Columns > Published on December 16th, 2011

Buying Guide: How To Shop For A Writer This Holiday Season

The gift-giving season is upon us! If you're not done shopping yet, and you've got a writer in your life, we're here to help! 

Here's a list of gifts that any writer would love. They come in a variety of price ranges, to compensate for how wealthy/cheap you may be, but most importantly, they are thoughtful, useful gifts that any writer would appreciate. (For example, I am a writer, and I would appreciate anything on this list. So there's your proof!)

Cheap (but still cool) gifts

Moleskine notebooks

These are the hardest of the hardcore when it comes to notebooks, a thing I'm constantly buying, and a gift I'd love to receive since I need a new one every few months. Pro-tip: If the receiver has a preference, try to find out what it is. Moleskine's come in a wide variety of shapes and styles.

[amazon 8883701135 inline]

 

Good pens

Writers get excited about pens (weirdos), which means this is a cheap-o gift that actually carries some real weight. Extra points if you do a little snooping and find out exactly what kind of pen they prefer. For example, I heart Uni-Ball Vision Stick Roller Ball Pens, fine point, in black. 

[amazon B00006IE8J inline]

 

Gift cards

A Staples gift card will let me buy all the supplies I've convinced myself I need, and will never use, but will be happy to have. A Starbucks gift card will be exciting for people who write at Starbucks. A bookstore gift card is just always a very awesome gift. 

[amazon BT00CTP93I inline]

 

A pound of good coffee

To a writer, a pound of coffee is like a pound of heroin to a junkie. We thrive on this stuff. So it makes a very thoughtful and practical gift! Just don't get Starbucks, which tastes like burnt dirt. Spring for something nice. Yes, there is a difference. 

[amazon B002Z613JO inline]

 

Literary clothing

We are all nerds at heart, and nerds wear shirts like this. What better way to say that you're well-read than to wear A Clockwork Orange on your chest? They come with an added bonus: The feeling of superiority you get every time someone asks, 'What does that shirt mean?'

Visit Out of Print Clothing!

 

Mid-range (but incredibly useful) gifts

eReader

You can buy an ad-supported Kindle for $79 (and there are even hacks to get rid of the ads). This is for your writer friend who hasn't made the digital plunge. The Kindle is a solid piece of hardware, easy to operate, and this model is almost approaching "impulse buy" territory. They won't even feel bad if they break it!

[amazon B0051QVESA inline]

 

Postertext

This a poster on which there is the entire text of a classic novel. I repeat: THIS IS A POSTER ON WHICH THERE IS THE ENTIRE TEXT OF A FREAKING NOVEL. Over at Postertext you can choose from such gems as The Great Gatsby, Moby Dick and, as pictured here, Crime and Punishment.

Visit Postertext!

 

Literary magazine subscription

This will remind them of you every time a new issue shows up. This is another instance where it doesn't hurt to do some snooping to find out what they're into--I would swoon over a subscription to a crime fiction mag. 

Here's a link to a lot of great literary magazines!

 

IdeaPaint

This turns a section of your wall into a dry-erase board. And it is snazzy. Just be careful about the fumes. This stuff reeks, and five minutes into painting, a dinosaur in a Batman costume showed up in my office. Awkward

Learn more about IdeaPaint!

 

Nice bottle of booze

This only works if your intended target is a drinker. But if they're a writer, they probably are! Expensive booze makes us feel fancy as we're sitting in our boxers at 3 a.m., dotting the latest draft of our novel with tears of frustration. I'll take a cask-strength Thomas H. Handy Sazerac Straight Rye Whiskey.

[amazon B006KIAMHC inline]

 

Expensive (but awesome) gifts

Awesome coffee maker

A coffee maker with a built-in grinder and a timer is probably one of the coolest things a coffee drinker can get. Having a delicious pot of coffee ready when you wake up? You can't buy that kind of love. Unless you buy this coffee maker, in which case you just did. 

[amazon B000T9XPHC inline]

 

Noise-cancelling headphones

Great for blocking out external noise so you can concentrate. Also great for flying (on planes). Noise-cancelling headphones can be pretty expensive, but I swear by this model: JVC HANC250. They're not terribly expensive, they sound great, and I've had them for about five years without a glitch.

[amazon B000U07C1U inline]

 

iPad with wireless keyboard

It's slim, easy to carry, and if you're just going to be drafting out some work, you can hook up the keyboard, go to town, and stow it away when you're not using it. I fell in love with my iPad all over again while traveling through Europe for two weeks. Not as powerful as a laptop, but it doesn't need to be.

[amazon B0047DVWLW inline]

 

Firing range session

Yes, you heard me. It's great research. Any writer who's going to write about guns should fire one at least once. Plus, firing an AR-15 assault rifle at a zombie target is great for blowing off steam, especially when the rejection letters pile up! (Be prepared to spend a few hundred bucks, and for it to be very worth it).

Here's a guide to gun safety so you can't sue us!

 

Adjustable height desk

Apparently sitting too long will kill you. And who sits longer than writers? I know I can't sit for too long before I get antsy and have to stand up. An adjustable-height desk will switch back and forth with ease, so you can keep working if you feel the need to stretch out a little.

Visit GeekDesk!

 

About the author

Rob Hart is the class director at LitReactor. His latest novel, The Paradox Hotel, will be released on Feb. 22 by Ballantine. He also wrote The Warehouse, which sold in more than 20 languages and was optioned for film by Ron Howard. Other titles include the Ash McKenna crime series, the short story collection Take-Out, and Scott Free with James Patterson. Find more at www.robwhart.com

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