10 BOOKISH VALENTINES FOR YOUR FAVORITE NON-FICTIONAL CHARACTER
Valentine’s Day is here, and whether you’re romantically involved or not, I think we can all agree that bookish Valentines make the best Valentines. Here are ten great cards and greetings (some downloadable for you procrastinators out there!) to give to your favorite non-fictional character. Or fictional character. We don’t judge.
If you’ve ever wanted to try Butterbeer or meet a friend for a Jane Austen–inspired high tea, we recommend checking out these delightfully delicious book themed restaurants. Each place on this list features bookish elements in both design and menu, from dishes named after characters to foods actually described in your favorite books. These dining establishments are perfect for readers who have been tempted by literary cookbooks in the past, but aren’t quite confident enough to make these dishes themselves!
As one of the world’s most beloved authors, it’s no wonder that Jane Austen has an entire restaurant dedicated to her novels. This tea room, situated in Melbourne, Australia, offers an elegant high tea with sandwiches and sweets as well as dishes like “Mrs. Bennet’s Raisin Toast,” named for Elizabeth’s meddling mother in Austen’s Pride and Prejudice. Just looking to grab dessert? No problem! The menu also offers a nice little selection for Emma fans with “Lady Emma Woodhouse’s Desserts and Treats.” Charming and sophisticated, you’ll feel like you’re having tea with Mr. Darcy!
This one is a little tricky as you can only get access with a ticket to Universal Studios’s Islands of Adventure, but if you’re headed to the theme park anyway, then Hogsmeade is definitely worth your time! Detailed and elaborate, Universal’s Hogsmeade is designed to look like the village in J.K. Rowling’sHarry Potter series. It includes all kinds of treats sure to please the wizard in your life. You can swing by Hog’s Head for a Butterbeer or stop at the Three Broomsticks for a feast. (There’s also a Three Broomsticks at Universal Studios’s Hollywood location.)
The Lovecraft Bar might be named after famed science fiction writer H.P. Lovecraft, but general horror fans will also get a kick out of this spooky spot! The bar and nightclub embraces the macabre, drawing inspiration from classic books and movies. It’s definitely not a sit-down place, but the bar’s got a great bizarre-o vibe. It also features some fun cocktails like “Los Vampiros” and the “Sleepy Hollow” (named after Washington Irving‘s iconic short story of the same name).
This restaurant, inspired by Lewis Caroll‘s Alice in Wonderland, is perhaps one of the most visually stunning places on our list. The decor is incredibly lush, complete with teacup booths and playing card tables. The hostess is even dressed like the Mad Hatter! While Alice in a Labyrinth does charge an entry fee just for going inside, we think it’s worth it for the decor alone!
If you’re looking for more of a library feel, we recommend this Irish pub. Not only is the restaurant named after Oscar Wilde, but the layout is also designed to give guests the sense of sitting by the fireplace in a comfortable library. The menus feature select quotes from the maestro himself and there is a portrait of Wilde framed above the fireplace.
There’s plenty to do at Brooklyn’s comic book-themed restaurant and bar, where you can eat like a “hero” or a “villain.” Board games are available for visitors to rent, plus the bar has videogames set up near the tables and a number of impressive pinball machines.
Established in 1970, Gulliver’s Restaurant is set up to feel much older. The interior is styled to mirror 18th-century England, the time period in which Jonathan Swift first published Gulliver’s Travels. The dishes are quintessentially British too, with “Gulliver’s Prime Cut” slow-roasted beef, Yorkshire Pudding, and a scrumptious English trifle complete with berries and Devonshire cream. Cozy and classic, Gulliver’s is definitely one to check out if you’re in the area!
Decorated in the spirit of 19th-century elegance, Onegin is a culinary tribute to Alexander Pushkin. In fact, the name of the restaurant comes from the novel, Eugene Onegin. The Russian cuisine here is served in a setting reminiscent of old St. Petersburg. With such a rich design and decadent menus, Onegin is perhaps the fanciest establishment on our list.
The Shire is a cool visit for anyone who loves J.R.R. Tolkein. This Lord of the Rings–inspired pub features live music every Sunday and drinks named after some of Tolkein’s most popular characters. The Shire has a fun Middle Earth vibe — the passageway to the bar area is even a hobbit hole! If you need a place to stay nearby, you can check into The Sugan Hostel located within the pub.
Ever since HBO adapted George R.R. Martin‘s Song of Ice and Fire series for the small screen, it’s hard to find someone who isn’t obsessed with Game of Thrones. Finding a Game of Thrones eatery, however, is another matter. Fortunately, there’s The Westeros in New Dehli. The walls are adorned with all kinds of Game of Thrones paraphernalia, including the Iron Throne, and the bar even hosts viewing parties!
The great Marie Kondo War on Books seems to be simmering down. While some book lovers have moved all their books into a steel and concrete safe room just in case Marie Kondo kicks down their door to seize their most beloved books from their hands and throw them into her flaming wood chipper, many more people agree with herexceedingly gentle actual approach.
Thousands of people now have boxes of books that have served their purpose or were never wanted in the first place and are wondering what’s next. While Rioter Abby has some great ideas for what to do with those books, you may find you want them out of your house ASAP. The best and fastest way to do this is to donate them. I’m an avid reader, an author, and a library employee, so I say this from the bottom of my bibliophile heart:
Some books don’t deserve to be donated.
I chatted with the manager of my library’s used bookstore to find out what kinds of donations are more a burden than a gift. Our books store is sizable and moves quite a bit of inventory, but there are still books they can’t sell. Keep in mind that these items will change depending on the organizations needs and resources, so check with your intended beneficiary before proceeding.
