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gift ideas
The AJ Scruffles gift guide

Books make wonderful presents. As a sentimental gesture, a decorative item, or even as something to read - whenever you're stuck, a book should be your go-to gift.

But the stickiness doesn't end there. There are literally many books to choose from - and since choosing seems difficult for you, here's our handy guide on

how to buy a book as a gift


How well do you know this person?

People spend a lot of time alone with books, in bed, in the bath, on the beach in Mustique, trying to avoid those over attentive, slightly threatening cabana boys. These are private times, in private places. One must be careful when inserting a book into these intimate spaces and wary of the associations you're likely to make.

Imagine presenting your boss with D.H. Lawrence's Women in love. What happens if he comes to see you as Birkin to his Gerald? What happens when he orders you to strip naked for some fireside wrestling on that company retreat that you didn't even really want to go on anyway. Your boss is probably not Oliver Reed, is this really what you want?

when gifts go wrong

Size matters

Books can be big and people can be busier and/or slower readers than you think. So receiving a colossal tome can be daunting. Poems, short stories and novellas are gentler propositions.

You complete me

Most people wish they had read one book or another. Probably something old and worthy; maybe something they hear about frequently, like Nineteen Eighty-Four, or something they saw on TV, like Crime and Punishment. Successfully 'completing' someone will hot-shot you in their estimations, but be warned: the person may come to think you understand them far more than you do. Or want to.

What are you trying to say about yourself?

Are you dull, awkward and never more at home than lying facedown on the sofa half-drowning in a pool of your own drool, half-watching repeats of Benidorm on ITV4? Then you'll be wanting a gift that says, I'm learned, suave and sexually adventurous.

Shabby editions of the classics and half leather travel volumes are sufficiently rakish. And, for the finishing touch, be sure to deface the book with an obtuse inscription, including some impenetrable quotation that could mean everything and nothing.

book gift mayhem

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