An Almanac For The 21st Century

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Gift Guide 2016: Deck the Bookshelves

Gift Guide 2016: Deck the Bookshelves


I tend to give books as gifts when I'm at a loss for what to give. I also give books as gifts when I really think someone will enjoy a particular book. I guess I should say that I think books are a wonderful gift, whether you're desperate for something to give someone or you're looking for a truly heartfelt present. You really can't go wrong with books. Last year for Christmas I gave my dad a book he already owned, and I told him, "Well, go sell it at the University Bookstore and use the money to buy something else. That new thing is your present from me. You're welcome." See? You can't go wrong!

1. All the Birds in the Sky by Charlie Jane Anders $16

I read All the Birds in the Sky this year and was instantly engrossed in the world Charlie Jane Anders created. The book melds the worlds of science fiction and fantasy, and also sets them at odds with each other through two character who are best friends and lovers. As someone who reads a lot of both sci-fi and fantasy, I loved the idea of the two factions being pitted against each other in one story, and the way Anders builds her world is original, compelling, and while fantastical, very rooted in the real world.

2. Area X: The Southern Reach Trilogy by Jef VanderMeer $26

As the name of this collection would suggest, this is actually three books. The Southern Reach Trilogy is three books that were published throughout 2014. It actually makes a lot of sense to read the books (Annihilation, Authority, and Acceptance) back to back, as there are a lot of mysteries to keep track of, so it's nice that they have been collected together in one beautiful volume. The Southern Reach Trilogy is about a group of scientists who explore the mysterious Area X. What is Area X? What happens there? It's all a mystery, but as the story evolves, some mysteries become clear... but others do not. That might be kind of frustrating, but the world-building VanderMeer is capable of is worth any absence of blatantly answered questions, at least for me. Also, Alex Garland, the man behind Ex Machina, is adapting and directing a film version of Annihilation to be released in 2017.

3. Lumberjanes (Vols. 1-3 shown) by Noelle Stevenson, Shannon Watters, and Brooke A. Allen $10 per volume

Is there a "hardcore lady type" in your life who's looking for a story of "friendship to the max!"? Look no further! Lumberjanes tells the story of a group of five best pals who are spending the summer at an unusual camp where they encounter sea monsters, yetis, a bearwoman... and more! The girls must rely on their own special skill and the power of friendship to conquer their foes and learn the secrets of the camp. Lumberjanes is perfect for younger girls (like maybe 4th grade or older?) all the way up to adults. I'm 30 and I love them. Read just one issue and try not to get hooked. This also has a movie adaptation in the works - directed by a hardcore lady type!

4. Nadiya's Kitchen: Over 100 Simple, Delicious Family Recipes by Nadiya Hussain $35

If you watched the sixth season of The Great British Bake Off (which was season 3 in the US) you fell in love with Nadiya Hussain. If you watched and didn't weep when Nadiya won the competition, you are a soulless demon. I am an easy crier, but even Mary Berry cried when Nadiya won, guys. She's that wonderful. Nadiya's cookbook has been out for awhile in the UK, but in June of next year it's going to be released in the US. I assume the measurements and temperatures will be altered for the US publication, which is handy, because I was planning on buying the UK version and just doing a ton of Googling while I struggled through a recipe filled with grams and centigrades.

5. The Feminist Activity Book by Gemma Correll $9

I love crafts. I love feminism. I love every activity in this book that I have seen a preview of on Buy Olympia. This includes: Match the Misogynist With the Ridiculous Quote, Doodle Alternative Uses For a Menstrual Cup, Make Your Own Feminist Merit Badges, and Feminist All-Star Trading Cards.

6. In the Company of Women: Inspiration and Advice from over 100 Makers, Artists, and Entrepreneurs by Grace Bonney $21

I've been excited about this book by Design*Sponge founder Grace Bonney for quite a long time. By the time this post goes live, I may have already bought it for myself, that's how into it I am. The title basically tells you what the book is about, but John and Sherry did a quick interview with Grace Bonney about the production of this book on Episode #18 of Young House Love Has a Podcast that I think is worth a listen (btw, every episode is worth a listen. It's a great podcast!!). A few women who I can't wait to read about who are in this book: Danielle Henderson, Neko Case (who I've pictured above), Janet Mock, Roxane Gay, Abbi Jacobson, and so many more!

Gift Guide 2016: Enamel Pin Madness!

Gift Guide 2016: Enamel Pin Madness!

Gift Guide 2016: All Things Copper

Gift Guide 2016: All Things Copper