10 book + gift pairings to delight the reader in your life

Around here, we firmly believe books make great gifts. Period. But sometimes, it’s fun to elevate the gift giving experience by pairing that book with a little something special. Today we’re sharing good gifts to give with a book.

These 10 bookish pairings mean your giftee will not only enjoy their reading experience, but they’ll also have a souvenir for long after the book is done—and they’ll appreciate your thoughtfulness twofold. Happy holidays indeed!

10 bookish bundles that are perfect for book lovers

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She Come By It Natural + Be The Dolly You Wish To See In The World tee

For the Dolly Parton fan. She Come By It Natural was the book I didn’t know I needed in my life this year. With history, biography, and close-reading of Parton’s famous songs, Smarsh weaves a tale of female empowerment, brilliant songwriting, and the importance of self-expression. I always love to hear the behind-the-scenes stories of my favorite artists, and this one delivered on that count, as expected. Even if someone isn’t necessarily a fan of her music, there’s a lot to appreciate about what she’s done to better the world so this t-shirt is not to be missed. It’s also available as a tote bag.

Their Eyes Were Watching God by Zora Neale Hurston + There Are Years That Ask Questions print

For the person who wants to read more classics. Their Eyes Were Watching God is an atmospheric story about expectations, marriage, and unexpected love with well-developed characters and a thought-provoking story line. Pair it with this print of one of my favorite quotes and ponder where 2020 falls.

My Own Words + Dissent Collar earrings

For the nonfiction reader. Learn more about Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg’s career with this compilation of her writing over the years, aptly titled My Own Words. Ginsburg was known for her special dissent collar and they’ve been immortalized as earrings, pins, and necklaces.

A Christmas Carol + Bah Humbug tea towel

For the holiday fiction lover. You can’t go wrong with a Penguin Clothbound classic like Charles Dickens’s A Christmas Carol. Especially when Scrooge’s catchphrase looks like this on a tea towel! But if you want more holiday fiction options, we’ve got you covered.

The Lunar Chronicles + Once Upon A Time bookmark

For the YA reader. Marissa Meyer’s Lunar Chronicles series puts a new spin on an old fairy tale. In Cinder, Cinderella becomes a kickass mechanic, despised by her mother and stepsisters because she’s a cyborg. (Yes, really!) Fresh, fun, and compulsively readable. They can mark their page with this beautiful bookmark.

Boyfriend Material + Love’s Sweet Arrow Signature Candle

For the romance reader. Any number of romances will pair well with this custom-made candle for romance bookstore Love’s Sweet Arrow—they’ll be glad to give you suggestions. The candle includes the scent of vanilla, peony, cedar, and patchouli. The holidays have romcoms on my brain and Alexis Hall’s Boyfriend Material is such an enjoyable, funny read about a fake relationship turned real. (They’re out of stock right now but these Boyfriend Material-inspired pencils are also great.)

Notes From A Young Black Chef + Delicious Happens Here mug

For the Top Chef fan or food memoir aficionado. Contestant Kwame Onwuachi’s memoir Notes From A Young Black Chef delves into his time on the reality show, as well as how he started his own catering company with the twenty thousand dollars he made selling candy on the subway in NYC and the notable restaurants he’s worked in. Read while drinking out of this Top Chef mug.

The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern + heat reactive mug

For the person who wants to get lost in a good story. “The circus arrives without warning.” And now there’s visual proof via this heat reactive mug. I can’t imagine a more perfect accompaniment for The Night Circus, a magical, inventive tale. If your giftee is more of an audiobook person, Jim Dale narrates and I thoroughly enjoyed listening.

Don’t Overthink It by Anne Bogel + Shhh…I’m overthinking socks

For the overthinker. Sometimes you have to laugh when you catch yourself overthinking. These cute socks are a great, albeit ironic, choice to wear while reading my book Don’t Overthink It. (Many thanks to the reader who gifted me these at an early book tour stop!) If you know someone who is stuck in a cycle of what-ifs, plagued by indecision, or paralyzed by the fear of getting it wrong, this just might be the book they need.

