December 01, 2009

The 2009 Holiday Gift Guide

(Thanks to Salem Evans for major assistance in compiling this year's Gift Guide while I ran around doing cafe stuff! - Ed.)

*Zombies, zombies, zombies
For the zombie enthusiast on your list, the penultimate survival guide now comes in three great flavors:
a) Original (THE ZOMBIE SURVIVAL GUIDE by Max Brooks, Three Rivers Press Trade Paperback $14.95)
b) Flashcards (THE ZOMBIE SURVIVAL GUIDE DECK by Max Brooks, Potter Style, $13.95 - Instructional deck of 50 cards: vital lists, tips and diagrams with even more illustrations than the original book!)
c) Novel (WORLD WAR Z: AN ORAL HISTORY OF THE ZOMBIE WAR by Max Brooks, Three Rivers Press,  Trade Paperback, $14.95 and Hardcover, $24.95)   If you or the folks on your list can't get enough zombies, there's also a lovely new hardcover gift edition of PRIDE AND PREJUDICE AND ZOMBIES by Jane Austen and Seth Grahame-Smith, available.  It's called THE DELUXE HEIRLOOM EDITION (Chronicle Books, Hardcover, $24.95). Additionally, we've got something we can _guarantee_ they don't already have - the "My Zombie Pinup Calendar 2010 - Where beauty eats BRAAAIIINNNNSSS," which is exactly what it sounds like; sexy undead girls in cute risque' outfits, published by good ol' local folks. (, $19.99).  The publisher's website says "We dug up the idea of the 1950's vintage pin-up calendar and hit it over the head with a shovel"!

*As I do every year, I'm  recommending hardcover volumes of well-loved classics for your gift-giving pleasure.  We've got nice hardcover editions of DUNE by Frank Herbert (Ace, $29.95),  THE MISTS OF AVALON by Marion Zimmer Bradley (Del Rey, $30.00), THE PRINCESS BRIDE by William Goldman (Ballantine, $24.95), GOOD OMENS by Neil Gaiman and Terry Pratchett (William Morrow, $29.95), and many, many others.

*Ah, media!  We've got lots of TWILIGHT and its successors by Stephanie Meyer, a nice box set of the first three books in the Percy Jackson series (the first book has just been made into an eponymous movie called THE LIGHTNING THIEF), and, of course, WHERE THE WILD THINGS ARE by Maurice Sendak (Harper, Hardcover, $17.95) a timeless favorite.  We also have the excellent new NightShade Books anthology IMPROBABLE ADVENTURES OF SHERLOCK HOLMES edited by John Joseph Adams (Trade Paperback, $15.95), and, no, that's absolutely not meant to be Jude Law on the cover!  We can represent the "Weird Tales" side of Holmes, too, with GASLIGHT GROTESQUE: NIGHTMARE TALES OF SHERLOCK HOLMES edited by J.R. Campbell and Charles Prepolec (EDGE, Trade Paperback, $16.95).

Speaking of calendars, we have lots of personal day calendars and wall calendars, with a theme for absolutely anyone:  from fine art by Michael Parkes to Bunny Suicides, from Escher to Roald Dahl, from Giger to Breaking Bad News With Baby Animals, from Dr. Suess to Unicorns and oh-so-many more!  Over 50 to choose from.  Calendars range in price from $7.99 to $19.99.

Everything from simple geometric designs to dragons, skulls, and scorpions. Rings range in price from $4.99 - $24.00.

*Edward Gorey
We have a wide array of Gorey merchandise in the store. A few examples include:
a) GOREY'S DRACULA: A TOY THEATRE (Pomegranate, $24.95) - Paper dolls for grownups, (or especially morbid children) based on Gorey's 1970's design for the staged "Dracula".
b) EDWARD GOREY: THE NEW POSTER BOOK (Pomegranate, Oversized Softcover, $19.95) - a collection of some of his most well known illustrations
c) The ever-popular and enduring GASHLYCRUMB TINIES (Harcourt, Small Hardcover, $10.00) - "A is for Amy, who fell down the stairs / B is for Basil, assaulted by bears. . ."
Additionally, we have all of the AMPHIGOREY collections and lots and lots of the individual books, including my all-time favorite, THE CURIOUS SOFA (Harcourt, Small Hardcover, $10.00) which claims to be "a pornographic work by Ogdred Weary" -- actually just suggestive and very funny and not pornographic at all.

