The Best Books I’ve Received As Gifts

18/12/2016 Discussions, Lists, Reading 18

The Best Books I've Received As GiftsBuying books as a gift for bookworms is both easy and incredibly difficult: easy, because you know they love books, but difficult, because they probably already have so many and us bookworms often have very particular tastes! These days I more often tend to get book vouchers if someone wants to buy me a bookish gift, and that’s just fine by me. I really don’t expect people to know enough about my current book collection and what’s on my TBR list to pick me my perfect book, and so I don’t mind choosing for myself!

However, over the years I’ve received a lot of books as gifts, and they have often become treasured favourites, in part due to them being gifts, but also because of the amazing stories I’ve discovered through them. As a child (before I had my own money to spend on whatever I wanted) getting a new book would always be a highlight of birthdays and Christmases for me, and those early gifts led me to the genres and types of books I still love to read today.

So here are some of the best books I’ve received as gifts, and I’d love to know what yours are!

  • The first two Harry Potter books

It’s hard to imagine a time when I didn’t know and love the Harry Potter books, but as an 8 year old child I’d never even heard about them until my parents bought me The Philosopher’s Stone and Chamber of Secrets for my birthday. To date this still has to be one of the best bookish gifts I’ve ever received, as it got me started on one of my all time favourite series, and the Harry Potter books have become a huge part of my childhood…and it all leads back to that one gift!

  • Watership Down by Richard Adams

Another childhood favourite of mine was Watership Down, which I can remember receiving as a gift from my parents, although I can’t quite recall exactly how old I was, or whether it was a birthday or Christmas present. I had never heard of it before, but I loved rabbits (seen as I had five of them at one point!), so I think my mum and dad decided to capitalise on that, by getting me a book all about rabbits. I went on to love the film as well, although still to this day I can feel myself starting to well up upon hearing the song Bright Eyes!

  • The Lord of The Rings by J.R.R. Tolkien

My love of fantasy all leads back to The Lord of the Rings, which I got for Christmas off my parents (yes, they are very good at gift-giving!) as a young teenager. It was probably one of the first adult books I read, and was far from easy-reading, what with the pages and pages of description and the sheer length of it. However, I gradually found myself falling in love with the sprawling epicness of it, and the richness of the world painted by Tolkien, and above all with the characters, particularly the hobbits, who give up their quiet, simple lives in the Shire to save the world.

  • The Scar by China Mieville

I had never heard of this book or the author until I received a copy of The Scar as a gift in my work’s Secret Santa. It’s easily the best gift I’ve received in a Secret Santa, as it was a great book that was right up my street, and it’s pretty impressive really that someone I only knew from work got it so right!

  • Far From The Madding Crowd by Thomas Hardy

I can’t remember what occasion it was, but my friend gave me a copy of Far From The Madding Crowd as a gift several years ago, and I absolutely loved it! I had already read Tess of the D’Urbervilles and enjoyed that (although I was virtually an emotional wreck after it…Poor Tess sure goes through so much!), and my friend had really enjoyed Far From The Madding Crowd and so got me a copy as a gift. I love classics, and I love books, so it was a pretty successful present!

  • The illustrated edition of Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone 

When I first spotted the illustrated edition of Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone in Waterstones, I virtually become Gollum with the One Ring…it was my precious! But it seemed like a lot of money to pay for a book that I essentially just wanted because it looked pretty. I still have my old and very battered copy of The Philosopher’s Stone that I received for my 8th birthday, to read whenever I wanted, so I didn’t technically need another copy, however pretty.

But thankfully my boyfriend bought it for me back in July for our one year anniversary, so you can imagine how pleased I was with that present!

So do you receive a lot of books as gifts? Which have been your favourites?

18 Responses to “The Best Books I’ve Received As Gifts”

  1. Lory @ Emerald City Book Review

    You’ve gotten some amazing books as gifts! I’m especially impressed — as you are — that your work colleague came up with the perfect gift for you.

    I’m racking my brains but I can’t think of books that people have given me as gifts. They’re probably afraid/assuming I’ve already read them. But I know there have been a few, I may remember them on going through my shelves…

    • Laura

      I know, I can’t believe someone I didn’t know that well got it so right!
      I think a lot of my relatives and friends are afraid to get me books as a gift in case I’ve read them. It was more common when I was a kid, but I still get the odd one! 🙂

  2. Tiziana

    I had also received Watership Down as a gift. It came from my boyfriend because it’s his favourite book and he wanted me to read it… which I haven’t yet. 😛 I’m a little scared, in case I don’t like it as much as he expects me to.

