A Few Good Gift Guides

I find that I don’t give a lot of gifts during the holidays. I never have, really, and that is why I am always surprised by the amount of time that I spend flipping through the pages of catalogs and scrolling through holiday gift guides online. I have decided to put my mild obsession with finding the perfect gift that I will never give to good use and point out a couple of my favorites – so far.

A Book Gift GuideThe Skinny

This Scottish site describes itself as specializing in “Independent Cultural Journalism” and, from the few articles I have stumbled across in recent weeks, I think they do a pretty good job at it.  The only reason I don’t follow more closely is that….well, I’m not Scottish, so I feel a bit out of the loop on some things. That very thing, though, is what makes their Book Gift Guide so appealing.  I’ve never heard of several of the books, and their descriptions make them all seem very appealing. I’m most intrigued by the collection of short stories they suggest for the Scottish literature fan – Wasted in Love by Allan Wilson.  I’m going to get this one as a gift  for myself and use it as my introduction to the world of Scottish fiction.

Literary Geek Gift GuideGlittering Scrivener

Maria Dahvana Headley is the super interesting author of Queen of Kings, a novel that answers the seemingly random question “what if Cleopatra were a vampire?”  The answer is odd, frightening, and bordering on magical.  Substitute  the word “delightful” for “frightening” in the previous sentence, and that describes the series of Literary Geek Gift Guides that she has in the works. The first two installments, Gifts for the New Weird Woman and New Weird Man, appeared earlier this week, and she says she has maybe 5 or 6 more in the works.  While the books that she recommends are more than enough reason to visit, I love the description of the potential gift recipient that she supplies.  Here’s a bit on the New Weird Woman:

Her tattoos (she has tattoos. Maybe you haven’t seen them yet, but she has them) are bits taken from Pompeiian murals, and poems in dead languages.  She probably owns a bat skeleton.  She wears antique cocktail rings on all her fingers, along with a tailcoat, a 30′s sequined gown, and a pair of turquoise cowboy boots she bought in Marfa. She’s very likely cooler than you are.

I met Maria when she came through town on her book tour, and, believe me, she is cooler than all of us.

Bibliophilia for Beginners –  The Wall Street Journal

This is not a gift guide in the same way that the others are.  Instead, they offer a guide on how to purchase rare books for your bibliophile friends.  I do not have a rare book collection, but I periodically beg the people in my life to buy them for me. Of course, the ones that I want are way beyond their means, so it has not happened yet. I remain hopeful.  Anyway, given my desire to one day be one of those rare book collectors they are describing, I found this buying guide incredibly informative and educational. The best thing that I got from it is how to take care of the books that I have now so that my grandchildren can fight over them later.

What sort of book-related gift giving do you have planned this holiday season?