20 Brilliant Items Every Book Lover Will Want

RASCH via Amazon
RASCH via Amazon

For true bibliophiles, every day is book lover's day. But once a year, on August 9th, Book Lovers Day (capitalized) encourages readers of every level of voraciousness to unplug their smartphones and relax with a good book. If you want to show your undying dedication to the written word, you can take your celebration one step further by filling your favorite reading nook with the scent of an old book, a cup of book-themed tea, and dozens of other amazing products that every book fiend will love.

1. 1,000 Books to Read Before You Die: A Life-Changing List; $22

Workman Publishing Company via Amazon

Think you've read every great book there is to read? James Mustich, a veteran bookseller and author of 1,000 Books to Read Before You Die: A Life-Changing List, might disagree. While his long, long list includes children's classics like Goodnight Moon and sci-fi comedies like The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy, there are also some unexpected gems in there. And if you endeavor to read just one suggested title per month, you've got your next 83-plus years of reading all planned out. (If you'd rather digest the book in bite-sized segments, there's also a page-a-day calendar version.)

Buy it: Amazon

2. 100 Essential Novels Scratch-off Chart; $35 to $130

Pop Chart

Once you've started to make a dent in James Mustich's list of books, you'll want to show off your progress—whether people ask about it or not. Pop Chart's scratch-off poster lets your keep track of which classic novels you've read, with a total of 100 titles featured.

Buy it: Pop Chart

3. Old Books Candle; $22

Frostbeard Studio via Amazon

Want to set the mood for a totally old-school reading experience? Minneapolis-based candlemaker Frostbeard Studio uses soy wax to re-create the delicious smell of old books (“the sweet, papery sort,” according to the company, not the mildewy ones). With scents of paper, dust, newsprint, and vanilla, the handmade candle is all the things we love about aging books—minus the allergens.

Buy it: Amazon

4. Charles Dickens Library Candles; $12

Paddywax

Not a fan of the smell of old books? Take a big whiff of Charles Dicken, the bard of the dark and gloomy streets of foggy, 19th-century London, who gave us such dreary high school English class staples as Great Expectations and Oliver Twist. But like the scrappy street urchin protagonist of the latter, you’ll be asking for some more, please, when you experience the scent of this Dickens-inspired candle. Made of fragrant notes of tangerine, juniper, and clove, the only thing that could make this more authentic would be some chimney sweep soot under your nose.

Buy it: Paddywax

5. Literary Book Bags; $105 to $165

KrukruStudioBooks via Etsy

KrukruStudioBooks's totes give the phrase book bag an entirely new meaning. Each purse is designed to look like a classic novel, complete with the author's name and illustrated cover art. Choose whether you'd prefer your bag to be crafted from faux or authentic leather, and then just pick your favorite book: Pride and Prejudice, Madame Bovary, Hamlet, The Little Prince, and Lolita are among the many titles they offer. And since each bag is produced by hand, you can custom order them in a variety of sizes, colors, and styles.

Buy it: Etsy

6. Bookmark Necklace; $100

Uncommon Goods

Is it a necklace? Is it a bookmark? Why can't it be both? Uncommon Goods' intricately patterned sterling silver necklace works with almost any outfit as a piece of jewelry; take it off and it becomes a charming bookmark to help save your place.

Buy it: Uncommon Goods

7. Foldable Book Lamp; $28

BOSQUEEN via Amazon

When it's closed, BOSQUEEN's book lamp looks like your average book. But open it up and it becomes a book-style lantern with a gentle LED glow and its own USB port. It's foldable and portable, too, which makes it easy to place it wherever you want.

Buy it: Amazon

8. Novel Teas; $14

Novel Teas via Amazon

There are few things cozier than grabbing a hot cup of tea and curling up on the couch with a great book. You can keep the literary theme going with Novel Teas, boxes of English breakfast tea that feature quotes from famous authors on each tea bag.

Buy it: Amazon

9. Library Card Mug; $12

Out of Print via Amazon

While, for the most part, printed library cards have gone the way of the card catalog, Out of Print remembers the days of learning the Dewey Decimal system with this nostalgia-driven library card mug.

