WSIRN Ep 107: Bookish gifts for everyone on your list

how to make ordinary gift thoughtful Christmas

Readers, we have a very special and much-requested episode for you today. My friend Holland Saltsman owns The Novel Neighbor in St Louis (that’s Webster Groves, to you locals and holiday travelers), and she’s joining me to talk about our favorite books of the year, supporting our local bookstores, and the bookish gifts we can’t wait to give and receive this year. This one is a lot of fun, whether you’re shopping for a book lover, making your own wish list, or just want to indulge in a whole bunch of readerly enthusiasm.

Connect with Holland and The Novel Neighbor: Website | Twitter | Instagram

Books mentioned in this episode:

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• Picture book author Oliver Jeffers
What I Found In A Thousand Towns: A Traveling Musician’s Guide to Rebuilding America’s Communities – One Coffee Shop, Dog Run, and Open-Mike Night at a Time, by Dar Williams (Amazon | Barnes and Noble | IndieBound)
It’s All Relative: Adventures Up and Down the World’s Family Tree, by A.J. Jacobs (Amazon | Barnes and Noble | IndieBound)
The Year of Living Biblically: One Man’s Humble Quest to Follow the Bible as Literally as Possible, by A.J. Jacobs (Amazon | Barnes and Noble | IndieBound)
My Ideal Bookshelf, by Thessaly La Force, illustrated by Jane Mount (Amazon | Barnes and Noble | IndieBound)
Simple: The Easiest Cookbook in the World, by Jean-Francois Mallet (Amazon | Barnes and Noble | IndieBound)
Simple Healthy: The Easiest Light Cookbook in the World, by Jean-Francois Mallet (Amazon | Barnes and Noble | IndieBound)
The Smitten Kitchen Cookbook: Recipes and Wisdom from an Obsessive Home Cook, by Deb Perelman (Amazon | Barnes and Noble | IndieBound)
Smitten Kitchen Everyday: Triumphant and Unfussy New Favorites, by Deb Perelman (Amazon | Barnes and Noble | IndieBound)
Well Fed Weeknights: Complete Paleo Meals in 45 Minutes or Less, by Melissa Joulwan (Amazon | Barnes and Noble | Direct from author)
The Great Halifax Explosion: A World War I Story of Treachery Tragedy and Extraordinary Heroism, by John U. Bacon (Amazon | Barnes and Noble | IndieBound)
Salt To The Sea, by Ruta Sepetys (Amazon | Barnes and Noble | IndieBound)
• The World of Tomorrow, by Brendan Mathews (Amazon | Barnes and Noble | IndieBound)
The Dirty Book Club, by Lisi Harrison (Amazon | Barnes and Noble | IndieBound)
Meddling Kids, by Edgar Cantero (Amazon | Barnes and Noble | IndieBound)
This Must Be the Place, by Maggie O’Farrell (Amazon | Barnes and Noble | IndieBound)
Dear Fahrenheit 451: Love and Heartbreak in the Stacks: A Librarian’s Love Letters and Breakup Notes to the Books in Her Life (Amazon | Barnes and Noble | IndieBound)
I’m Just No Good at Rhyming: And Other Nonsense for Mischievous Kids and Immature Grown-Ups, by Chris Harris (Amazon | Barnes and Noble | IndieBound)

Also mentioned:

The 2017 Modern Mrs Darcy Gift Guide for Book Lovers, which includes links to many of the items Holland and I talked about
Book darts
Blue Q socks and dish towels (salty language alert)
Out of Print socks and accessories
Emily McDowell cards and enamel pins

What bookish gifts do you have up your sleeve this year? Tell us all about them in comments!


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  1. Donna H. says:

    This was one of my favorite episodes! I always enjoy when Holland is on to get a behind-the-scenes view of running a bookstore plus you can tell how much she and Anne like talking to each other. Great book and gift recommendations (love Dar Williams the singer-didn’t know she wrote a book) and I was so inspired a got a subscription to The Novel Neighbor as well, I can’t wait to see what books they’ll pick.

  2. I loved this episode. I know I say that a lot in these comments, but what listening to each episode does for me is open up my reading life there are so many good books out there that I know I will never run out of good reading material.

    Not only that. I’ve gotten into a gift giving rut the last few years. This year I’m giving gifts from your website, CW Pencil Enterprises, and now I’m going to check out The Novel Neighbor website. When I got the shipment from CW Pencil Enterprises, I cried when I saw a personal note written to me. They didn’t know it was a gift for my husband, but it doesn’t matter. The package is so beautifully wrapped. Maybe good customer service is coming back! I’m including the note with his sketchbook when I wrap it.

    I look forward to listening to your podcast each week. Thanks so much for doing it.

  3. Lindsay says:

    I loved this episode! And I just happened to be traveling to St. Louis for work today and yesterday – right when this podcast came out! So, of course, I had to make a stop to the Novel Neighbor on my way to the airport. What a fun bookstore. Everyone was so nice, and it is like #bookstagram came to life in there. Thanks for all the recommendations, I *might* have left with a ton of books for my kids and an Ideal Bookshelf mug for me (yay!!).

  4. This episode was extra fun for me to listen to because I am going to St. Louis this weekend to visit a friend and we are going to the Novel Neighbor. After hearing her on your podcast several times, I can’t wait to see her store in person!! As far as bookish gifts, I got my MIL “The Heart’s Invisible Furies” as I’ve heard great things about it. I also got her a book called, “memories for my grandchild.” It has all these writing prompts for her to answer. We are expecting our first child in March, and it’s her first grandchild, so I think she’ll really have fun filling it out.

  5. Thank you so much for this episode, Anne and Holland! My 7-year-old son is currently laughing over I’m Just No Good at Rhyming, and my girlfriends got the Everyday Bravery pins. So fun.

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