If you’re wondering what to get your reclusive friend or family member who wouldn’t know what to do with that fancy watch, artisan truffle salt and bacon jam, or latest technological doohickey, we’ve compiled a special list to cover all their needs.
No one ever says no to a nice pen. Though today we tend to consider typing more efficient, studies (like this Wall Street Journal one) suggest that writing by hand activates the parts of your brain responsible for thinking, language, and memory much more strongly. Try one of the top two favorite affordable fountain pens: the Pilot Metropolitan or the Lamy Safari. And your writer can never have too many notebooks with good-quality paper; try cult favorites Rhodia, Shinola, or, of course, the holy Moleskine. Or, if you want them to be eternally grateful, help them capture those dazzling ideas they always get in the shower with Aqua Notes.
I love buying books for friends, but only the writer friends ever read them. Everyone’s tastes differ, so your safest bet is probably either picking something off a “best books of the year” list—the New York Times, NPR, and the New Yorker are always particularly thoughtful––or, if your writer likes audiobooks (people tend to be divided quite strongly on this issue) surprising them with a subscription to Audible, which keeps on giving.
Nerdy shirts to help writers recognize each other in the wild (as if the ink stains, shifty eyes, and furtive scurrying weren’t a dead giveaway), or Bananagrams (on-the-go Scrabble without all the pesky (read: scary) math) to give them something to talk about while they’re undergoing the painful process of making a new friend.
Gym subscription! (No, really!) Restaurant gift certificate! Concert tickets! Or take them to an exciting new movie—because after all, they’re just books that move and make noise. And then, if the experience leaves them feeling uncomfortable, give them a writing manual like Writing Down the Bones, Burning Down the House, or everyone’s favorite, Bird by Bird, to reassure them that they’re not alone.