Pimp That Kindle, and Other Gift Ideas for Book Lovers

Gifting books and their accessories

Honestly, the rise of e-readers makes our soul hurt, but that doesn't change the fact that key individuals on our holiday gift-buying list are Kindle converts. So what to get that very special futurist in the family?

The Kindle store has a wide variety of accessories, including some luxury leather carriers (label whores will want to beeline for the Cole Haan designer line), clip-on lights, and protective skins. GelaSkins even makes a model designed to look like a shelf lined with books, while Kate Spade's cover for Barnes & Noble new Nook is an abstract of library stacks. Oh, cruel irony.

For them's on your list still clinging to dead trees, Random House's Everyman's Library traffics in stately hardcovers of more than 500 classic titles. Go whole hog and buy The Everyman's 100 – including Virgil's Aenid, Atwood's The Handmaid's Tale, Machiavelli's The Prince, and 97 other lit hits – for $2230.95.

And while we're on the subject of judging a book by its cover – or at least, purchasing it for its pleasing aesthetics – you should absolutely check out the new Penguin Classics Deluxe Editions with commissioned covers from great contemporary graphic artists. (See the picture gallery for Tony Millionaire's Moby Dick, Lilli Carré's The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, and Ruben Toledo's Pride and Prejudice.)

Now if you've gone to all that effort to read the classics, shouldn't there be some way to telegraph to others your accomplishment? Some badge of honor? A public display of your booky bonafides? Sure you can – it's called the Novel-T, a line of literary in-joke baseball shirts. The "Word Series" includes a big fat A on the Hester Prynne and a black raven for E.A. Poe. Our favorite is for Bartleby the Scrivener, who we're pretty sure would prefer not to go up to bat at all (see photo gallery).

In this week's issue, we review a half-dozen new coffeetable books, but we've got another two-dozen we couldn't get to. (Coffeetable books are big, y'all. We're flipping pages as fast as we can.) Landscape enthusiasts will dig UT Press' Big River, Rio Grande ($39.95), a collection of stunning color photographs by Laurence Parent with text by David Baxter, and interior design fans will swoon for Rizzoli's very handsome Ranches of the American West ($65), which devotes 50 plus pages to Texas homesteads like Star Creek Ranch and Cibolo Creek Ranch. Fake-history buffs will have a lot of fun with The Onion's retrospective Our Front Pages: 21 Years of Greatness, Virtue, and Moral Rectitude From America's Finest News Source ($28). And we're certain someone on your list will heart The Glory of Angels (Collins Design, $35), a plus-sized "inspirational keepsake," but we couldn't find anyone on our staff (godless heathens, the lot) interested in taking it home to review. Gorgeous art reproductions, though.

Most coffeetable books are a major investment – personally, we like to think cheaper and renewable (no, not the green kind). So why not get that someone special a magazine subscription? You could go classy with UK-based Granta Magazine (especially if you toss in their elegant, cloth-bound 2010 dayplanner), or you could go downhome with the keeps-on-tickin' Southern culture mag, The Oxford American.

Better yet, go local: For $30, you can order someone four issues of Austin-based literary magazine American Short Fiction – and that's a guaranteed four times a year that your gift recipient will be reminded you once did them a kindness.

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Gift ideas, Kindle, Nook, Kate Spade, GelaSkins, Tony Millionaire, Lilli Carré, Ruben Toledo, Novel-T, Ranches of the American West, Big River, Rio Grande, Laurence Parent, Davind Baxter, The Glory of Angels, American Short Fiction, Granta, Oxford American, gift guide 2009

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