    And I second your feelings for poor Tess. </3 Actually, the first gift my boyfriend ever gave me was an edition of Tess illustrated by Agnes Miller Parker. It's a little treasure, best bookish gift I ever got so far. 🙂

    • Laura

      Aww, that’s very sweet of your boyfriend! I think it’s an amazing book, but as with everything, it’s a matter of opinion (and talking rabbits probably isn’t for everyone!). I’m sure he would understand if you didn’t like it! 🙂
      An illustrated copy of Tess sounds amazing! That’s a lovely gift! I always like getting nice copies of books I love 🙂

  3. Michael Tyne

    Years ago, I read David Wingrove’s monumental “Chung Kuo” series of science fiction novels – and then lost them in a house move (which was also a country move, so it wasn’t total carelessness). In case you haven’t come across it, “Chung Kuo” is a series of eight huge novels (in its original form), which imagines a future world dominated by China. It’s stunning. Sadly, it went out of print a while ago.

    About five years ago, my girlfriend spent an age on Amazon and managed to find me second-hand copies of all eight books. That counts not just as one of the best bookish Xmas presents I’ve ever had, but one of the best of any kind.

    The wonderful news is that Wingrove has managed to revert the rights to the series, and now plans to re-publish an extended “author’s cut” of the whole thing, as an indie…

    • Laura

      Wow, that sounds like an amazing gift! Especially as she must have gone to a lot of trouble to find them all if they’re out of print 🙂
      I may have to check those out if they do come back into print 🙂

  4. Kourtni @ Kourtni Reads

    I love receiving books as gifts! It can definitely be hard getting books for people who love reading since they usually already have a ton of books haha But I always give family members my Amazon wishlist and compulsively check the list every time I buy books to make sure nothing is on there that I already have haha Last year for Christmas my older brother bought me the collector’s editions of the Divergent books and I absolutely love them. That’s one of my favorite series, especially since it got me back into reading after a few years of not really reading that much. I’d love to get the illustrated HP books for gifts – like you said, they’re gorgeous but I have a hard time justifying the price, especially considering I already have the books and would just be getting them for the pictures!

    • Laura

      Having an Amazon wish list sounds like a great idea for getting bookish gifts! I’m pretty sure I would receive books as gifts more often if my family knew exactly which ones to get me! 🙂
      And I always like that as a gift idea – getting nice copies of books/series you already love! I haven’t seen the collectors edition of Divergent, but I love that series so that sounds awesome! 🙂

  5. Greg

    I love getting books as gifts. And I hear you on being a kid- I used to get gift cards as gifts and those were awesome because then I could go pick out whatever I wanted! Nothing like free books! Those are great gift books too, I especially like Lord of the Rings.

    • Laura

      I do love gift cards – my boyfriend got me one for Christmas and I am pretty excited to go to the bookshop! I have a few in mind already 🙂
      Lord of the Rings is a great gift for bookworms. Especially some of the really nice editions they do!

  6. Lia Levina

    My work gave me I’ll Give You the Sun when I resigned last year. And a coworker also gave me All the Bright Places. I love those books, and I’ll Give You the Sun is one of my favorites of all time!
    I wish I had someone who’d give me a HP illustrated book! It’s so expensive I don’t think I’m buying it anytime soon 🙁

    • Laura

      That’s so great that your co workers got it so right! And what a lovely gift! I’ve read All the Bright Places, and that’s a great book, but I haven’t read I’ll Give You the Sun. I should probably check it out! 🙂
      I know, it’s pretty pricey, so it’s not something I would probably have bought myself!

  7. Kelsey

    Ah I love giving and receiving books as gifts because a fair amount of thought has to go into them.

    I remember when I was younger I used to get a box set of Enid Blyton books for either Christmas or my birthday, one year it was The Twins at St Claires, then The Naughtiest Girl etc. Loved those books. There needs to be more book boxsets!

    • Laura

      That’s so true – you have to put so much thought into buying someone a book! 🙂
      I loved Enid Blyton’s books when I was a kid too, and I’m pretty sure my mum and dad bought me loads as then as well, and I know I used to borrow The Twins at St claires from the library! 🙂

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