iheartdarcysmWelcome to the second installment of our holiday gift guide, where we wanted to share one of our secret weapons for finding unique gifts for bibliophiles.

Whenever we visit an author house or other literary destination throughout the year, we make time to hit the gift shop, where we stock up on all kinds of stocking stuffers and more expensive items for the book lovers in our lives. Some of our favorites are the Meg, Jo, Beth and Amy dolls from Orchard House in Concord, MA (perfect for young girls who are just discovering Little Women);  we also love the cute set of John Steinbeck pocket editions from the  National Steinbeck Center in Salinas, CA, which make great stocking stuffers; but our hands down favorite gift to give is the I © Mr. Darcy totebag available at the Jane Austen Centre in Bath, England.  

Stop by in person for the best selection if you have an author house in your area. If not, many of them—including these three—have online storefronts.

Other suggestions for unique gifts can be found at the New York Public Library, the Library of Congress, and through the various regional groups of the Jane Austen Society of North America.

You may also want to consider making a donation in your recipient’s name to a literary landmark in need of assistance such as Edith Wharton’s estate, The Mount  in Massachusetts, the Mark Twain House  in Connecticut, and the Becky Thatcher House, which is part of the Mark Twain Boyhood Home & Museum in Hannibal, Missouri. The Thatcher House was the residence of Laura Hawkins, Twain’s muse for the character Becky in The Adventures of Tom Sawyer, and it’s in desperate need of restoration. (Many thanks to Gary Wyatt for alerting us about the Thatcher House.)

For the literary travelers on your holiday list, we (of course) suggest a copy of Novel Destinations. Whether they’re planning a trip or just planning to cozy up in an armchair, they’ll enjoy delving into the fascinating, behind-the-scenes stories of beloved authors. The Strand Bookstore in New York City — a mecca for bibliophiles with 18 miles of books on its three floors — has signed copies of Novel Destinations on hand. If you don’t live in the NYC area and can’t stop by the store, you can order a copy by phone at 212-473-1452.