Bookish Surprise for My Internet Best Friend: Annotating “The Secret History” and Making Her a Bookish Box (I need your help!!)

Hey everyone!!

I want to surprise my internet best friend with a big thing. And I might only have 20 days to pull it off (if it sounds like a lot, trust me, it isn’t).

Alice In Wonderland Rabbit GIFs | Tenor

We’ve never met irl, but we’ve known (and loved) each other for about five years now, always exchanging virtual gifts, or getting stuff shipped out. The thing is, we’ve never held something the other one has because of complications related to our location.

But now something’s going to be different for a narrow window of time, so I’m taking advantage of it!!

As I mentioned in the title, I’d be grateful if you could help me out with getting ideas for the surprise. If you’ve read The Secret History, if you’ve gotten boxes from Once Upon a Book Club or similar bookish boxes, or if you have a passion for bookish items, you’ll very likely be my hero!

Although it might already be evident from the title and what I’ve said so far, I’ll explain exactly what I want to do…

Annotating The Secret History

It’s one of the few books that’s on both our TBRs still, and it’s quite perfect since we both have a kind of fascination for some dark academia themes. I hope leaving notes for her in the book will make her feel like we’re reading it together.

I’ve ordered it (it’s coming tomorrow)… And I’m just realising now that I’ll have to read and annotate 500+ pages! But that’s not exactly the biggest part.

Making a Bookish Box

I woke up from a nap today and decided I would also make my best friend a book box in Once Upon a Book Club style. For those who don’t know it, Once Upon a Book Club is a subscription box that comes with a book and gifts related to the book that you can open when you get to a certain page.

It seems like a great idea on paper (at least to your truly), but now I have 20 days at most to put this together. And because it will take me some time to finish the book, I might not be able to get all the gifts ready. For example, I might only get to the end of the book with a couple of days left, and I don’t think I would be able to prepare a decent gift for anything that happens then.

Can I ask for your help? Obviously, you don’t have to. But if you wanted to leave a comment answering some of the questions below, I’d be super grateful!

♡ If you’ve read The Secret History

  • (This is the first time I don’t mind getting a book spoiled 😂 so spoil ahead!)
  • Are there any important/iconic/recurring objects or things in the story? (E.g. in Tangled, the frying pan; in Ready Player One, video games)
  • Is there some sort of jewelry? Or an important photograph? A recipe? A book? A business card?
  • Is there a particularly beautiful quote that would be good on a bookmark?
  • Is there a symbol? (E.g. in Six of Crows, the Dregs’ tatoo; in House of Hollow, the flowers)
  • Is there an important letter/card/invitation? (I’ll write this one)
  • Is there something from The Secret History that you wish you owned?
  • What songs would you include in a TSH-themed playlist?

Edit: I made the brochure that Richard uses to apply to Hampden College! The order and spacing looks a bit weird because it’s not folded. I’ll upload a picture of the printed product.

♡ If you’ve gotten boxes from Once Upon a Book Club (or a similar subscription box)

  • What sort of gifts do you get?
  • Is there a type of gift that always feels better to receive?
  • Is there something you wish you’d get but never do?
  • Do you (would you) prefer to get a lot of small gifts or a few big ones?

♡ If you have a passion for bookish items

  • The only bookish items I can think of right now are bookmarks 😦
  • What’s the best bookish item you own?
  • Is there one you wish you owned?
  • How do you feel about playlists? Are they a good enough book accompaniment on their own?
  • I want to make some of the gifts (e.g. pictures, bookmarks, letters, etc.), but I think I’ll try to find some great thrifted things as well! (Just for the vintage/romantic effect.) Is there anything bookish that you’d recommend getting from a charity shop?

Do you like subscription boxes? Do you have internet friends you’ve never met? Is The Secret History worth the hype?

Have you tried something similar? If so, how did it go? If not, would you like to? Or would you like to receive something like this?

Thank you so muc for reading this post!


28 thoughts on “Bookish Surprise for My Internet Best Friend: Annotating “The Secret History” and Making Her a Bookish Box (I need your help!!)

  1. I’ve never read The Secret History, but this sounds like a cool idea. I don’t know why it’s never occurred to me that I could just . . . make my own customized book box as a gift! I need to keep this in mind in the future.

    Personally I’ve only gotten a few book boxes, but I like things I can actually use. I know, for instance. a lot of people are big on candles, but I don’t use them, and I wouldn’t see the point of owning 30 of them. I think food is fun (but I also don’t like coffee or tea, which are popular in boxes). So I think knowing your friend’s interests could be helpful, whether they like tea, jewelry, candles, lip balm, highlighters, glassware, mugs, etc.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hi Briana! Thank you so much for taking the time to write this comment 🙂 ♡

      I love crafting, so I figured why not. I’m very probably going to regret it.

      These are such good points!! My best friend’s not a fan of candles either, but she wears glasses, so maybe a themed glass case. And a mug!! I hadn’t even thought of stationary, but maybe some cool higlighters and pens as well.