The Guest List + Thriller candle

For the thriller fan. This Novelly Yours candle is described as smelling of “creaking floors, whispering wind, and smoke.” I can’t think of a better candle to burn while reading any number of the great thrillers and mysteries out there—And Now She’s Gone by Rachel Howzell Hall, When No One Is Watching by Alyssa Cole, Winter Counts by David Heska Wanbli Weiden. Lucy Foley’s The Guest List puts a clever, modern spin on Agatha Christie’s classic And Then There Were None, setting a destination wedding on a remote Irish island, accessible only by boat, with guests whose lives are connected in ways they never could have guessed.

Do you have any bookish pairing ideas? Have you ever been delighted by a bookish pairing you were given? Please share in the comments section!

P.S. 20 giftable books for every reader, 20 charming place-holders and page-markers for bookworms to gift and enjoy, The MMD 2020 gift guide for book lovers.

10 book + gift pairings to delight the reader in your life


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  1. Adrienne says:

    I love the idea of pairing a book with another item, and you’ve put together a fabulous list. I saw a great poster print of a Dolly Parton quote, “Find out who you are and do it on purpose.” that would make another suggestion for a companion gift to go with the Dolly Parton book, but sadly the Amazon link I found for it is no longer working.

    Happy Reading!

  2. Karen Funfgeld says:

    My local bookstore has put together a slew of themed wrapped bundles including for lovers of books, Jane Austen, cheese, dogs, self care, the great outdoors and the list goes on. You cand find them at rjjulia.com under 2020 Holiday Bundles.

  3. Ellen Finan says:

    This is fun and easy to do with children’s books. I paired the new picture book “Polar Bear in the Snow” by Mac Barnett with the cutest plush bear from Gund, for my grandbabies. Book and toy pairings are great!

  4. Sue A. says:

    I recommend gifting the new book Clanlands by Sam Heughan and Graham McTavish. It’s the chronicle of a road trip around Scotland with (what else?) whiskey. It is very pleasant reading as they bicker like a long-married couple. They manage to sneak in some Scottish history along the way. As for the pairing, how about an Outlander bookmark from Etsy?

  5. Melissa says:

    Echoing the book & quote print idea. Little Women has many beautiful, gift-able editions and Etsy is full of fun prints. For my sister-in-law’s birthday I gifted one that said “I could never love anyone as I love my sister”.

  6. Catherine says:

    I love this list! Since the Love’s Sweet Arrow Signature Candle is out of stock, I’ll suggest a Boy Smells candle in its place–maybe Slow Burn for a Boyfriend Material pairing.

  7. Kara says:

    I have read the RGB book you listed (recommend), and I have the earrings!

    Now I’m overthinking buying those overthinking socks (to go with your book)… Love them!

  8. Jewels says:

    This year for Christmas I’m gifting my husband a book pairing: Matthew McCoughney’s book, Greenlight, along with a bottle of McCoughney’s creation with Wild Turkey, Longbranch Bourbon.

  9. Cara says:

    I got my son and his best bud a scratch off book poster from Uncommon Goods (I think an idea from your blog?) that I will pair with a modern classic. It’s a list of books for young readers and you scratch them off as you read them revealing the cover underneath.

  10. Jayda Justus says:

    I love pairing a favorite history book, nonfiction or fiction, with a museum membership that coordinates with it. For example, you could pair (my favorite!) Team of Rivals by Doris Kearns Goodwin with a membership to President Lincoln’s Cottage or the White House Historical Association. Both have fantastic virtual programming so even if you don’t live nearby, you can still get some value! Plus it helps museums who are struggling with pandemic regulations and restrictions right now.

  11. Torrie says:

    I discovered a clever pairing this week when my husband got me an Ember mug (keeps your drink at your perfect temperature for a whole day if you leave it on its special coaster) and I happened to be reading Before the Coffee Gets Cold. I’m now planning to gift this pair to two of my colleagues.