Buy it: Amazon

10. Edgar Allan Poe Scarf; $32

Out of Print via Amazon

Edgar Allan Poe's mug is unmistakable, so why not stun—and hopefully delight—some people with Poe in scarf form? Out of Print’s teal Poe-ka dot scarf is lightweight, and is made from 80 percent cotton and 20 percent silk. Because it’s hand-dyed and hand-printed, it will need to be dry-cleaned, which seems a fair tradeoff for all the compliments you're sure to get.

Buy it: Amazon

11. Banned Books iPhone Case; $36

Society6

Show your support of unsavory books (even if they are often banned for ridiculous reasons) with one of three simple black-and-white “I read banned books” phone cases from Society6. The cases are compatible with iPhone and Android. Sleek is more for appearances, whereas Tough Case insures less damage and Adventurous protects against worst-case scenarios. Besides protecting your phone, the case also works as a conversation starter.

Buy it: Society6

12. Bram Stoker Dracula Tote; $25

Society6

Dracula scribe Bram Stoker should be remembered for his gothic stories—and for being fashionable. Society6’s hand-sewn tote bag features a yellow rose, pink bow, and Stoker’s portrait preserved in a cameo; the tote comes in three different sizes.

Buy it: Society6

13. Knock Knock Personal Library Kit; $13

Knock Knock via Amazon

While sharing a treasured book with a friend, family member, or colleague is one of the greatest joys a true bibliophile can experience, there's always that tiny matter of making sure said book gets returned. Even if your personal book collection doesn't come close to rivaling the New York Public Library's, this library kit will ensure that you always know who borrowed your first edition copy of The Great Gatbsy last.

Buy it: Amazon

14. Pacheco coffee table with storage; $590

17 Stories' Pacheco Coffee Table looks like a fancier version of a now-vintage library card catalog file. The veneer finish is composed of distressed fir and birch, and dark metal legs support the table, which is a spacious 4 feet long. Three drawers open to a lot of storage instead of individual catalogs, making it perfect for storing ... well, books for one.

Buy it: Wayfair

15. Bibliophilia: 100 Literary Postcards; $16

Obvious State Studio via Amazon

While postcards may most often be associated with travel, books have their own way of taking you places. This collection of 100 postcards features 50 of the most powerful quotes in literary history, so that you can let your favorite author—be it Virginia Woolf or Oscar Wilde—do the talking.

Buy it: Amazon

16. Library Books Wallpaper; $27

RASCH Limited via Amazon

You don't have to have an additional 1000 square feet of home to create your own personal library. Fake it in any sized space with this library-themed wallpaper, which makes any room feel like your own personal reading nook.

Buy it: Amazon

17. Literary Mugs; $16

Uncommon Goods

Uncommon Goods has immortalized Jane Austen, Lewis Carroll, the Brontë sisters, and Edgar Allan Poe by giving them their own stoneware mugs. Quotes from their works surround images of the novelists, from Austen spouting romantic wisdom from Emma (“If I loved you less, I might be able to talk about it more”) to Poe’s “Nevermore” philosophy.

Buy it: Uncommon Goods

18. Why So Ever Bards Dispense Profanity: A Party Game Based on the Works of William Shakespeare; $25

Why So Ever via Amazon

William Shakespeare may be known as the world's greatest writer, but he also had a notorious potty mouth. His plays, sonnets, and other works are filled with all sorts of dirty jokes (which may have gone right over your head), which is why this adults-only game, which is basically the Bard's version of Cards Against Humanity, so apropos.

Buy it: Amazon

19. Pride and Prejudice Writing Gloves; $26

Storiarts

Whether you're reading, writing, or just taking the dog for a walk, you can keep the magical words of Jane Austen (or many of your other favorite writers) close by with these fingerless writing gloves.

Buy it: Storiarts

20. Still I Rise Infinity Scarf; $48

Storiarts

If it's your neck that tends to get chilly, cover it up with the warming words of Maya Angelou's Still I Rise (which you can also pair with some writing gloves). Like the gloves, the scarves—both of which are decked out with the text of Angelou's beloved poem—celebrate a variety of authors, including Shakespeare, Charles Dickens, Kenneth Grahame, and Roald Dahl.

Buy it: Storiarts

14 Retro Gifts for Millennials

Ravi Palwe, Unsplash
Ravi Palwe, Unsplash

Millennials were born between 1981 and 1996, which means the pop culture they grew up with is officially retro. No matter what generation you belong to, consider these gifts when shopping for the Millennials in your life this holiday season.