Obsolete nonfiction books are the biggest culprit. This includes guides for software no longer in use, cookbooks relying on old technology (think 1970s microwave cookbooks), out-of-date information, disproved theories, out-of-use textbooks, and encyclopedias.
Books that are damaged in any way: water stains, mold, tears, or marks on the pages. If there is any chance your books might have bed bugs, please don’t bring those near the library — those little creatures can infect everything else in the building! Books with strong smells, like those kept in the house with a cigarette smoker or smelly animals, will be disposed of before they can transfer their odor to nearby books.
Fiction books that everyone has too many of. These books are a victim of their own popularity.
Our bookstore manager did share with me one type of book that she can always sell, no matter its condition. Classic books on school reading lists get snapped up every semester when the hold list gets too long.
If you’ve tried a couple places and no one will take your books, what can you do? Don’t drop them at your library and run, hoping no one will notice. Library workers and volunteers are already over-tasked and under-funded, so please don’t add to the burden. All we can do is recycle or trash it, so you’re simply transferring that responsibility to us. While we’re on the topic, don’t get nasty with them when they say they can’t accept your donation. It’s nothing personal, we promise.
It’s okay to recycle truly unwanted books.
I know it’s painful. If it helps, “each ton of paper recycled saves 3 cubic yards of landfill space, 380 gallons of oil and 17 trees, not to mention 4,000 kilowatts of energy and 7,000 gallons of water.” (source) Your recycled books could become new books or the box that delivers your new books!
To bring it back to Marie Kondo, one of her methods from The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up had a profound impact on my ability to remove unwanted objects from my life. When I first read that she wanted me to thank items for their time and service, I thought that was a little too wacky for my tastes. I’m pretty sure I literally rolled my eyes. But then I tried it. It’s amazing how much guilt and shame that simple, silly act assuaged for me. Try it!
Make sure to look up your local recycling policies. With their binding and glue, books are mixed materials so the recycling process is different. You may not be able to toss them in with other paper recyclables, but you might be able to drop them off at a local recycling center instead. Paperbacks can be recycled as-is, but hardcovers must be removed before being sent to recycling. Books with moldy pages cannot be recycled, but must be tossed in the trash before they can spread their mold to other books.
If a book cannot be reused or given new life in some other way, it’s perfectly okay to recycle it.
The holiday season is officially underway, and you know what that means—it’s almost time to start wrapping presents. To make the process a little less painful, I usually combine the activity with two of my favorite things: wine (so I don’t spiral into a procrastination-induced panic), and festive music. But this year, I’m stepping up my gift wrapping with another item: adorable bookish wrapping paper.
There’s no better way to make your presents look great (and make the act of wrapping presents more fun) than to use some stylish wrapping paper. And although I like snowman-patterned or red, green, and gold paper as much as the next person, this literary-themed paper just speaks to my book-lovin’ heart. Plus, it’s perfect for any gifts to fellow readers, whether that be friends, family, or members of your book club.
The one catch: This specialty book wrapping paper isn’t as readily available at local pharmacies as the conventional kind. So where can you find it? Read on for some cute and festive options!
Zazzle has some great choices, including this two-toned “Once Upon a Time” gift wrap that will appeal to any fairy tale fans.
The Literary Gift Company is also a great site to scour for bookish items, for obvious reasons. It has a lot of festive wrapping paper perfect for avid readers, but my personal favorite is this one featuring various vintage typewriters:
Have any superhero fans in your life? Wrap their gifts with this wrapping paper that pays homage to some classic comic book sayings, from PartyEleganza on Etsy:
Prefer to stick to solid-colored wrapping paper? No problem—you can add a little bookish magic with this tape from Etsy’s ColourSplashSupplies store:
Last but not least, you can simply download this printable Word Search paper from Something Turquoise. The best part? It’s customizable, so you can include the gift recipient’s name or any other words you wish to feature.
Trying to find the perfect gift for a book lover can be tricky. After all, the most perfect gift is a book, but which book? Almost as good, however, is some sort of bookish gear, and there are lots of options out there! This list of great gifts for book lovers (that aren’t books) will give you a place to start your shopping.
GREAT GIFTS FOR BOOK LOVERS THAT ARE UNDER $10
Book Fan. This paper fan looks like the edge of a hardcover book when closed and opens up to reveal vintage book pages and images.
Book Keychain. This keychain that looks like a tiny book will ensure your book lover can always have a book with them (even if they can’t read it).
A Classic Book Cover Tote Bag. Pick out a tote bag with a vintage book cover (any many other designs) from Out of Print books. (Out of Print also has T-shirts, mugs, and much more.) Or check out these bookish totes.
Olde Book Backpack. This cute backpack let readers carry their books in a book. (And it looks a little like a TARDIS, a bonus for Doctor Whofans.)
Ideal Bookshelf Custom Print. Artist Jane Mount will create a custom print of a reader’s favorite books. Ideal Bookshelf also offers pre-made prints, mugs, and shirts with bookshelves of specific book series, genres, and themes.
Book Wreath. This pretty wreath is a nice adornment for any book lovers’ door (as long as they don’t mind art made from book pages).
Barn Bookcase. This whimsical bookcase is a fun addition to a young reader’s room
Custom Onesie. Add a favorite quote to this onesie for the future reader in your life. Literatee also has T-shirts and other gear for adults and kids.
Storybook Baby Hat. A section from Alice in Wonderland adorns this sweet hat for newborns. You can also choose from Black Beauty, Peter Pan, and other classics. Or you can choose a Storiarts scarf, T-shirt, or tote for adults.