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Twelve Days of Gifts for Bookish People


Twelve Days of Gifts for Bookish People

As Christmas is just around the corner, it’s time to start thinking about the perfect gift to bring joy to our book-loving friends and family members. To help us with that task, award-winning rural romance and romantic comedy author Penelope Janu has compiled a list of gifts that won’t only be perfect for the special bookish people in your lives, but also for you!

RELATED: Read a sneak peek from Sunshine Through The Rain

Beach-related gifts

‘Beach read’ books are all very well, but it’s not always comfortable reading on the beach on a hot summer’s day. A shelter and chair (possibly a footstool), sunglasses, sweet-scented sunblock, a swimming costume, a colourful towel and fetching hats and wraps are all essential accompaniments to the beach read.

Book quotes

Crockery with quotes from favourite novels makes an excellent gift. ‘You must allow me to tell you how ardently I love and admire you’ is one of my Mr Darcy favourites. A mug or even a tea towel is an inexpensive gift that shows the bookish person in your life that you appreciate their reading tastes.

Bed linen

Pillows with beautiful cotton (or silk) pillow slips are a great Christmas gift idea for a bookish recipient and will be particularly useful when reading in bed. For example, A Country Vet Christmas, five novellas that feature country vets by five best-selling rural romance authors, comes in at a weighty 636 pages! A triangular pillow for reading when sitting up, a rectangular pillow for reading when lying on your front, a square pillow when lying on your back … The options are endless.

Outfits to match reading preferences

What could be more pleasant than reading a renaissance romance by a bubbling brook while draped in silken robes? I’ve always thought Victorian era Pride and Prejudice dresses would be perfect for Christmas (conveniently high waisted to accommodate turkey, trimmings, pudding and custard). Whatever your friends’ reading tastes might be, there’ll be an item of apparel to match. A lace handkerchief, rhinestone boots, a parasol, an Akubra—the list goes on and on.

Book bags

Many on-line and bricks-and-mortar stores sell personalised book bags for the carriage of books. Using a book bag, particularly one with a drawstring, is an excellent way to recapture the excitement of library day in primary school.


Readers, like writers, can never have too many notebooks. They are useful for writing down favourite lines from a novel, and for listing books that you’ve read and books you’d like to read. Any size notebook will do—one for the handbag, one for the Woolies shopping bag, one for the beach bag, one for the pocket in the back of the seat in a long-haul flight … If you buy a notebook with a beautiful cover that matches the bookish tastes of the gift recipient, you will have a friend for life.

A bookish-themed holiday

If you have a friend who reads in a genre that you also enjoy, plan a weekend away and spoil each other. Romantic suspense readers? A night in a deserted lighthouse perched on a craggy cliff. Rural romance readers? Stay on a dairy farm and milk the cows (while keeping an eye out for handsome farmers). Mills & Boon readers? A hotel room with views of the city skyline (and preferably a hot tub).

Bookshelves and bookcases

A dedicated reading room with bookshelves and a comfortable armchair would be an excellent gift. Or maybe a chaise longue placed under a window, preferably stained glass, or in front of an open fire. My personal preference would be for a dedicated library with white-painted timber shelves so high that I’d need a sliding ladder to reach the books at the top.

A more modest Christmas gift option might be a simple Ikea bookcase. Note: it would be essential that this particular gift include assemblage, because the gift recipient will invariably prioritise getting lost in the pages of a novel over swearing at Ikea instructions.

Book vouchers

The lovely thing about a book voucher is that it has a personal quality, because what can be more personal than choosing a book to read and disappearing into a world created by the author?

Bookish props

We see a different world when reading, so a prop for the bookish person in your life might be appropriate. A fantasy reader? An inflatable unicorn to sit on the end of the bed. A rural romance reader? A porcelain mare and foal for a side table. A historical fiction reader? A ceremonial sword for the trophy room. A reading vibe can be created in a simple yet effective way by giving the gift of a pot plant—a vigorous creeping vine, a strident cactus, a colourful hibiscus or an orchid … the options are endless!

Rehabilitation equipment

A marathon of reading is good for the soul but can take a toll on the body. A warm or cold pack might be a useful gift for the reader in your life for the purpose of easing aches and pains after a particularly vigorous reading workout.

The gift of solitude

Much as we love our family and friends (most of the time) at Christmas, the season is enhanced when we have opportunities for solitude. A simple card with the words ‘Take the afternoon off’ can be a wonderful gift—particularly when accompanied by thoughtful additional gifts such as a novel, a scented candle, bath salts and a bottle of expensive champagne …

As not only a romance writer but reader, I’ve shared this article with my friends and family. Fingers crossed I’ll get lucky this year!


Penelope Janu lives on the coast in northern Sydney with a distracting husband, a very large dog and, now they’re fully grown, six delightful children who come and go. Penelope has a passion for creating stories that explore social and environmental issues, but her novels are fundamentally a celebration of Australian characters and communities. Her first novel, In at the Deep End, came out in 2017, followed by On the Right TrackOn the Same PageUp on Horseshoe HillStarting from Scratch and Clouds on the Horizon as well as a novella, The Six Rules of Christmas. Penelope enjoys riding horses, exploring the Australian countryside and dreaming up challenging hiking adventures. Nothing makes her happier as a writer than readers falling in love with her clever, complex and adventurous heroines and heroes. She loves to hear from readers, and can be contacted at

Don’t miss Sunshine Through The Rain

For readers of Karly Lane, Fleur McDonald, Maya Linnell and Rachael Johns – a heartfelt and fresh rural romance about trust, hope and finding your place in life from an award winning and much loved author.

Country vet Primrose Cartwright knows more about heartache than most but in the close-knit community of Ballimore, she’s found a place to call home. Prim has her work and the love of her sisters, and she doesn’t need anything else – certainly not Blake Sinclair.

The new vet in town, Scotsman Blake has a love-them-and-leave-them reputation. He is curiously protective of Prim, but his privileged upbringing and jet-set life are nothing like her own. Prim has tried – and failed – at the dating game. Even if there’s a burning attraction between them, the last man she could ever trust is Blake.

Blake finds Prim fiercely independent, vulnerable, and unlike any other woman he has ever known. But Prim won’t tell him her secrets unless he tells her his own, and Blake’s pain is buried deep.

Will Prim’s determination to unravel the mystery that threatens her career bring Prim and Blake together or tear them apart? As the storm clouds gather, can Prim and Blake confront their painful pasts and create a future together? Will they find the sunshine through the rain?

Get the book here

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