Books

Ho Ho Holmes: The Perfect Bookish Gifts for Literary Characters

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It’s that time of year! The time of year, that is, when you feel the guilt of asking how can I know him/her so well and yet can’t think of a single thing to give them as a gift???

While I can’t really help you there, I do know that books tend to be great gifts for all kinds of people — literary people included. Here are some books that you might give back to your favorite literary characters, then, to thank them for the gift of their existence!

1) A book for Offred from The Handmaid’s Tale = Grimm’s fairy tales

 

…if it were possible to give Offred a book, of course. I suspect the incredibly dark stories would be relatable to her, yet the fantastical nature of these worlds would also be a welcome escape from her everyday life.

2) A book for Jane Eyre from Jane Eyre = Les Misérables by Victor Hugo

 

Ignoring the fact that Les Mis was technically published after Jane Eyre, the combination of suffering and hope in this book might encourage Jane in the face of her aunt’s and teachers’ abuse, as well as later spoiler-y problems. It’s basically the book version of Helen Burns, her strong Christian friend at Lowood.

3) A book for Wade Watts from Ready Player One = a Dungeons and Dragons handbook

 

To give him a look at a (nerdy) game people used to play back in the day. It’s not the OASIS, but I can just see Wade and Art3mis getting a kick out of figuring out the rules and then playing it.

4) A book for Eleanor Oliphant from Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine = Alexander Hamilton by Ron Chernow

 

She wouldn’t care about the musical Hamilton of course, but she might be fascinated by the details of this man’s life, perhaps inspired by his perseverance despite the odds, and and (if we’re being honest) probably not bothered with the more gritty ending to his story. Based on her own experiences it might actually feel more realistic to her than a biography that is neatly tied up with a bow.

5) A book for Sherlock Holmes from A Study in Scarlet, etc. = Sonatas and Partitas for Solo Violin by J.S. Bach

 

Okay, so this isn’t a traditional book per se, but it’s a book of sheet music so that counts, right? While you might be tempted to buy Sherlock the latest medical dictionary or a crime fiction book, but the cocky and brilliant guy would probably know everything (or at least profess to know everything) in the dictionary already and be able to guess the ending of the second approximately 3.2 pages in. But he loves to play his violin, and presuming he doesn’t already know them, the Bach sonatas and partitas would be something with a striking internal logic and grace that might help him clear his mind when he has a particularly thorny crime to solve.

https://open.spotify.com/embed/track/3sf6l4HQPrR3lNvaR42Sgy

6) A book for Anna Fox from The Woman in the Window = The Girl on the Train by Paula Hawkins

 

Anna loves thriller movies, so a thriller book might also be right up her alley. Plus she’d be likely to relate to Rachel, since both of them face disbelief after they witness a crime.

7) A book for Tsukiko from The Night Circus = the Comic Book Notebook

 

While the cover of this “book” might initially throw her off (it’s a little loud), the fact that Tsukiko draws her own beautiful tattoos and is clearly creative as a member of the night circus makes me think that she might enjoy this gift. Her comics might be dark, or even abstract with black lines and figures contorting into new shapes across the frames, but how could they not be stunning coming from Tsukiko? First and foremost, though, they might provide her with a new creative outlet that would help her find catharsis for some of her dark past.

8) A book for Madeline from Madeline = The Doll People by Ann M. Martin and Laura Godwin, illustrated by Brian Selznick

 

Madeline and Annabelle, the main character of The Doll People, are two peas in a pod. They’re both smart, determined, and incredibly brave, so I bet she’d love this book. She’d be all over the idea of dolls coming to life, too!

9) A book for Merry and Pippin from Lord of the Rings = a cookbook

 

Any style at all (except for diet books), just FOOD!

10) A book for Mercutio from Romeo and Juliet = The Importance of Being Earnest by Oscar Wilde

 

Incredibly witty while also a bit bawdy, I can’t think of a more appropriate gift for good ol’ Mercutio.

BONUS: A book for Hamlet from Hamlet = a choose-your-own-adventure story???

 

Would this be the worst or best gift ever for Hamlet? It might be the worst because he can’t ever make up his mind on what to do, but because of this exact problem it might also be the best because then  he could make literally every choice by reading the book several times and see how each choice would play out. Hmm…

EXTRA DOUBLE MEGA BONUS: A book for the main character/second wife from Rebecca = Jane Eyre by Charlotte Brontë

 

Just to freak her out, since Rebecca is a retelling of Jane Eyre. Mwah ha haaaa!

***

Do you think a choose-your-own-adventure story would be the perfect gift or the cruelest joke on Hamlet? What other books would you gift these or other characters? Let me know in the comments below!

Merry Christmas, and Happy Holidays!

For more Christmas-y goodness, check out Silent Night: A Creepy Classical Version

You might also like: 

If Shakespeare’s Characters Were High School Stereotypes

Mr. Darcy and Whiskey: If Literary Characters Were Beverages

If Literary Characters Had Favorite Holidays

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