Thursday, December 19, 2013

Best Christmas Gift Book Ideas for Oddly Specific People on Your List: 2013

As a blogger, I have a really bad habit. You see, I have a terribly short memory and will frequently come up with "ideas" for posts, only to realize (usually after I have written and hit publish) that I basically already wrote the same blog post a year ago. So as I was thinking about a blog about gifting for the holiday season, in my head I started re-writing this post that I wrote a year ago. But then I realized that if I made it a series and did it every year and it was intentional, I wasn't plagiarising myself, I was just creating repeat content. So I present you with The Best Books to Buy as Gifts for Oddly Specific People on your list.

For your brother who is a bibliophile, but also want to work at Google and recently moved to San Francisco
Mr. Penumbra's 24-Hour Bookstore by Robin Sloan.

Clay was a designer for a popular tech company, but when the bubble bursts, he needs a job and begins working as a night clerk at a mysterious old bookstore. He soon notices that the clientele are odd, come in the middle of the night and seem to borrow books in telling patterns.

The book is part mystery, part love letter to books, part techno-nerd geek out. I listened to the audio book and it would be a great one to listen to with older kids on a long holiday road trip.

For your Aunt who loves "The Jerk" and is slightly neurotic and just created her profile.

The Pleasure of my Company by Steve Martin

Remember when Steve Martin was just that one funny guy in those funny movies? And then you found out he was a writer and you thought "Vanity project!" and then you read one of the books and it was touching and beautiful and artfully written? And you really wished Steve Martin would stop sucking up all the talent in the world.

This book is the story of Daniel,  a bit of a recluse who watches the world go by from the safety of his Santa Monica apartment. He's neurotic and odd but completely charming and his story will warm the cold dark cockles of your heart (I've never actually used the word cockles in a sentence before and I am feeling pretty good about it.)

For your Dad who just got a Kindle Fire and keeps saying he really wants to "get into these graphic novels the kids are always talking about" and loves Star Wars, Romeo and Juliet and really weird sci-fi.

Saga by Brian K. Vaughan and Fiona Staples

This was my first foray in graphic novels written for grown ups and I thought it was awesome. It definitely has some adult content, so please don't give this to your 12 year old nephew. The artwork is great, the story is odd and crazy but fascinating, and I can't want to read volume 2. And then wait a billion years for volume 3 to come out.

For your sister who is the one that told your dad he should read all those graphic novels and was at the midnight showing of all the Marvel movies

The Girl Who Would be King by Kelly Thompson

This book is the story of two girls who's mothers both die tragically around the same time. They both discover that they have inherited extraordinary powers and have to decide how to use them. The book expertly jumps back and forth between the two girls points of view as one chooses to use her powers for good and one chooses less virtuous pursuits.

The descriptions sounds a little lame and obvious, but Thompson creates two distinct characters who are equally likable and interesting, even though one is good and one is evil. And their names are Lola LaFever and Bonnie Braverman. How great is that?

For your co-worker who loves the 1930s and was super excited for The Great Gatsby to come out and then, like most people was disappointed

Rules of Civility by Amor Towles

It's hard to describe this book exactly. It's basically a story of a girl, Katey Kontent, who meets an upper class investment banker, Tinker Grey in a bar on New Years even in 1937. Its about class, New York, the 30s and has great characters. It's not the type of book I normally read, but I was hooked.

Did I miss anyone? I feel like this pretty much covers every oddly specific person on your list. And stay tuned - after Christmas we'll be sharing all the PTAs best books of the year.
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