Monday, December 1, 2008

The Leaving Shangri-L.A. Holiday Gift Guide

Ahh, tis the season for frantic Amazon.com hopping, balancing stacks at The Strand, and hoping that art book isn't going to land on your head at Barnes & Noble. Yes, holiday shopping is upon us, and I find the most touching gift, next to something handmade, is a well-chosen new book to love. I've been told I have book karma--the ability to chose just the book one was looking for (and five more they had no idea existed). It's a tough gift to manifest online, but here are some suggestions for some of the fantastically eccentric types you might find hitchiking out of Shangri-L.A.

I've recommended some out-of-print books too lovely to ignore. You can hunt them down at your local casa de used books, or (carefully!) find them online.

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The Kid at Heart will love you for indulging their inner child with cute craft books like Tiny Treats and Beautiful Doodles and wonderfully weird stories by Daniel Pinkwater, collected in 5 Novels and 4 Fantastic Novels. Magic Trixie's meant for the middle-grade-reader crowd, but Jill Thompson's amazing art gives it appeal for those who love a good witchy story. The classic Betsy-Tacy series is near and dear to my heart, and any girl who loves an old-fashioned family story with tons of period detail will eat them up--I especially love the sometimes-neglected high school quartet. Is she a sucker for a painfully sweet holiday story? Then pass on The Legend of Holly Claus. Kids at heart with an artistic flair will always appreciate a beautiful picture book. How about Mermaids on Parade, or The Girl in the Castle in the Museum, or The Salamander Room, or The Jewel Box Ballerinas?

Pair the book with: interesting and odd art supplies, finger puppets or small stuffed animals, or jewelry that looks like food

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The Urban Fairy is a sweet, drifty sort who soaks up beauty. Fairie-Ality and Fairy Island will make her squeal in delight--not to mention the classic, Suza Scalora's The Fairies. Is she a New Yorker, or wishes she was one? Try The Good Fairies of New York or Changeling. Dame Darcy's twistedly lovely comics will go over well--try Gasoline and her Meatcake comic books. Something dreamy to look at, like Girlosophy or Inspired Gatherings, and something lovely to cook from, like The Teany Book or Sweet Serendipity,  will absolutely thrill the urban fae type.

Pair with: a bubble wand, a tiny bottle of glitter on a necklace, a hardy but pretty potted plant, a suncatcher, a feather butterfly garland, or shiny hair doodads

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The Vampire Fangirl is probably chewing your ear off about the joys of sparkly bloodsuckers. Give her a new and improved heroine with Sunshine--a baker who makes charms and pastry with historical allusions and kicks major supernatural butt? That's my kind of girl. If she prefers her vampire romance on the giggly side, pick up the Vampire Kisses series or the insanely adorable School Bites graphic novels. Of course, nothing beats the classic Interview with the Vampire. (I can only guarantee the quality of the first two books in that series--after that, caveat emptor.) From the Dust Returned is the tale of a supernaturally gifted family and their mortal child; it's fable-like and melancholic and will appeal to many a vampire fan. If they'd like a bit of sensationalist nonfiction, track down Piercing the Darkness for an inside look at people who claim to be actual vampires.

Pair with: A piece of gothically ornate costume jewelry, a gift certificate to a costume shop, wineglasses, or tarot cards

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The Happy Sapphist has no right to bitch about a gift of The Femme's Guide to the Universe or Girl Meets Girl if she's a newbie to the scene. If she's up on historical fiction, gift her with Tipping the Velvet (or the gorgeous miniseries based on it) or The Privilege of the Sword. Not so down with bodice ripping or swashbuckling? Track down some crazy decedant omnisexual speculative fiction (read: SciFi/Fantasy) novel, like Rock'N'Roll Babes from Outer Space. This list can help you narrow it down.

Pair with: A movie! Better than Chocolate and Itty Bitty Titty Committee are must-sees. Or else a set of ironic dress-up magnets, a tiny classical nude statue, a calendar of Nuns Having Fun or a book of postcards by her art heroine.

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The Kitschionista is easy to please with a copy of some vintage-inspired craft guide like The Naughty Secretary Club: The Working Girl's Guide to Handmade Jewelry or The Big-Ass Book of Crafts. (I heart you so hard, Mark Montano.) Gorgeously eccentric, pop-culture filled memoirs like Queen of the Oddballs and Nasty: My Family and Other Glamorous Varmints will tickle her immensely and make her wish for a life less ordinary--then go find it! If in doubt, think colorful and weird, like Bitter With Baggage Seeks Same, The Gallery of Regrettable Food and its sequel Gastroanomalies, This is Blythe, and the absolutely hysterical and classic I Like You: Hospitality Under the Influence.

Pair with: Hideously beautiful jewelry from the op shop, nail polish in colors to coordinate with the book's cover, sillicon baking supplies, or a scarf made of wild handspun yarn

5 comments:

carey said...

ok, now i want to add all of these books to my own christmas list!

Rie said...

I've been told I have that effect on people!

Penelope said...

Oh man. I think I've just entered into a biblio-coma. My Paperback Swap wishlist is going to be overflowing when I'm done adding all these new books!

Always,
Penelope ♥

(P.s. Serendipity 3 has a cookbook?!)

Cassandra said...

I love the urban faerie list!! I've been meaning to read Dame Darcy's comics.

ed said...

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