10 Books for Your Bibliophile Boyfriend (Or Girlfriend)by Chiara Atik on December 05, 2011
Before you give someone the gift of a book, remember that the most important part is the inscription! In blue or black pen, write the date, and a short note marking the occasion (Christmas/Hanukkah/Kwanzaa/Festivus) and the reason you’re giving them this particular book. Very sweet and romantic!
1. The Marriage Plot, by Jeffrey Eugenides
Look, there’s a slim yet horrible chance your significant other will hate this book. In which case, you’re going to have to break up.
More likely, however, they will love it, and you will love it, and your mutual understanding of relationships and romance and the pursuit of marriage will bring you guys even closer together!
2. The Hunger Games, by Suzanne Collins
Has your significant other been wandering around listlessly ever since the final Harry Potter movie was released this summer? If so, win their everlasting affection by giving them The Hunger Games trilogy – yes, all three at once.
They may be skeptical at first — a Young Adult Series is not exactly the most romantic of Christmas presents. But once they’re halfway through the first, they’ll be eternally grateful that you had the foresight to get them the second and the third book as well. And then you can have long discussions about what you’d do if you were somehow forced to hunt each other in an arena. You can spend all of January coming up with a plan!
3. Ulysses, by James Joyce
If you are dating a diehard bookworm, gifting James Joyce’s Ulysses is the literary equivalent of like, signing up for a couples’ cooking class.
Ulysses is a notoriously difficult book to get through: it is long and dense. Reading groups spend entire years devoting themselves to the text, in the hopes of finishing by June 16th, known as Bloomsday after the novel’s protagonist.
Agreeing to read Ulysses with your partner is like agreeing to train for a half-marathon, or agreeing to back-pack through Europe together: it’s a commitment. Times will get dark: you’ll want to give up, and you’ll be at each other’s throats. But at the end of the day, you’ll come out stronger, and more literate. How could any bibliophile resist?
4. In the Garden of Beasts: Love, Terror, and an American Family in Hitler’s Berlin
Love! Intrigue! Nazis! This non-fiction book has got all the trappings of a great story, and Erik Larson really knows how to bring an era to life. Perfect for your history/Downton Abbey-loving girlfriend, or WWII-obsessed boyfriend.
5. Steve Jobs by Walter Isaacson
Isaacson conducted over 40 interviews with Steve Jobs over the course of 2 years in order to write this 656-page tome on the Apple visionary. Unarguably, it’s the biography of the year.
6. A Visit From the Goon Squad, by Jennifer Egan
The perfect book for the guy or girl who loves to read but never has time to is Jennifer Egan’s book is a short, easy read. (One of the chapters is, like, a power point presentation.) What it lacks in length it makes up for in punch, not to mention klout: the novel won the 2011 Pulitzer Prize for fiction.
7. The Enculturated Gene: Sickle Cell Health Politics and Biological Difference in West Africa, by Duana Fullwiley
Okay, I haven’t read this one. But Junot Diaz, author of The Brief and Wonderous Life of Oscar Wao recommends it, and I take him at his word.
“For the hard-core braniacs, I recommend Duana Fullwiley’s The Enculturated Gene. A vigorously argued, meticulously researched, disturbingly fascinating ethnography about the politics of sickle-cell anemia in contemporary Senegal that lays bare the tragic consequences that international medicine’s disease ideologies have on the developing world.”
So, yeah, not for everyone, but if you happen to be dating a neurophysicist or epidemiologist, they might dig it.
8. Blood, Bones, and Butter, The Inadvertent Education of a Reluctant Chef by Gabrielle Hamilton.
Any foodie boyfriend or girlfriend will enjoy this memoir from Prune’s Gabrielle Hamilton. Even Anthony Bourdain thinks it’s better than Kitchen: Confidential.
“It was of course brilliant. I expected it to be. But I wasn’t prepared for exactly how goddamn brilliant the thing was, or how enchanted, difficult, strange, rich, inspiring and just plain hard her life and career–her long road to Prune–had been. I was unprepared for page after page of such sharp, carefully-crafted, ballistically-precise sentences. I was, frankly, devastated. I put this amazing memoir down and wanted to crawl under the bed, retroactively withdraw every book, every page I’d ever written. And burn them.”
In other words, your partner will enjoy this book to the point of anger. Awesome.
9. A Nice Edition of Their Favorite Book
Unlike getting, say, a DVD duplicate, there’s nothing wrong with receiving a book you already own, especially if it’s a nice edition of a book you love. Penguin of course does beautiful cloth-bound editions of classics that won’t break the bank. More industrious gifters can seek out original prints at local second-hand stores of specialty stores.
10. Your favorite book!
There is something sweet, romantic, and vulnerable about giving a significant other a copy of your favorite book. Reading a book, and knowing that it’s someone’s favorite, can be a surprisingly eye-opening experience: they might understand you in a whole new way. At best, it will become on of their favorites, too, and an important reference point in your relationship.