      Again, thank you ♡ Have a good rest of the week ♡


  2. What an exciting plan! Hm I wish I could help with more of these questions, but here goes my small two cents: if possible, I think themed stationery as a bookish item is pretty fun (like stickers, notebooks, etc). The Secret History looks interesting—I haven’t read it but I found a few quotes online that might look good on a bookmark:

    “It is is better to know one book intimately than a hundred superficially.”

    “But strange and marvelous as she was, a wisp of silk in a forest of black wool, she was not the fragile creature one would have her seem.”

    “And the nights, bigger than imagining: black and gusty and enormous, disordered and wild with stars.”

    “I liked the idea of living in a city — any city, especially a strange one — liked the thought of traffic and crowds, of working in a bookstore, waiting tables in a coffee shop, who knew what kind of solitary life I might slip into?” (lol this one might be a bit lengthy on a bookmark)

    I don’t know if that was helpful 🙈

    Ooh—your plan to “recreate the school’s brochure that the main character receives” sounds amazing!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hi Eleanor! Thank you for your comment and for looking up some quotes. I love this one in particular: “And the nights, bigger than imagining: black and gusty and enormous, disordered and wild with stars.” I was thinking that if something mentioning the stars came up I could buy her a necklace, so that’s great!

      And I’m officially on the lookout for themed stationary.

      Have a great end of the week ♡

      Edit: I’ve finished a draft of the brochure and I’ve uploaded it to the post. It’s nothing outstanding and it looks a bit weird because it’s not folded, but it’s not too bad 😂

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Hey Alice!
    I haven’t read The Secret History but I’ve had a fair few book boxes! Most of the gifts are normally candles, socks, pin badges, bookmarks etc…
    I had a quick browse on Etsy using the book title and they have a few items on there already which might give you some ideas.
    Socks, teas and mugs are always pretty great for those people who like comfort whilst they read. You could also perhaps put some sticky-notes or page tabs in and some nice pens so that your friend could annotate your gifted copy with her own ideas for you to compare them after???
    There’s also a few tote bags on RedBubble I think!

    This is such a lovely idea for your friend, I hope it goes well! ☺️ x

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hey T! Thank you for your comment. I’d completely forgotten about Etsy, but I’ve just had a look and I might get her a mug with the characters’ names on it.

      And your suggestion made this gift 10x better!! Sticky notes and pens for her to annotate is a perfect idea.

      I hope you’re having a nice week ♡

      Liked by 1 person

  4. Wow, your friend is lucky to have you! That box sounds like the coolest thing ever!! 🤩 I love The Secret History! I’m not entirely sure which objects that occur in it would be book box material, but maybe you could include some kind of item showing a scene from Greek mythology or alluding to Greek philosophy? Like an antique-inspired vase or plate with a picture of Dionysos and some satyrs, or a small bust of Plato or Homer? I’m not sure how far into the book you are, but all our main characters study Ancient Greek and Bacchanals kind of play an important role… Or you could supplement the box with a bookmark that has a quote from a Greek tragedy like Antigone or something – I think that would be very fitting and the Greek alphabet just looks so pretty!

    As for quotes, I’m terrible at remembering them 😅 But Goodreads is usually a great source for that if you want more than the ones people have already suggested!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you for your kind comment, Naemi ♡ I’ll look for these objects (the bust sounds like an amazing idea! I think I even saw one on Amazon that’s broken at the top of the head to be used as a vase).

      I hadn’t thought of writing quotes in Greek alphabet!!! I’ll definitely do that for the bookmark.

      I hope you’re having a great week!

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Glad I was able to help! Have fun hunting those objects down and getting creative 😂 I’m already kind of obsessed with your Hampden Brochure, so I’m sure the rest of the box is going to turn out absolutely epic as well!

        Liked by 1 person

  5. Wow this sounds so cool! I absolutely loved The Secret History! Maybe you could include a journal of some sort, since Bunny finds out about everything that happened during his trip to Italy with Henry when he translates Henry’s diary, or maybe you could make a bookmark with a quote or a Greek proverb? Or maybe something relating to Greek mythology, since the characters study Greek, or a postcard of the college. Hampden isn’t a real college but it is based on Bennington College, so maybe a postcard or painting of it might be nice! Ahh hope this helps, and good luck with it 💙

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hi Cherry ♡ Thank you so much for your comment, the journal is perfect!! I’m so excited to find one that will fit the aesthetic.

      I just finished making a Hampden College brochure! (I’ve uploaded it to the post, in case you want to see it.) A postcard would have been so much easier, why did I not read your comment sooner 😂

      Have a great end of the week!

      Liked by 1 person

  6. This is such a sweet idea! I loved The Secret History but I read it years ago so don’t remember a lot of specifics. The only thing I can think of is that there’s a character called Bunny so you could send, like, a little stuffed bunny? Excuse my terrible sense of humour lol.

    Liked by 1 person

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