11 Book-Inspired Candles for Bibliophiles

Some people go to bookstores to peruse the titles that line the shelves, while others can’t get enough of the inviting atmosphere those literary sanctuaries provide. Part of that warm and fuzzy feeling involves the distinct scent of books. But what about when you want to go one step further and actually catch some odors inspired by the books themselves? Don’t fret. Sit back, relax, crack open your favorite tome, and breathe in these 11 book-friendly candles for all the lit-geeks out there.



If you can’t apparate from your couch to the Three Broomsticks in Hogsmeade to actually drink butterbeer, why not have a wizard’s beverage of choice to smell instead? This candle, which is called “Wizard’s Pub,” features the nutty and buttery scent of spiced pralines—which is intoxicating enough that even Voldemort would want to take a whiff.

Spireside Candles, $18


Amateur sleuths can follow the clues to cozy up to this candle inspired by 221B Baker Street’s most famous resident, and Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s most notable literary creation: Sherlock Holmes. With a warm fragrance of black currant tea and leather, the only way to round out such an elementary scent would have been with a bit of Holmes’s pipe tobacco. But as is, it’s enough to make anyone break out your deerstalker hats (and, obviously, your wallet) to solve the aromatic mysteries of this candle.

From the Page, $12


In Henry David Thoreau’s nonfiction classic Walden, the Transcendentalist wrote, “I find it wholesome to be alone the greater part of the time. To be in company, even with the best, is soon wearisome and dissipating. I love to be alone. I never found the companion that was so companionable as solitude.” If you want to break away from society for a woodsy jaunt just like Thoreau, but also want to make your one-room shack smell nice while doing it, look no further than this Walden-inspired candle scent.

Hearth and Hammer, $18


Charles Dickens was the bard of the dark and gloomy streets of foggy London with such dreary high school English class staples as Great Expectations and Oliver Twist. But like the scrappy street urchin protagonist of the latter, you’ll be asking for some more, please, when you experience the scent of this Dickens-inspired candle. Made of fragrant notes of tangerine, juniper, and clove, the only thing that could make this more authentic would be some chimney sweep soot under your nose.

Paddywax, $21


Don’t panic! While a towel is, unfortunately, not included with this candle inspired by irreverent British satirist Douglas Adams’s beloved sci-fi send-up, it does smell like the most useful item an interstellar Hitchhiker can carry. Order 42 of these and you’ll be all set for a perfectly fragrant journey around the galaxy.

Frostbeard, $18


Don’t let the false promise of the American Dream circa 1922 get you down. Keep that ambition burning bright with this vanilla and musk-scented candle meant to evoke the green light at the end of Daisy Buchanan’s dock in F. Scott Fitzgerald’s masterpiece, The Great Gatsby. It smells great in East Egg, West Egg, and in any mansion in between.

Hearth and Hammer, $18


Quoth the raven: “Nevermore. Also, wow, this candle smells awesome.” The author behind macabre tales like "The Fall of the House of Usher" and "The Tell-Tale Heart" is a favorite of fans of morbid fiction everywhere, and his grim essence is perfectly captured in this candle that smells of cardamom, sandalwood, and absinthe. Like Poe’s works and his preference for drink, this candle is intoxicating.

Paddywax, $21


There can only be one candle to rule them all, but there are so many good J.R.R. Tolkien-related choices from which to choose!

If you’re a peaceful type who would rather spend time loafing around Hobbiton, there’s no better way to get things smelling like a Hobbit hole than the minty and oak moss aroma of the appropriately named Hobbit Garden candle. But if you’d rather go off on an unexpected journey with a mischievous wizard like Gandalf, the smoky tobacco of this Pipe-Weed candle could make one loopy enough to simply walk into Mordor.

Bubble and Geek, $16


You won’t need wildfire to illuminate this set of nine candles, inspired by the major houses of Westeros in George R.R. Martin’s A Song of Ice and Fire saga; matches will do just fine. There’s a scent for every season: House Targaryen’s smoky red clove is good for months where it's hot as dragon's breath; House Tyrell’s garden-like aroma will make you forget about a Lannister double-crossing in the springtime; House Greyjoy’s ocean and sandalwood will keep you safe during drab autumn; and, since winter is coming, fire up the cool fresh-fir scent of House Stark.

