I don’t care about Christmas, or Hannukah for that matter (my family is Jewish), but I do love giving presents. Hunting for treats for my beloveds is one of the great pleasure of shopping, perhaps even more so than buying for myself (capitalism in the name of looove!). Making gifts is also the jam, like making a xeroxed “anthology” of stories/poems/essays you love, or creating cheerful/horrifying collages for your art-loving pals. But if you’re buying gifts for loved ones who love to read, here are some suggestions from me to you:
–chapbooks from Guillotine: these small, gorgeous chapbooks have letterpressed covers and wonderfully divergent innards. The newest from Guillotine, a split chapbook with stories by Sofia Samatar and Kat Howard, made me have really weird dreams. BFF and Honorary Men were also released this year, and I’ve read and loved them as well. You can’t go wrong with any of these titles, or, if you’re a big spender, ALL of them– that’d make a glamorous and compelling package.
–Johnny Would You Love Me If… by Brontez Purnell: Yes I would! I haven’t read this brand new book from Purnell yet, but The Cruising Diaries is fantastically funny and addictive and I’ll bet this one is too. The book description begins, “Purnell offers part case study and part (fictional) Scene Report on the incidentals and consequences of hipster life from the viewpoint of a young man in crisis. He’s a slut. He’s a nerd. He’s a working class hero. He’s an American waiter, often bored at work.” So there you go.
–Bone Bouquet publishes all your favorite female poets so why aren’t you a subscriber already? Or, if you are already, why haven’t you bought your friends subscriptions?
–Sister Spit has opened their online store for the month of December to raise funds for their 2016 tour. Among the rad things you can acquire: a perfume based on Jewelle Gomez’s lesbian vampire novel The Gilda Stories and a chapbook by Myriam Gurba.
–This gorgeous letterpressed poster, featuring Audre Lorde, is only $10, and 100% of the proceeds go to the wonderful/direly needed Audre Lorde Project.
–Is John Waters’ Christmas tour coming through your town? Obviously you must take a loved one and make all their filth dreams come true.
–Sleepybowie on Etsy does these great, nutso celebrity portraits; I commissioned one for my girlfriend for her birthday once and it was a hit (Bruce Springsteen with the body of a maltese, if you must know). You can do the same– just send them a message with the person you’d like painted and the animal/object you’d like their head attached to. Author portraits, anyone?
–My local indie bookshop, Avid, has a fun/exciting book subscription program where you prepay for 3 months/6 months/whatever, give them some info on your recipient, and they then send one book a month that’s been hand-picked for that person. Rad! Will, who’s in charge of the book subscriptions, has superb taste and is an author himself (of the excellent YA novel Anything Could Happen). Give them a call and they can hook you up (you don’t need to be from Athens!).
–CB I Hate Perfume’s In the Library is one of my favorite scents: the delicious, soft smell of old books and a hint of vanilla. There’s also A Room with a View (inspired by the Forster novel), Black March (inspired by a Stevie Smith poem), and November (inspired by a Tove Jansson novel).
–One of my favorite people/poets, Christine Shan Shan Hou, has prints of her wild and fantastic collages available at her Etsy shop, including the collage she made for the cover of Joanna Ruocco’s novel Dan.
–Finally, in a blatant act of tooting my own horn, I have to recommend the Birds of Lace broadside folio, featuring letterpressed broadsides of poems by LaTasha N. Nevada Diggs, Cathy Park Hong, Niina Pollari, and Christine Shan Shan Hou. They’ll fix that depressingly empty office cubicle/empty wall up right quick!