Forget Valentine's Day, Let's Celebrate International Book Day Instead!

Illustration by Gus Gordon. Courtesy of Facebook

Illustration by Gus Gordon. Courtesy of Facebook


If you're like me and find Valentine's day too emotionally fraught, not to mention filled with tons of weird heteronormative and patriarchal assumptions, you might be ready to take a break from it. That being said, it's also pretty sucky not having the only holiday in the pile of suck that is February to look forward to.

With all of that in mind, we're thinking that this February 14th, you might try International Book-Giving Day (yes a totally real holiday I didn't make up) on for size. It's basically the perfect alternative to all that pressure and chocolate; instead of worrying about who you may or may not be dating and what expensive restaurant to procure reservations at, you get to give and receive books! What's better than you and your buds heading down to the pub to exchange gifts of bounded paper and discuss the wonders of books, books and more books. Over beers. 

Books'n'beers—that's how we should rebrand February 14th.

Still looking to shower your pals with more literary love? Here's a guide to awesome book-adjacent gifts. A word of warning: you will probably want to buy everything on this list. BEWARE THE POWER OF AWESOME BOOKS.

1. Literature Is My Boyfriend pendant

Tired of people asking you when you're going to settle down and find a nice man? Tell them you're already married to your stacks and stacks of perfect books. Sure they might not do the dishes, but hey they're also never going to accidentally get you pregnant. 

Buy it here on ModCloth


2. Hamlet messenger bag

To wear or not to wear, that is the question
—Whether tis nobler in the mind to suffer 
The slings and arrows of outrageous fortune 
Or to take arms against a sea of boring bags 
And, by opposing, end them.

Buy it here on Etsy

4. Expecto Patronum long-sleeve shirt

“After all this time?” “Always.” Cue sobbing forever.

Buy it here on Etsy



5. Narnia throw pillow

Now every couch-lounging experience can include a magical journey to a faraway land where animals talk, trees have spirits and a Christ-like lion will sometimes let you ride on his back.

Buy it here on Etsy

6. Baby Got Book tote

Because you like big books and you cannot lie. Those other brothers can't deny. When a book shows up with tiny font size and a thick body in your face YOU MUST READ IT.

Buy it here on ModCloth


7. Game of Thrones-inspired Dragon Ear Cuff

Channel your inner Mother of Dragons with this amazing sterling silver ear cuff. WHO'S THE KHALEESI NOW, JERKS?

Buy it here on Etsy


8. The Book Was Better t-shirt

Because you know you can't help saying it every single damn time someone talks about a book based on a movie. So why not just cut out the middle man – your smarmy mouth – and plaster your favourite words to your chest. You know you want to, because you're not wrong. THE BOOK IS ALWAYS BETTER.

Buy it here on Etsy


9. Eleanor & Park earrings

If you have not yet read this book I strongly advise you to go out and purchase it immediately. Calling it perfect is not an overstatement; it is simply the truth.

Buy them here on Etsy


10. Franny & Zooey print

I actually cannot imagine an image that more perfectly suits the book Franny & Zooey than this one. BLOOMERG!

Buy it here on Etsy


11. Secret Garden scarf

This is one of the nicest, most body-positive books I have ever read. Mary's happiness is completely equated with her weight gain, and it's pretty wonderful. And let's not forget the fabulosity that is DICKON. He basically has a travelling animal show! If he were a real person, you better bet we would hang out all day just so that I could cuddle his lamb and feed corn to his raven.

I'm also totally here for Mary being a cranky asshole. I love how she just doesn't give a fuck, and when she wants something done, she gets shit done. MARY. I aspire to be more like you in almost every way, except for your gross racism against Indian people.

Buy it here on Etsy

12. Please Go Away I'm Introverting Today mug

One of my ultimate pet peeves is people who can't take a hint and continue pestering me even after I've tried every which way to ignore them. But with this mug I could just take a long, slow sip of my coffee while glaring at them over the rim and they would immediately know what's what. 

I basically just need an array of accessories that tell people to fuck off and leave me alone.

Buy it here on Etsy

13. Jane Eyre “I am no bird” shirt

Jane made some controversial choices (like marrying a dude who lies to her a LOT and generally treats her pretty abominably), but one thing we can all get behind is how strongly she believed in her own free will and personhood. This quote perfectly encapsulates all of that.


Buy it here on Etsy

14. “The Nature of This Flower is to Bloom” locket

This quote from Alice Walker's poem "Revolutionary Petunias" is definitely on the list of top ten gorgeous things you can wear around your neck.

Buy it here on Etsy


15. “Wilde About Reading” t-shirt

In conjunction with this magnificent shirt, may I refer you to The Toast's perfect Lord Alfred Douglas, Dirtbag.

Buy it here on Etsy


16. Matilda lamp shade


If Matilda started a gang, I would be in her gang. If Matilda wanted me to set her terrible parents on fire, I would set them on fire. If Matilda told me to jump off a cliff, I would. THAT'S HOW MUCH I LOVE MATILDA.

