If you can’t convince your introverted friends to come out to your holiday party, just leave one of these comfy, cozy, beautiful books on their doorstep instead.
I was not surprised when BookPage asked me to write their gift guide for homebodies. I work from home. I have been known to go a few days without speaking aloud to anyone but my cat. One of the most satisfying endeavors of my year was redecorating my house in the endlessly comfortable style of a 1940s absentminded Oxford professor, creating an atmosphere that I would never, ever want to leave. If you have a recluse in your life who is dear to you, upon whose doorstep you intend to leave a gaily wrapped package expressing your affections, I am the expert called in to help.
Bibliostyle by Nina Freudenberger
While the love of books doesn’t belong exclusively to those who are quiet and inward, it’s true often enough that Nina Freudenberger’s Bibliostyle: How We Live at Home With Books is a safe bet. Pages upon pages of towering, impressive personal libraries, alongside interviews on reading habits and cataloging techniques from their owners, are enough to move any bookworm to tears. I was awed by these aspirational collections and comforted to learn that the endless to-be-read list is a universal problem. And as an object itself, Bibliostyle is lovely. A weighty tome in dark green with gold lettering on the cover, it sits very seriously and beautifully on my coffee table, marking me as a literary sophisticate who is deeply serious about her books.
Board Games in 100 Moves by Ian Livingstone
Of course, I would only be noted as such by those select friends who chanced to see it. Yes, reader, I do sometimes host a little gathering. As any homebody will tell you, such evenings call for a board game, and when you aren’t discussing strategy over your game of choice, you can wow your guests with the encyclopedic knowledge of games you picked up from Ian Livingstone’s Board Games in 100 Moves: 8,000 Years of Play. Fill your cozy evening in with conversations about what the games we have played through time say about humankind (Germany, for example, lost their taste for war- and battle-based games after World War II), and keep the interesting conversation flowing.
Girls and Their Cats by BriAnne Wills
That, however, is only for the rare social night. Most nights of the week, my most constant companion is a sentient piece of black fluff named Jonas (in homage to author Shirley Jackson). Cats are often found living alongside introverts. They share a distaste for loud noises and a fondness for watching the neighbors through the windows. For the homebody who shares their home with a familiar of the feline variety, Girls and Their Cats by BriAnne Wills cannot be more fervently recommended. Cat lovers are known for being somewhat obsessive in their devotion, and here is a book filled with like-minded people (and their cats!) telling their “how we met” stories. It’s also a handsome book in its own right, with a velvet spine that’s almost as nice to pet as your cat.
★ Cosy by Laura Weir
Homebodies are always in pursuit of an ideal: of a dream of quiet, of peaceful evenings in the bath or under blankets, of restorative reflection, of (as our friends across the pond term it) “cosy.” In Cosy: The British Art of Comfort, Laura Weir moves to take back the simple pleasures of a Sunday in one’s pajamas or a long evening walk, especially now that interior designers have savaged the Danish notion of hygge. There’s no need to whitewash your floorboards or purchase a sheepskin rug. After all, decorating all in white inevitably leads to more cleaning, when you could be relaxing under something woolen with a book and a nice piece of cheese instead. Gently dragging us back from the wild-eyed edge of consumerism, Weir reminds us that simply taking the time to cook a meal can be enough. Forget giving this one for Christmas, actually. Give it before. We’ll all need it.
ALSO IN BOOKPAGE: Read our interview with Laura Weir, author of Cosy.