fillers or Secret Santa gifts—are a good place to start. Or here are five more ideas, all of which come in at under $25.

Useful Presents for the Book Lover Who Travels

It can be tricky to find a suitable gift for a person who lives out of a carry case. They’ve been everywhere, seen everything, and they simply don’t have the baggage allowance for scented candles or paperweights. World literature is a good place to start; we’ve gathered together reading lists by country, to help you choose suitable titles. Or here are five further ideas, with an emphasis on usefulness.

The Best Board Games

There’s going to be lots of time spent with family over the holiday season and board games are a great way to have fun together. In Germany, there is an annual ‘Spiel des Jahres’ or ‘Game of the Year’ prize that’s awarded and the games that win that are often very, very good family games. We’ve included this year’s winner below.