Gift Guide: What to Buy the Highbrow Literature Lover Who’s Read Everything

So you have a literature-loving friend who has read it all. Classics? Try reading them in Greek. Shakespeare? Try acting those plays. Dead Russians? This friend has insights into Anna Karenina that you’ve never considered, and frankly, they sound a little like bullshit.

But alas, this friend thinks George Saunders could write shorter stories and Zadie Smith is just OK, and knew about Roberto Bolaño before anybody else in America. So really, what the hell can you get this person for the holidays? Don’t make the mistake of buying an actual book — this insufferable snob (who may also be one of your best pals) will just look at whatever tome you picked out and sigh. Obviously they’ve already read it twice. Obviously!

So, since you can’t just go to your local indie bookstore and pick up something off the shelf to celebrate the holidays and your friendship, we recommend any of the following gifts.


Kings County Distillery bourbon
$22.99, Astor Wines & Spirits

Liquor always works. And since Rosie Schaap has established herself as the literary guru on all things bookish and booze-ish, we say go with her New York Times Magazine column on old-fashioneds, and get your friend a good bottle of whiskey to use in said cocktails. Kings County Distillery, which we enjoyed visiting earlier this year, makes a bourbon that tastes great — plus, the price is right and the bottles look cool.