Sometimes the trouble with having a known passion is that it makes gift selection just a little too easy for everyone else. Fishermen get tackles, trampers get socks, book lovers get books. Year after year after year.
While avid readers tend to be fairly easy to please, sometimes it's nice to mix it up a little.
So with Mother's Day rapidly approaching (next Sunday 13th, in case you were wondering) I've been on the look-out for unusual literary-inspired gifts for the book-loving mother in your life.
* If your mum likes to keep track of her reading, the Moleskine Passions Book Journal is perfect for creating a record of her literary adventures. She can create a must-read wish list, record her own reviews and favourite quotes and keep track of her borrowing and lending library. $49 from Red Letter Day.
* Local independent crafty website Felt is like a bibliophile's bazaar. You'll find of one-of-a-kind bookish bits, from Alice in Wonderland and Wizard of Oz-inspired pendants and brooches, to bunting made from vintage children's books, handmade bookmarks, journals, book bags and Kindle and iPad covers.
* This year Mother's Day coincides with the Auckland Writers & Readers Festival, so why not treat Mum to an outing of a literary kind? If you don't mind celebrating early, the Girls Night Out: Tastings & Tiaras offers wine tasting, canapés and book chat with the witty and entertaining Kathy Lette on Saturday 12 May at 6.30pm ($55). Mother's Day offerings include An Hour with Jeffrey Eugenides, New Zealand authors Paula Morris and Stephanie Johnston on researching and writing their ancestors' stories and an "illustrated romp" through the history of black in New Zealand fashion with Doris De Pont. Early bird discounted tickets are still available until Wednesday 9 May.
* While the shops are brimming with recommended reads for Mother's Day, there are a few rather beautiful books that deserve a special mention. Top of my wish list is Dear Heart: 150 New Zealand Love Poems, edited by Paula Green, not just for its inspirational homegrown content, but for its gorgeous presentation and romantic endpapers (they get me every time). Check out Bronwyn's thoughts on the book and Green's recommendations for the best Mother's Day poems here.
* Also just out is a special 40th anniversary edition of Pounamu Pounamu by Witi Ihimaera, the first book published by a Maori author and the first book of New Zealand fiction to be translated and published in Maori. This updated hardback edition tells the stories behind the stories, with author's notes and autobiographical details from Ihimaera, an introduction by Fiona Kidman and striking cover art by Kura Te Waaru Rewiri. Every home library deserves a New Zealand classic.
* Finally, Bronwyn had to twist my arm to make me share this one because it's been top of my secret wish list for some time. I was afraid that if I shared, these would become as overdone as those ubiquitous bus blinds - cool the first time you see one, but by the tenth or twelfth time they just make you yawn. It's a book as a work of art. The full readable text of a novel shaped around an appropriate image and printed on a single poster. You can choose from a range of classics and children's titles including Jane Austen, Tolstoy and even the full text of all of William Shakespeare's plays (yes, on a single sheet). Visit www.spinelessclassics.com.au. Prices range from AU$79.95 to $500. These come from Australia, so you'll need to act quickly if you want them to get here in time (but even if they're late, they're worth the wait.)
What would you recommend for a literature-loving mum?By Christine Sheehy Email Christine