Buy it here on Etsy

17. Mists of Avalon-inspired “Lady of the Lake” necklace

Remember how Vivienne was kind of a jerk? Like, she was really nice and was the mother Morgaine never had, but then also unapolagetically orchestrated Morgaine sleeping with her brother? But then later Morgaine became the Lady of the Lake! And now you can celebrate that fact with this awesome necklace.

Real talk: every day I think about how I wish I lived in Avalon. I want a knife and a tattoo of a moon and a hill with sacred stones on top of it and all those delicious apples and no dudes within shouting distance and and and.

Buy it here on Etsy

18. “I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings” bracelet

Just think about how wonderfully empowering it would be to wear a Maya Angelou quote on your wrist. IMAGINE. And then buy this bracelet to make the fantasy come true.

Buy it here on Etsy


19. Anne of Green Gables “Life Isn't Worth Living Without Puffed Sleeves” print

I chose this image because I have a long and complicated relationship with puffed sleeves. You see, up until I was about eleven, my go-to fancy look was my stack of dresses that would not have looked out of place on Chloë Sevigny's character in Big Love. At one point my mother was sewing me a dress with huge sleeves and I was all MAKE THEM BIGGER. So she did. The result was sleeves that were bigger than my head.

All that is to say: I FEEL YOU, ANNE SHIRLEY.

Buy it here on Etsy

20. “Nevermore” tea for one mug and pot set

Perfect for when you feel like adding a little bleakness to your afternoon tea.

Buy it here on Etsy


21. Sandman's The Endless hand screened tote

Because graphic novels are literature, too.

Step out with this gorgeous tote that features Destiny, Death, Destruction, Despair, Delirium, Desire and Death. Use it as a change to teach a whole new generation of kids about the magic of The Endless. Remember that time you were a teenager and you thought Dream would be a good boyfriend?? Aren't you stoked when you think about how far you've come since then? You should be. Also, remember the handful of issues where they drew Delirium to look like Tori Amos? FUCK YEAH THE NINETIES.

Buy it here on Etsy

22. Zora Neale Hurston blazer

I literally cannot think of an outfit that would not be improved by this blazer. LITERALLY.

Buy it here on Etsy

23. Tony Kushner poster

This is the perfect poster to hang above your desk, especially if you consider yourself to be any type of writer.

LET THE WIRES SHOW. As Muriel Duckworth would say, if a job's worth doing, it's worth doing badly. Perfection is the enemy of good, and Tony Kushner is the enemy of plays that don't reduce you to an awe-struck pile of tears.

Buy it here on Etsy

24. Anaïs Nin-inspired Vintage Typewriter skirt

Wear this skirt and imagine you are a babely French writer penning your own poetry-laced erotica. Pretend you have a hot date later with Henry and/or June Miller; mentally plan out your evening of lounging in Paris cafes and walking along the banks of the Seine. 

Or maybe just remember the weirdly comforting clack of typewriters. You do you, gentle reader.

Buy it here on Etsy

25. Floor Plan of 221B Baker Street 

If there's one thing better than a good old floor plan, it's a floor plan of Sherlock and Watson's sweet, sweet apartment.

Buy it here on Etsy

26. Library Checkout Card tote

Remember the thrill of watching the librarian stamp systematically going through your stack of books and stamping each card before sliding it back into its flat paper pouch? Remember the magic of poring over the cards later to see who had previously signed it out and when? Carry this sweet little tote around every time you want to enter the NOSTALGIA ZONE. 

Side effects of the nostalgia zone may include: saying “back in my day” with an alarming frequency, a fantastical mis-remembering of your childhood as a wonderful time when nothing bad happened ever, and feeling a strange urge to use a rotary phone.

Buy it here at Out of Print

27. Law Offices of Atticus Finch t-shirt

Wear this shirt and pretend you're a law student articling with Atticus Finch. After work, you'll go play ball with Jem and Scout and tell Aunt Alexandra to shut up already. 


Buy it here on Etsy

28. “This Is the Way the World Ends” T.S. Eliot print

Remember when your high school English teacher introduced you to T.S. Eliot and you were like YAWN BORING and then when you actually read his poems you were all HOLY SHIT THIS GUY IS THE MASTER OF BLEAK ENNUI. Now you can relive that moment every day with this print of a grinning skull barfing up some of the grimmest text you've ever read.

Buy it here on Etsy

29. “I Party With Jay Gatsby” sweatshirt

Tippling champagne and watching flappers dance while you exchange bon mots with the upper tiers of society are all obviously things you want to advertise. Shrug your way into this comfy sweatshirt and let everyone around you know just how cool (and literary!) you are.  This will be your first step on a path that leads you to having hot ladies show up at your house to weep over what beautiful shirts you have. Buy it here on Etsy

30. Ladies of Literature t-shirt


Buy it here on Etsy

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