Book Fetish

Read While You Eat: Bookish Tableware

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I don’t know about you, but I do a lot of reading while eating. And while this probably means that I’m already thinking about books enough, and don’t need a bunch of bookish tableware to add to the fun…well, there’s no harm in dreaming. I can’t resist a theme! And, let’s be honest: is there really anything wrong with my love of book spilling out into all the other areas of my life? No.

I’ve arranged this list in the order you might set a table, starting with table runners and napkins, moving into actual things that you eat with and on, and ending with serving dishes and fun decorations. Needless to say, if you actually set your table with everything here, it would make for one eventful (and possibly headache-inducing) table. This is more of a mix-and-match situation.

I’ve collected all the pieces you need to create the perfect bookish table for you, whether that’s an elegant table, a very silly one, a super casual one, or, indeed, an eventful and colorful mix of styles. But no matter which way your personal style swings, this tableware is guaranteed to make your next meal extra bookish. And lot of these items also make fantastic housewarming gifts for book-loving friends and family!

A cloth table runner with a pattern of books lounging among stacks of library books.

How can you not fall in love with this sweet library cats table runner? It makes me want to pull up a chair immediately and settle in with a bowl of something comforting and delicious and a good book. $59–79, depending on size.

Two black cloth placemats printed with a repeating image of a stack of books.

Maybe you aren’t into table runners. That’s okay! Why not set your table with these fun book placemats instead? Set of two. $34–39 depending on material.

A green cloth napkin is folded on top of a white ceramic plate. The napkin has an image of a stack of old-fashioned leather-bound books, topped with a red rose blossom.

Cloth napkins add easy elegance to any table, and they have the added advantage of being reusable. These literary napkins would make the perfect addition to a high tea or garden party. $20 for set of four.

A set of stacked white dinnerware (platter, dinner plate, dessert plate, sauce, and cup), all in the shape of an open book.

Now we get to the heart of the matter: something to eat on! This open book dinnerware set from the Library of Congress shop includes dinner plates, dessert plates, cups and saucers, and a serving platter, all in the shape of an open book! $11–21 depending on the specific piece (not sold as a set).

Four ceramic plates with brown rims and painted images from Alice in Wonderland in their centers.

If you’re looking for tableware that’s a bit more whimsical, how about these hand-painted Alice in Wonderland ceramic plates? Each one is painted with a different scene from the book. $65 for one plate, $100 for a place setting (dinner and salad plate).

A unglazed ceramic bowl carved with a quote from Emily Dickinson.

If you’re looking for some literary inspiration with your morning cereal, you might be excited about this literary quote bowl. This one features Emily Dickinson’s “Hope Is the Thing With Feathers” poem. The same shop has many other bowls with quotes from other writers, such as Charles Dickens, Jane Austen, and Walt Whitman. $42 each.

6 brightly painted tea cups and saucers, each made to look like the cover of a different Penguin classic book.

I love how bright these Penguin Classics tea mugs and saucers are! There are tons of options, so you can mix and match to make a set that includes your favorite books. $30 per mug and saucer set.

A silver spoon engraved with the words "drink tea, read books, be happy" and a small ticked check box next to each.

This charming drink tea, read books, be happy spoon is the perfect tea-stirrer, but who says you can’t also set your table with a set of these? No one. $22

A rectangular serving tray decorated with a selection of colorful library due date cards.

Look, I love a pretty table, but I’m really in it for the food. I really dig this fun library due date card serving platter. You can bring out your treats with it, and then leave it on the table as a centerpiece! $54.

A ceramic vase in the shape of an upright book titled "A Compendium of Flowers" and decorated with a floral vine pattern. The vase holds two lilies.

I cannot resist a good pun. Also, this ceramic book-shaped vase is so pretty! $30.


Looking for more bookish goods to beautify your table? Check out these gorgeous bookish teapots! And if it’s more general bookish goods for food-lovers you’re after, check out these excellent gifts for literary foodies.