  12. Susan says:

    In Canada, in the city of Victoria, BC—there is the fabulous indie bookstore Munro’s Books. Right beside it is the equally beautiful Murchie’s Tea and they have one named “Library Blend”, a blend of black and green teas.

    • Janice says:

      Munro’s is one of my favorite book stores and Murchie’s Library Blend is most definitely my MOST favorite tea!! It can be mail ordered.
      Thanks for all these wonderful suggestions…such fun!

  13. Kathleen Connors says:

    In the past, I have tried to pair charitable organizations I wish to support with books. For example, I have gifted “Just Mercy” by Bryan Stevenson with a donation to his wonderful organization EJI (Equal Justice Initiative). Also , the book “Esther the Wonder Pig” combined with a donation to the Happily Ever Esther Farm Sanctuary (farm animal shelter).

  14. Kelly says:

    This year I am pairing a Raddish cooking kit and book for my nieces and nephew. For example one niece is getting their gardening themed kit (full of recipes from the garden) along with The Secret Garden. I’m also putting in gardening gloves, seeds, and a jump rope.

  15. Traci says:

    I just ordered The Night Circus mug to give a good friend who loves that book – thank you for these great pairing suggestions! The online store “Out of Print” that sells the mug has a lot of fun literary themed items!

    • Deepa says:

      Their banned books stuff is great. I would give a “banned books” item with an actual banned book or two. I have a lot of their sweatshirts and t-shirts. Lots of Harry Potter merch. I am currently wearing a Read sweatshirt with Mo Willems characters. So what if I’m an adult? 🙂

  16. Angie Schouest says:

    So what would you pair with I’d Rather Be Reading? I already bought the book for a friend but I’m curious to hear unique feedback. Thanks!

  17. Lee Ann R says:

    Are you able to use an ad blocker? I have AdBlock installed on my computer and it gets rid of at least 99% of ads. It has settings so you can allow ads on some pages if you need to.

  18. Karin says:

    The book, “Infused: Adventures in Tea,” by Henrietta Lovell, with some tea or tea merchandise from the author’s very own Rare Tea Company

  19. Kerrie says:

    As a nod to the year 2020, I purchased for my sisters, “Get Well Soon” by Jennifer Wright (a book about different plagues in history) and some cute toilet paper socks on Etsy. Must make sure your recipients have a slightly twisty sense of humor!

  20. Laura says:

    I know you already have a couple of book candle pairings, but the BEST book candle pairing ever is Ray Bradbury’s Fahrenheit 451 with a Burning Books literary candle from Hearth and Hammer.

  21. I absolutely love this and hope you continue this every holiday season! I would love to be gifted something like this.

    Since teenagers are so hard to shop for, I’m trying right now to figure out pairing the right personal finance or learn-about-money book with a gift card (perhaps a VISA gift card)? It’s hard to find the right book for nephews aged 13, 16 and 20.

  22. Brenna says:

    My partner has been working from home all of 2020 and has had a lot of free time to do puzzles & other hands-on activities, so I’m giving him a the International Space Station LEGO set alongside Endurance: A Year in Space, A Lifetime of Discovery Hardcover by Scott Kelly (the astronaut who lived on the International Space Station for a full year.) AND ALSO, to be a little ~extra~, I got a BRIKSMAX lighting kit for the LEGO set, so he can play with the wiring and add lights to the completed model. I think it will be a hit.

  23. Tiffany says:

    I have one to add to your list: I’m giving my MIL your “I’d rather be reading” book + a mug from Amazon that says “Bookmarks are for quitters.” I think she’s going to love it!

  24. Susie LaBelle says:

    I LOVE this post and seeing these ideas. I’ve done several pairings for my grandkids with children’s books. I paired Goodnight Gorilla with some zoo-themed resin animals and a zoo cage I made like a diorama out of a shoe box. Goodnight Goodnight Construction Site with mini Tonka trucks and kinetic sand. Press Here with a whole bunch of different colored milk jug caps. I love doing things like this and making children’s books interactive 🙂 This post brought me SO much joy!!

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