*FAMOUS LAST WORDS: FOND FAREWELLS, DEATHBED DIATRIBES AND EXCLAMATIONS UPON EXPIRATION edited by Ray Robinson (Workman, Small Hardcover, $9.95) - This book puts famous last words and the last words of the famous into context. It runs the gamut from weird and irreverent to honestly touching.

*THE POP-UP BOOK OF PHOBIAS by Gary Greenberg and Balvis Rubess (William Morrow and Co., Oversized Hardcover, $29.95) - Guaranteed to get you out of baby-sitting for the rest of your life.  We also carry THE POP-UP BOOK OF NIGHTMARES.

There are still some hand-made steampunk clocks (made with found wood and weird dials and, in one specially memorable case, an enormous flat hard drive and bits of church organ) from local Black Heart Industries left! For an extra special gift, or for the geek who has everything.

*Speaking of steampunk, it's everywhere now - steampunk is the new zombies!  If you want to be right on top of the trend, pick up BONESHAKER by Cherie Priest (Tor, Trade Paperback,  $15.99) LEVIATHAN by Scott Westerfeld (Simon Pulse, Hardcover, $19.99), BOILERPLATE: HISTORY'S MECHANICAL MARVEL by Paul Guinan and Anina Bennett (Abrams, Oversized Hardcover, $24.95), MAINSPRING by Jay Lake (Tor, Mass Market, $7.99), SOULLESS by Gail Carriger (Orbit, Mass Market, $7.99) or the original STEAMPUNK anthology edited by Ann and Jeff VanderMeer (Tachyon Publications, Trade Paperback, $14.95).

*Imported wooden boxes
Sizes range from a deck of cards up to small chests with designs including Celtic knots, metalwork, and pentacles.  Recommended for almost anyone.  Prices range from $5.00 to $48.00)

*XKCD book by Randall Munroe (breadpig, Other Softcover, $18.00) -
Good not only for fans of the comic, but for newcomers as well. This book includes extra doodlings and ponderings of the author alongside the mouse-over text from the website.

Tired of glitter-encrusted snowmen and trees? Try writing your Christmas missive on one of these awesome sci-fi postcards. Taken from retro covers of magazines and pulp novels, perennial favorites include "The Gods Hate Kansas" and "Sin In Space"! $1 each.

*THE BLADE ITSELF by Joe Abercrombie (Pyr, Trade Paperback, $15.98) - Are you (or someone dear to you) frustrated with waiting for the next SONG OF ICE AND FIRE book?  Do you (or they) like fantasy hugely bloody, with a thread of dark humor?  This is our recommendation; a trilogy that's actually finished, with an additional book (BEST SERVED COLD, the start of a new series) that stands just fine on its own and is one of my favorite titles from 2009.

*AMERICAN FANTASTIC TALES edited by Peter Straub) (Library of America, 2 hardcover volumes in slipcase, $70.00) - From the Library of America website: "From its beginning, American literature teems with tales of horror, hauntings, terrifying obsessions and gruesome incursions, of the uncanny ways in which ordinary reality can be breached and subverted by the unknown and the irrational. In the tales of Poe, and Hawthorne, and their literary successors, the bright prospects of the New World face an uneasy reckoning with the forces of darkness. As this pathbreaking two-volume anthology demonstrates, it is a tradition with many unexpected detours and hidden chambers, and one that continues to evolve, finding new forms and new themes."  I strongly recommend this amazing (and gorgeously packaged) collection.  One volume covers "From Poe to the Pulps" and the other covers "The 1940's Until Now".

And, as always, we're glad to help make suggestions, and we have gift certificates if you're just not sure.  We can also arrange for gift credits -- essentially gift certificates that you can give to out-of-town folks to be used for mail orders -- if some of the genre fans in your life live remotely.

Happy holidays to you, from all of us!

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