Christmas is quickly approaching. The house is decorated. The krumkaka is made (it's a Norwegian cookie without which my Christmas is incomplete, and a little sad). The wicked-smaht corgi we're dog-sitting for the holidays arrives tomorrow. And Sister Dear arrived at 2am after a grueling 26-hour ordeal filled with lost luggage, delayed flights, missed connections, and a multiplicity of frantic phone calls.
1) If you want to go last-minute, can't-miss, Holy-Schnikes-is-it-Xmas-Eve-already?, I recommend book gift cards. We love 'em. We really love when you pick out a book for us yourself, but you also can't lose with a gift card. It allows us hours of deliberation and wandering the aisles of the local bookstore, trying to decide whether the giftcard allows the splurge of one good hardback, or the quantity-over-quality of multiple paperbacks. These are the sorts of crises we thrive upon.
2) For the outdoorsy type (you know, the kind that reads out in the fresh air), grab this reader's chair. It has holes for your arms, and a place for your face to rest. Anyone who has tried to read a book of any size on a chaise lounge understands why this seeming combination of lounger and massage table is absolute genius. No more having to weight down your book pages with rocks, or sunglasses, or water bottles, because your arms lose feeling from hanging over the edge. No more weird pressure on your throat as you try to rest your head over the tippy top of the lounge chair. No more chaise lounge yoga, Gentle Readers!
(This picture is straight from my Pinterest board, but no longer connects to the manufacturer's website. The closest thing I can find is this chair, on eBay.)
3) For the wee ones, try a classic book like Eloise at Christmastime (Thompson). Or, discerning consumers that you are, find new favorites like When Dinosaurs Came with Everything (Broach), The Mitten (Brett), or Library Lion (Knudsen). The illustrations are fabulous in all four, and each story is great for girly girls, manly boys, and everyone in between. Or start a children's book collection of your own. I may own a few (hundred) kids' titles, without actually owning any children.
these fabulous mugs and an amazing t-shirt, available for both sexes, that reads "Misuse of 'literally' makes me figuratively insane." Each gift allows the recipient to do two important things: inform an audience while judging others. These passive-aggressive impulses are dear to grammar geek hearts. And yes, we did notice your grammatical error this morning; we were just too kind to point it out.
5) Most booklovers wear our hearts on our sleeves. We also like to wear our favorite texts there! If the grammar t-shirt above doesn't make the reader in your life swoon, I can recommend some other options. Most of these t-shirts come in slightly different cuts for women and men, but any book lovin' girl will rock a boxy t-shirt with the right slogan. Try a team t-shirt for the Innsmouth Swim Team for your esoteric horror fan, the confident I Just Nevilled Up for your Potterhead, or one of the so very many versions of Talk Nerdy to Me. I also like the one that proclaims that the wearer is a Literary Rebel: I Read Past My Bedtime.
6) A woman with a slightly more ladylike sartorial style would appreciate these tights, and this text-printed infinity scarf. This Etsy seller has lots of texts to choose from, including Arthur Conan Doyle, Lewis Carroll, and Jane Austen, but I prefer the Romeo & Juliet edition of the scarf. If the recipient is a writer (or has crummy circulation), there are also cotton fingerless gloves that are very sweet.
7) Or you can upgrade to jewelry. No worries, though, we're not talking diamonds. We're talking leather. Any girl with more books than sense will drool for this super expensive necklace. Don't worry, the individual leather book necklaces aren't nearly $400 like this one, but they are just as sweet. And the Harry Potter fan in your life desperately needs this horcrux necklace, even if she doesn't yet know it herself. Because Potterphiles will be jealous and Muggles don't count.
8) If you know a YA aficionado looking for a fix, try the sweet and inspiring My Most Excellent Year (Kluger) or John Green's incomparable An Abundance of Katherines. If your YA lover is more of a Hunger Games fan, try Pure (Baggott). It's just as dark, and possibly even more twisted. The sequel, Fuse, suffers from sophomore book syndrome, but I have high hopes for Burn, which will be out in late February (yep, it's probably a series review to come).
Or, for arty types with more wallspace than bookshelf space, try this frame-able poster with the complete text of a favorite book. I like both Litographs and Postertext, although there are others. In my opinion, Litographs has the edge here, since they print in color, but I do love this Peter Pan from Postertext:
Carlos Ruis Zafon's The Shadow of the Wind is a gothic, creepy love letter to readers everywhere. It's an obsessive quest fueled by the world's perfect novel, and it will break your heart and freeze your blood. This stunning prose is translated from the Spanish, and the translator has the soul of a poet. (For more on my craziness on translations, see my rant about Dante.) The Name of the Wind by Patrick Rothfuss is one of the most beautifully-written fantasy novels ever written. Even Sister Dear, who doesn't much like fantasy, read this book over and over just because it's so pretty! Its sequel, The Wise Man's Fear, is lovely as well, and I am chomping at the bit waiting for The Doors of Stone (working title), which as of yet has no release date! So, you know, "Just read it! Then we can be friends!"
EXTRA CREDIT: If all else fails, Gentle Readers, combine most booklover's two favorite things: literature and wine. Try this bottle of wine, in "As You Wish" white or "Inconceivable" red, both from Bottle of Wits. I have no idea if it's good wine, but who cares? Everyone needs to own this bottle of wine. It is, of course, best served while reading a copy of the book and/or watching the DVD. Anything else would be inconceivable!
Have a very merry Christmas and a Happy New Year, O Gentle Readers! I'll be back soon with more reviews, fun stuff from the intertubes, and tales of camels from far-off lands. Enjoy your holidays, snuggle up next to a roaring fire, and crack open a good book. That's where I'll be!