1. Reptar Funko Pop!; $29

Amazon

This vinyl Reptar figurine from Funko is as cool as anything you’d find in the rugrats’ toy box. The monster dinosaur has been redesigned in classic Pop! style, making it a perfect desk or shelf accessory for the grown-up Nickelodeon fan. It also glows in the dark, which should appeal to anyone’s inner child.

Buy it: Amazon

2. Dragon Ball Z Slippers; $20

Hot Topic

You don’t need to change out of your pajamas to feel like a Super Saiyan. These slippers are emblazoned with the same kanji Goku wears on his gi in Dragon Ball Z: one for training under King Kai and one for training with Master Roshi. And with a soft sherpa lining, the footwear feels as good as it looks.

Buy it: Hot Topic

3. The Pokémon Cookbook; $15

Hop Topic

What do you eat after a long day of training and catching Pokémon? Any dish in The Pokémon Cookbook is a great option. This book features more than 35 recipes inspired by creatures from the Pokémon franchise, including Poké Ball sushi rolls and mashed Meowth potatoes.

Buy it: Hot Topic

4. Lisa Frank Activity Book; $5

Urban Outfitters

Millennials will never be too old for Lisa Frank, especially when the artist’s playful designs come in a relaxing activity book. Watercolor brings the rainbow characters in this collection to life. Just gather some painting supplies and put on a podcast for a relaxing, nostalgia-fueled afternoon.

Buy it: Urban Outfitters

5. Shoebox Tape Recorder with USB; $28

Amazon

The days of recording mix tapes don’t have to be over. This device looks and functions just like tape recorders from the pre-smartphone era. And with a USB port as well as a line-in jack and built-in mic, users can easily import their digital music collection onto retro cassette tapes.

Buy it: Amazon

6. Days of the Week Scrunchie Set; $12

Urban Outfitters

Millennials can be upset that a trend from their youth is old enough to be cool again, or they can embrace it. This scrunchie set is for anyone happy to see the return of the hair accessory. The soft knit ponytail holders come in a set of five—one for each day of the school (or work) week.

Buy it: Urban Outfitters

7. D&D Graphic T-shirt; $38-$48

80s Tees

The perfect gift for the Dungeon Master in your life, this graphic tee is modeled after the cover of the classic Dungeons & Dragons rule book. It’s available in sizes small through 3XL.

Buy it: 80s Tees

8. Chuck E. Cheese T-shirt; $36-$58

80s Tees

Few Millennials survived childhood without experiencing at least one birthday party at Chuck E. Cheese. This retro T-shirt sports the brand’s original name: Chuck E. Cheese’s Pizza Time Theatre. It may be the next-best gift for a Chuck E. Cheese fan behind a decommissioned animatronic.

Buy it: 80s Tees

9. The Nightmare Before Christmas Picnic Blanket Bag; $40

Shop Disney

Fans of Tim Burton’s The Nightmare Before Christmas will recognize the iconic scene on the front of this messenger bag. Unfold it and the bag becomes a blanket fit for a moonlit picnic among the pumpkins. The bottom side is waterproof and the top layer is made of soft fleece.

Buy it: Shop Disney

10. Toy Story Alien Socks; $15

Shop Disney

You don’t need to be skilled at the claw machine to take home a pair of these socks. Decorated with the aliens from Toy Story, they’re made from soft-knit fabric and are big enough to fit adult feet.

Buy it: Shop Disney

11. Goosebumps Board Game; $24

Amazon

Fans that read every book in R.L. Stine’s series growing up can now play the Goosebumps board game. In this game, based on the Goosebumps movie, players take on the role of their favorite monster from the series and race to the typewriter at the end of the trail of manuscripts.

Buy it: Amazon

12. Tamagotchi Mini; $19

Amazon

If you know someone who killed their Tamagotchi in the '90s, give them another chance to show off their digital pet-care skills. This Tamagotchi is a smaller, simplified version of the original game. It doubles as a keychain, so owners have no excuse to forget to feed their pet.

Buy it: Amazon

13. SNES Classic; $275

Amazon

The SNES Classic is much easier to find now than when it first came out, and it's still just as entertaining for retro video game fans. This mini console comes preloaded with 21 Nintendo games, including Super Mario Kart and Street Fighter II.

Buy it: Amazon

14. Planters Cheez Balls; $24

Amazon

Planters revived its Cheez Balls in 2018 after pulling them from shelves nearly a decade earlier. To Millennials unaware of that fact, this gift could be their dream come true. The throwback snack even comes in the classic canister fans remember.

