Books gift guide 2008
About this time last year, the big holiday-gift push was to persuade your book-loving loved one to renounce print once and for all and take up the Kindle. This year, instead of trying to change your beloved bibliophile, make him or her more comfortable. The Bookarrest, by designer Robert Pachowski, is a slim, slick-looking rest thathe claimscan ease eye strain by propping the book at a proper angle. The whole thing compresses into the shape of a manila folder, and this one comes with a design, from hot-stuff Amsterdam-based designer Atti. Youll have to order directly from bookarrest.com, and the polypropylene version, like the Atti one, costs 10 euros (or $12.76). The aluminum version will run you $63.80 but comes with a free polypropylene Bookarrest, as well. For those who read a couple of books at oncesimultaneously.
There are enough cool, weird and peculiar cartoonists working today to fill at least two hardbound tomes, as Chicago graphic novelist Ivan Brunetti (Schizo) has done. An Anthology of Graphic Fiction, Cartoons & True Stories, Vol. 2, contains some of todays greats, including Chris Ware, Ben Katchor, Anders Nilsen and Chester Brown. Its a great omnibus for anyone who either has been intrigued by the recent resurgence of comics in our culture or for the enthusiast/completist in your life. $28, 57th Street Books, 1301 E 57th St, 773-684-1300. semcoop.booksense.com.
The original LOLcat
If you have an e-mail account and even an ounce of existential angst, chances are your friends have sent you the Garfield Minus Garfield web comic. An Internet sensation now in book form, GMG takes actual Jim Davispenned cartoons and Photoshops out the titular fat cat. The result is a very lonely, loony Jon Arbuckle. Garfields owner is left mumbling to himself and often staring into the abyss of his life, but the abyss refuses to stare back. $12, Quimbys, 1854 W North Ave, 773-342-0910. www.quimbys.com.
Literary grab bag
McSweeneys has now been around long enough that its easy to forget just how important and innovative the literary press has been over the last decade. In addition to top-flight books, McSweeneys publishes the vital, eponymous literary quarterly, the monthly culture magazine The Believer, and the quarterly DVD zine, Wholphin. The price of the subscription combo weighs in a little hefty, but considering that your recipient will receive some of the most intriguing serials around, its worth it. $135, mcsweeneys.net.
The winter tends to be a halcyon time for a writer. With the weather so miserable, its much easier to hunker down and get to work in the comfort of ones own home. But what if ones own homereplete with kids, cable television or a tempting couchisnt that comfortable for writing? Sign the aspiring writer in your life up for a spin at the Writers WorkSpace, a haven for the working writer who cant get down to business at home. Depending on the package, it could run you $70$125 a month, but contact the space at firstname.lastname@example.org to talk it over.