The Curated Book List – Gifts for Graduates

If You’re Wondering Whether to Give the New Grad “Tuesdays With Morrie” the Answer is NO

High school and college graduations are fast approaching.  If you’re casting around for graduation gift ideas for graduates who love words, books, art and creativity and wondering how you can be original, read on. We’ve assembled a list of the least lame, best, most unique graduation gifts that they’ll actually like. Or at least like enough to re-gift.

Tequila Mockingbird: Cocktails with a Literary Twist

$11.43 Hardcover, $8.10 Kindle

Graduation Gift - Tequila MockingbirdPerhaps best saved for those graduating from college (or those who live in a country without a legal drinking age) this guide and recipe book matches grown-up drinks to their literary counterparts. The book also includes drinking games, wry literary commentary and puns. Many, many puns. 65 drink recipes, including The Pitcher of Dorian Grey Goose, The Last of the Mojitos, Are You There, God? It’s Me, Margarita, Vermouth the Bell Tolls and more

Literary Iphone Docks

$36.50 Iphone docks in the shape of booksIf you’re looking for the TRULY unique among unique graduation gifts, think about getting your grad one of these literary Iphone docks. They charge your phone AND make you look smarter. Choose from Dracula or Pride and Prejudice. Available from

 100 Great Books

amazon 100 books unique gift ideaThere have been several well respected “100 Best Books” lists created in the last few years. A unique – and ongoing – gift idea is to start buying your graduate books on the list, and then continue the tradition for other special occasions. You can start at number 100 and work your way up, or choose books from the list that suit the occasion. Amazon’s “100 Books to Read in a Lifetime,” Modern Library’s “100 Best Novels,” and NPR’s “100 Novels, 100 Years” lists are good places to start.

How to Talk About Books You Haven’t Read

$9.59 grad gift talk about books

We’ve all done it – tried to fake our way through a conversation on a topic we know nothing about. And whether or not we like to admit it, it’s a useful skill to have and the sooner your new graduate learns how, the better. This is both an ironic, fun book and a more serious one that makes a compelling argument about the many ways to engage with books. We can thoroughly read them, skim them or just have conversations about them, and each mode of engagement is valid and enriching.

The Art of Work + The Gifts of Imperfection 

$9.68 + $6.79 unique college graduation gifts art of workunique gifts for graduation imperfectionTwo bestsellers to help new graduates navigate life after school. Brene Brown, world-renowned expert on shame and living in the moment, provides a guide to self-acceptance in a world that often tells us we aren’t good enough as we are. Jeff Goins’ s sensational new book makes a compelling case for combining what you love to do with what the world needs in order to find a meaningful vocation,using straight-talk, case studies and research on motivation and talent.

Set of Wood Book Boxes from MyHabit

$29.00 unique graduation gifts book boxesAn attractive place to stow smaller items, and then easily put them on a book shelf. Or leave them out as a decorative as decoration. These boxes come in a variety of styles and look much more grown up than a pile of change sitting on a coffee table.

Amazon Prime Gift Membership

$99.00 unique gift ideas Amazon PrimeThe ultimate useful gift they won’t buy for themselves, one year of Prime means thousands of free streaming movies and tv shows, free 2 day shipping for anything on Amazon, cloud storage, access to free books, and more. Shopping last minute? Buy it on graduation day! Amazon will send the recipient an email announcing your gift.

Limited Edition Art

From $49 Framed unique graduation gift ideas artIt’s never too soon to start collecting! Website partners with Minted, a site that finds up-and-coming artists and commissions limited editions of some of their best work. Will these pieces be valuable some day? Maybe. But, for right now, they’re beautiful, sophisticated and they support artists.

What If?: Serious Scientific Answers to Absurd Hypothetical Questions + An Illustrated Book of Bad Arguments

$10.80 + $11.62 unique graduation gifts what if gifts for grads bad arguments bookTwo wildly popular books that are both quirky and science-based. “What If?” was born from the cult webcomic (the kids love it) and provides an illustrated guide to pressing questions like ” If there was a robot apocalypse, how long would humanity last?” The author uses science, math and tons of research to provide real answers to outlandish scientific questions.  “Illustrated Book of Bad Arguments” uses unique illustrations to explain logic and de-bunk popular arguments and fallacies. This book is especially handy for responding to crazy email strings and irrational Facebook posts.

Original Victorian Book Set

$150.00 unique graduation gift ideas victorian books

For the true book lover or collector, each set of 6 books is unique. All books included in the set are original and from the 19th century, a time when book design flourished.  A great way to start a rare book collection, the books in each set are chosen by title and also be color/design, so they are decorative as well as readable. BONUS: For a limited time, get $10 off of this set.  victorian book coupon

The Fashion BookTim Gunn’s Fashion Bible + Outfit a Day Planner

$44.67 + $11.99 + $12.30 outfit a day graduation gift for fashionista unique graduation gift for fashionista Fashion Bible unique graduation gifts for fashionistas fashion book

For the fashionista grad, these three books have it all covered. “The Fashion Book” is a beautifully photographed and thoughtfully written look at style that Vogue called “the fashion bible.” Tim Gunn’s new book covers the history of fashion, with unusual anecdotes about why we wear what we do. Top it all off with a pretty planner/journal, that helps the fashion-minded plan their outfits in advance.

BooksFree Gift Membership

3 Month Membership – $36.99

booksfree gift membership gift for graduationFor graduates who just can’t get enough books: BooksFree is like the Netflix of books. They have a library of thousands of books, including new bestsellers and audio books.  Depending on your membership plan, you can have 2, 4 or an unlimited number of books at a time. No late fees, and you can create a queue, so that as soon as you return one book, another one arrives in the mail.

A First Edition Book

First Editions of

First Editions of “The Catcher in the Rye” start at $125.00

There is a great deal of confusion about what constitutes a first edition of a book, but the simple explanation is that a first edition is an original copy of a book, from the time it was released. First editions can be astronomically expensive ($40,000 for a first edition of “Mrs. Dalloway,” for instance) but others are surprisingly affordable. Prices vary based on condition, how many copies were originally printed and how sought-after a title is. If your graduate has a favorite book, it may be worth seeing if you can find a first edition of that book. A SIGNED first edition makes an especially nice gift…but be prepared to spend more for that gift.

Other Affordable First Edition Books that Make Unique Gifts:

The first UK edition, in very good condition, $49.00

Harry Potter first UK edition, in very good condition, $49.00


Hemingway’s “The Old Man and the Sea” first edition from 1953. Prices start at $95.00

Signed first edition of

SIGNED first edition of “The Goldfinch”
Starting at $65.00

Gone with the Wind First Edition, from 1936, in fair condition. Starting at $150.00

Gone with the Wind First Edition, from 1936, in fair condition. Starting at $150.00


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