With Valentine’s Day rapidly approaching, chocolatiers and florists go into overdrive. These two gifts most associated with this holiday are always welcome – but a bit uninspired. Lush chocolates and gorgeous flowers enrich the senses – temporarily.
Books – now they last forever and can be cherished and rediscovered many, many times over. The other benefit of a book: the calorie and pollen counts are considerably lower.
Whether your Valentine enjoys art books, travel essays, vintage games, the plays of Shakespeare, witty stories or any other topic – you can’t go wrong with the gift of a beautiful, well-chosen book that resonates with your sweetie. Don’t forget to add a thoughtful inscription, and wrap it lovingly.
Here’s an eclectic roundup of vintage books from my Etsy shop, tcgVINTAGEetc, for inspiration.
Many different kinds of love occupy Shakespeare’s pastoral comedy As You Like It, one of The Bard’s most beloved and most-performed plays. This beautiful, limited-edition vintage book is a great collectible for a Shakespeare lover’s library. This square format features ornate typography and illustrations commissioned specifically for its title. Its glorious words are housed in a matching blue slipcase, making it a very special gift for a very special Valentine.
“According to Hoyle” – that phrase that we’ve heard so often – is attributed to the man himself, Edmond Hoyle, the expert on the rules and strategies behind card and board games. This 100+ year old reference book includes text and illustrations explaining loads of games including bridge, pinochle, backgammon, checkers and many more. For game history buffs, this very fine how-to copy of Hoyle’s Games makes a perfect gift. Who doesn’t love a game of Sexy Scrabble?
For travel lovers, what countries ooze romance more than France and Italy? In this sweetly-bound, classic novel by Laurence Sterne, Reverend Mr. Yorick recounts his many amorous adventures across the two countries. Sterne drew from his personal experiences of foreign manners and social customs for A Sentimental Journey Through France & Italy. This lovely, 1940s edition with embossed and patterned covers makes a great gift for ladies who love to travel or reading about period journeys.
Soap Behind The Ears is a compilation by the actress/humorist Cornelia Otis Skinner, who wrote satirical pieces for The New Yorker, The New York Times and Theater Arts Monthly. This vintage edition is a perfect fit for those who appreciate witty, urbane humor. A labor of love from the early 1940s about New York City and beyond, monologues feature Skinner’s ability to laugh at the world around her. Her easy writing style is juxtaposed with whimsical illustrations.
What’s Valentine’s Day without poetry? Poems of Magic and Spells edited by William Cole is a great choice for children – and adults alike. This compilation includes a wide range of poems about leprechauns, elves, sorcerers, goblins and witches by William Blake, Emily Dickinson, Rowena Bastin Bennett, e e cummings and J. R. R. Tolkein, among others. This vintage 1960 edition lovingly composes the text against charming illustrations by Peggy Bacon and makes a special gift for the young at heart.
For the art and design lover in your life, Popular Prints of the Americas houses beautifully reproduced posters from the Americas of the 18th through early 20th centuries. Each oversize page is suitable for framing. A vintage first edition printed in Italy on very fine paper, this is an excellent resource for historical design and typography. For that special book lover in your life who appreciates book form and excellence, this is a very special gift.
Are you inspired to find unique, non-traditional Valentine’s Day gifts? Let me know your ideas.