Buy it: Amazon

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From Campaign Slogans to Social Movements, New Book Explores the Role Buttons Have Played Throughout History

Princeton Architectural Press/Amazon
Princeton Architectural Press/Amazon

From their early days on the campaign trail during the 1896 presidential race to their current role as a way of showing support for social causes like the LGBTQIA+ pride movement, pinback buttons have remained one of the most popular ways for people to express their values and beliefs for well over a century. And now, button experts Christen Carter, founder of Chicago’s Busy Beaver Button Company and the Button Museum, and Ted Hake, owner of Hake’s Auctions, have put their extensive knowledge of the subject into the new book Button Power: 125 Years of Saying It With Buttons ($25), a cultural journey showcasing 1500 of the most important and unique pinbacks throughout American history.

“Buttons seem like really a niche thing, but they really are very general,” Carter tells Mental Floss. “They cover so much history, and the history goes deep and wide.”

For the book, Hake and Carter—who both began collecting buttons during their respective childhoods—cover how buttons have been used to communicate messages during their 125-year history, from pinbacks featuring landmark political slogans and anti-war sentiments to others that simply proclaim a person's love of Dallas.

“[Buttons] are little windows on the world, and you can pick an avenue and head down to your heart's content,” Hake tells Mental Floss.

Some of the 20th century's most important moments had a button to go along with them.Princeton Architectural Press/Amazon

One of Hake's favorite buttons in the book doesn't feature a political or social statement—it's just a picture of a buffalo with the words “Eat Me at Bremen, Kans. June 9, 1935” emblazoned across it. But it wasn't just the design that really caught his attention; it was also its backstory.

The button's origins lie within the town of Bremen, Kansas, which, in June 1935, was celebrating both its 50th anniversary and the dedication of a marker for the defunct Oregon Trail, according to Kansas Historical Quarterly. Two weeks before the celebration, 500 townspeople gathered in Bremen to watch a buffalo get slaughtered, which was then shipped to the neighboring town’s ice house for preservation. When the big day finally arrived, the buffalo was shipped back to become the centerpiece of a community-wide feast. The button was made to spread the word for the unique event.

“Here he is on this button, inviting the good folks of Bremen to enjoy him,” Hake says. “So it is a little bit surreal, to tell you the truth.” During his research, Hake recovered this niche historical event that could’ve otherwise been easily lost to history. “At the end of the day, they capped it off with supper, a band concert, and they gave away a baby buffalo calf,” he says.

Buttons have been used to express both support and opposition to the United States's involvement in wars. Princeton Architectural Press/Amazon

While pinback button technology has not changed drastically in the past 125 years, Hake and Carter still consider their golden era to be from 1896 to 1921. “The colors are just unusual and beautiful,” Carter says. “They were able to get fine details that, [even] with digital printing, we can’t do.” Carter also enjoys how buttons were used as a communication device during the punk movement, saying, “They're important identifiers to a counter-culture movement, and they were not afraid to piss people off.”

Though the book covers buttons featuring celebrities, bands, and brands, many of the most popular ones come from the political arena and sports. Hake’s Auction just set the record for the most expensive pinback sold on September 23, 2020, with a 1916 Boston Red Sox World Series button that went for $62,980. “What makes it great is that every team member is on the button and up at 11 o’clock is one Babe Ruth. He was in his second year and was a pitcher back in those days,” Hake explains.

Even though there are buttons like the Babe Ruth ones that sell for thousands of dollars, it's still an accessible hobby for everyone. “You can start your button collection with just $10 and already have a good start. It is a good thing to collect if you don’t have much money or much space,” Carter explains.

The power of the political button eventually became fertile ground for satire in the '70s.Princeton Architectural Press/Amazon

Looking forward to the next 125 years, Carter hopes that buttons can become more eco-friendly by eliminating steel use and replacing it with recycled materials. “They haven’t changed that much in the last 125 years. They are pretty timeless in that way, and they are inexpensive, so whatever keeps them as inexpensive as possible as resources change in the next 100 years, they will probably change."

You can order Button Power: 125 Years of Saying It With Buttons on Amazon or on the Princeton Architectural Press website.

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This article contains affiliate links to products selected by our editors. Mental Floss may receive a commission for purchases made through these links.