14 offbeat gifts for writers


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Sure, writers like books. You already know that. With a short shopping window left before the holidays, here is Jacket Copy’s offbeat list of gifts for the writers in your life, full of things, well, you might not have thought of. For instance, the charming typewriter temporary tattoos by artist Julia Rothman, above. ($5 for a set of 2).

I haven’t yet met the writer who doesn’t reach for the backspace key, the modern version of the trusty eraser. Artist Lisa Congdon’s photograph of vintage erasers is available from the art print website 20x200, which sells art prints, framed or unframed, in affordable limited editions. Unframed, an 8x10 print is $20; the largest prints, available in a much smaller run, are $200 ($450 when framed).


Does the writer in your life need an endless supply of coffee? Give them an endless (if modest) supply of fresh beans with the Grow-Your-Own-Coffee Kit from ThinkGeek. The enclosed mini-greenhouse is 9 inches long, 4.5 inches wide and 6 inches high ($10).

To drink that coffee there may be no better mug than the one from The Rumpus that begins with the phrase ‘Write like a....’ I cannot complete it here, but the line was taken from the website’s advice column Ask Sugar. While the language is strong, the sentiment is gentle: the phrase appears on the mug in the shape of a heart. ($13; the mug, with strong language)

The splendid Rewrite Desk from design team GamFratesi creates a serene bubble of mid-century-style serenity for the writer inclined to distraction. The desk, which has been in design showcases, does not yet appear to be produced for consumers. Maybe someday....

This keyboard and mouse are made of eco-friendly bamboo. And they’re not just woodsy, they actually work, with both Windows and Mac. ($60).
For the writer who needs to keep track of the time, a book clock from Uncommon Goods ($24) or a watch that features a photograph of author Jack Kerouac smoking ($12).

Sometimes it’s good to step away from the keyboard and write longhand. These eco-friendly pencils are made from rolled recycled paper and emblazoned with the phrase ‘Write with Moxie.’ As well as being good advice, that’s the company’s name. ($6.25 for 5)

What to write in? Field Notes notebooks are 48 pages, stapled and come with a variety of creative linen covers. Above left, pick a state and get three colored Field Notes notebooks ($10). Right, a journal for the insomniac writer from Chronicle Books includes creative writing prompts and quotes about the night ($15).


Forward-looking writers might want to try Clibe, a new app that turns your iPad into a notebook. The journals you create are stored in the cloud and can be shared or private. The app is free.

Whether the writing was going poorly or it was time to celebrate a new literary success, many of our greatest writers turned to drink. The martini glass above ($13) sports a poem by Dorothy Parker: I like to have a Martini, two at the very most; three, I’m under the table, four I’m under my host! It’s from the Unemployed Philosopher’s Guild, as is the set of six shot glasses with tributes to famous writer/drinkers, including Parker, Oscar Wilde and William Butler Yeats, who said, ‘The problem with some people is that when they’re not drunk, they’re sober’ ($16).

Happy holidays.


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-- Carolyn Kellogg