Lumos Candles, $108


You wouldn’t think that frosting cakes would give you an advantage in a teenage dystopian battle royale, but Peeta would prove you wrong. This kitschy French vanilla buttercream candle is guaranteed to make you forget about some of the less savory parts of The Hunger Games saga like, say, all the child deaths and Caesar Flickerman’s hair.

From the Page, $12


We can’t guarantee that lighting this candle with preserve your youth or beauty, but it sure does smell gorgeous. Its hints of bergamot, cedarwood, and bay leaf are sure to make you feel like you’re doing some Oscar Wilde-approved hedonistic gallivanting in a Victorian-era parlor.

Herbs of Grace, $15

Arend Kuester, Flickr // CC BY-NC-ND 2.0
Qatar National Library's Panorama-Style Bookshelves Offer Guests Stunning Views
Arend Kuester, Flickr // CC BY-NC-ND 2.0
Arend Kuester, Flickr // CC BY-NC-ND 2.0

The newly opened Qatar National Library in the capital city of Doha contains more than 1 million books, some of which date back to the 15th century. Co.Design reports that the Office for Metropolitan Architecture (OMA) designed the building so that the texts under its roof are the star attraction.

When guests walk into the library, they're given an eyeful of its collections. The shelves are arranged stadium-style, making it easy to appreciate the sheer number of volumes in the institution's inventory from any spot in the room. Not only is the design photogenic, it's also practical: The shelves, which were built from the same white marble as the floors, are integrated into the building's infrastructure, providing artificial lighting, ventilation, and a book-return system to visitors. The multi-leveled arrangement also gives guests more space to read, browse, and socialize.

"With Qatar National Library, we wanted to express the vitality of the book by creating a design that brings study, research, collaboration, and interaction within the collection itself," OMA writes on its website. "The library is conceived as a single room which houses both people and books."

While most books are on full display, OMA chose a different route for the institution's Heritage Library, which contains many rare, centuries-old texts on Arab-Islamic history. This collection is housed in a sunken space 20 feet below ground level, with beige stone features that stand out from the white marble used elsewhere. Guests need to use a separate entrance to access it, but they can look down at the collection from the ground floor above.

If Qatar is too far of a trip, there are plenty of libraries in the U.S. that are worth a visit. Check out these panoramas of the most stunning examples.

Qatar library.

Qatar library.

Qatar library.

[h/t Co.Design]

All images: Arend Kuester, Flickr // CC BY-NC-ND 2.0

Reading Aloud to Your Kids Can Promote Good Behavior and Sharpen Their Attention

Some benefits of reading aloud to children are easy to see. It allows parents to introduce kids to books that they're not quite ready to read on their own, thus improving their literacy skills. But a new study published in the journal Pediatrics shows that the simple act of reading to your kids can also influence their behavior in surprising ways.

As The New York Times reports, researchers looked at young children from 675 low-income families. Of that group, 225 families were enrolled in a parent-education program called the Video Interaction Project, or VIP, with the remaining families serving as the control.

Participants in VIP visited a pediatric clinic where they were videotaped playing and reading with their children, ranging in age from infants to toddlers, for about five minutes. Following the sessions, videos were played back for parents so they could see how their kids responded to the positive interactions.

They found that 3-year-olds taking part in the study had a much lower chance of being aggressive or hyperactive than children in the control group of the same age. The researchers wondered if these same effects would still be visible after the program ended, so they revisited the children 18 months later when the kids were approaching grade-school age. Sure enough, the study subjects showed fewer behavioral problems and better focus than their peers who didn't receive the same intervention.

Reading to kids isn't just a way to get them excited about books at a young age—it's also a positive form of social interaction, which is crucial at the early stages of social and emotional development. The study authors write, "Such programs [as VIP] can result in clinically important differences on long-term educational outcomes, given the central role of behavior for child learning."

Being read to is something that can benefit all kids, but for low-income parents working long hours and unable to afford childcare, finding the time for it is often a struggle. According to the 2011-2012 National Survey of Children’s Health, only 34 percent of children under 5 in families below the poverty line were read to every day, compared with 60 percent of children from wealthier families. One way to narrow this divide is by teaching new parents about the benefits of reading to their children, possibly when they visit the pediatrician during the crucial first months of their child's life.

[h/t The New York Times]


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