Gifts for English Majors

A literary (and not so literary) treasure trove for book lovers

Finding a great gift for a college kid can be tricky. By the time you know what's hot, it no longer is, right? But this gift list offers treasures, both classic and quirky, for the English major in your life - and psst, it's a great gift list for any book lover too.

  • 01 of 08

    'Downton Abbey'

    Courtesy Universal

    Julian Fellowes' tale of the Crawleys and their glorious estate, Downton Abbey, has won a rabid following on both sides of the pond, thanks to the beautifully produced, detail-rich BBC series. Between the sinking of the Titanic, England's wartime challenges and the sagas of headstrong Lady Mary, the irrepressible Dowager Countess (played by the always-awesome Maggie Smith) and all the upstairs-downstairs crew, it's no wonder that Anglophiles (and English majors) swoon over this...MORE series. Grab seasons one (compare prices) and two (ditto) on Blu-Ray. Heck, grab two and keep one for yourself.

  • 02 of 08

    'The World of Downton Abbey'

    Courtesy St. Martin's Press

    Any fan of the BBC series "Downton Abbey" will love this companion volume, which is filled with sketches, production notes, photographs from the sets, historical details and family trees that explain who's who and what the heck an entail is. The book is written by Jessica Fellowes, niece of series creator Julian Fellowes.

  • 03 of 08

    'The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society'

    Courtesy Dial Press

    Anglophiles also will love this World War II-era novel by Mary Ann Shaffer and Annie Barrows, which takes place on Guernsey, a tiny island in the English Channel (wait, there are islands there??) that was occupied by Nazi soldiers. It's a total charmer of a book - and I'm not the only one who thinks so. The bestseller is being made into a movie starring Kate Winslet as Juliet Ashton. (For more book suggestions, including non-fiction, memoirs, fantasy and adventure books, check out this...MORE list of great books for college kids too.)

  • 04 of 08

    'Grammar Girl's Quick and Dirty Tips for Better Writing'

    Courtesy Holt

    I'm not sure which of Mignon "Grammar Girl" Fogarty's books I love most, but this is a great place to start. This how-to for writers demystifies split infinitives, banishes who/whom doubts and fixes those pesky pronouns for good. It's a terrific volume for English majors, and the rest of Fogarty's books are equally fabulous - especially "Grammar Girl's 101 Words Every High School Graduate Needs to Know." Get them both.

    Continue to 5 of 8 below.
  • 05 of 08
    Courtesy Barnes & Noble

    There's nothing more inspiring that a whole shelf of classic books, with suitably classic bindings - and Barnes and Noble's new line of classic-looking books is pretty darn wonderful. Harper Lee's "To Kill a Mockingbird," Eric Asimov's "Foundation," Jane Austen's collected works and more in the Leatherbound Hardcover Classics line for about $10 each.

  • 06 of 08
    BookBook laptop case. Photo courtesy Twelve South

    Whether your favorite 20something is heading for another year of college or he's off to grad school, his laptop will need protection. There's a slew of possibilities out there ranging from solid color Neoprene padded sleeves, to versions that look like a Van Gogh, an interoffice envelope or an old leather-bound book. The latter, dubbed the BookBook, is made by Twelve South and it looks so very real, even the zipper tabs resemble bookmarks.

  • 07 of 08

    Fancy Pens

    Photo courtesy of Stig Andersen, Stock.Xchng

    Everyone needs writing implements - especially English majors. If you're in the pen market, either go all in with a swanky, engraved, gift-of-significance - Tiffany's or Montblanc - or an uber practical tub of a zillion roller-ball pens and highlighters, perhaps with a coffee gift card to fuel late-night writing sprees. Your child will appreciate one extreme or the other. The middle? Not so much.

  • 08 of 08

    Gifts for 'Hunger Games' Fans

    Scholastic Press

    If your favorite English major is a "Hunger Games" fan, then he or she also will want to check out the movie companion books, the Japanese bestseller, "Battle Royale," and other up-and-coming YA-crossover hits like "Divergent" from this list of great gifts for the "Hunger Games" crowd.