Monday, 6 December 2010

Katie's Christmas Gift Guide Part 4: Bookworms

Do you remember when they first made the internet and everyone was like, 'In ten years there will be no books.Fact.' Well, they were wrong. Books still make the best gifts, in my book (see what I did there) whether as stocking fillers or as a theme for more inventive gifts. The Literary Gift Company does what it says on the tin; a great failsafe for bookworms. Here are some more personalised recommendations for friends of mine who are book fans, storytellers, or even clever enough to have written books themselves.

Naomi Alderman, 30s, an author and journalist.
Interests: all sorts of stuff really, cooking and classical history and meditation and swimming and computer games and philosophy and excellent TV and, and, and probably other things too.
Realistic expectations for under the Menorah: a Global cook's knife, Beautiful Evidence by Edward Tufte, a gift certificate for Steven Shaw method swimming lessons, the children's book A Street Through Time because it is so stare-at-able Ideal gift of your dreams: could I have three weeks studying Italian in Bologna please? And lessons at the Cordon Bleu school? And a housing price crash? (Or just a house, since we're in my dreams.) 

Katie's Recommendations: For people who are like Naomi but not actually Naomi, I would recommend buying Naomi's book The Lessons, because its ruddy brilliant. But if you're not sure of a person's taste in books, then its safest to go for a classic- however many times you've read these titles, they'll still look smashing on your bookshelf in these gorgeous covers by Coraline Bickford-Smith. Then if you really like the person, have Jane Mount do a bookshelf portrait- either a real one or the bookshelf of their dreams.

Jane Bradley, 25, Journalist  / Editor / PR & Social Media Mistress, Editor or For Books' Sake
Interests: Lemon cheesecake, feminism, sleazy pulp paperbacks, feminism, pin-up tattoos, Amaretto and homoerotic Harry Potter fanfiction. 

Realistic expectations for under your tree: Being editor of For Books' Sake, I always have my eye out for accessories or homewares with a bookish bent. The Penguin Book Chase boardgame would be ideal for Christmas, because it's a neat twist on the traditional Trivial Pursuit but still accessible for all ages. Wild & Wolf's recent typerwriter range makes the stationery nerd in me drool, and I'd completely swoon if Santa brought me one of these pulp fiction purses.

Ideal Christmas gift of your dreams; The Weasley twins naked except for a strategically-placed string of tinsel? No? Then how about a writing retreat? Just me, some sunshine, some paper and a pen. Sounds like heaven. Mslexia feature an assortment of courses and retreats, sometimes with special discounts for subscribers. And although I know it's not the season for it, I still wish I had a Penguin deckchair to recline in while reading. It'd made me feel so much more cultured as I thumb my erotica anthologies! 

Katie's Recommendations: Seeing those Pulp fiction purses reminds me of these amazing clutch bags by Olympia Le Tan. Unfortunately the prices are also amazing. These Etsy versions by Smart Designing are much more affordable.

Rachel Rose Reid,20s, Storyteller;some curious combination of writer and performerInterests:Building community in the city, trainrides through the countryside, talking to strangers on the tube, new experiences
Realistic expectations for under your tree; Great fairytales for adults can be found in thePantheon Fairy Tales and Folklore collection. Why must gifts be objects?  I love a great surprise. Why not make a little treasure trail of activities for your loved one, using some of the city's best hidden gems, like the candlelit nights at Dennis Severs House, the eccentric walks led by London Walks - they even go to Paris, so no need to stay at home! Or might I suggest Bedtime Storynights the curious pyjama-clad night that I run with David Carter at his decadent hotel 40 Winks .Quiet places to write in the city are a total blessing, so membership of a place that guarantees a little more space. For those who can't hang about on club waiting lists, even the Southbank Centreoffers a little more peace with its coffee, making a great writing spot.
Ideal Christmas gift of your dreams; World Passport (and a teleporter, time machine & immediate ability to communicate in all languages to go with it!)  
Katie's Recommendations: I'd always be nervous about buying Rachel a book she already has, so for people who have read everything, why not make them a book from scratch?Blurb books will help you.

Katherine Hibbert, 29, Writer – author of Free: Adventures on the Margins of a Wasteful Society,about my experience of a couple of years of living – often quite luxuriously - on what others throw away, as a squatter and a scavenger.
Interests: Free stuff – free time, free food, free homes, free fun, freedom.Reading, swimming in the sea, arguing.  Also music and dogs.
Realistic expectations for under your tree; Anything home-made. I’d like to think I always knew that the most important things in my life were my friends, my family and my boyfriend, but I don’t think I really realised it until I got rid of everything else to live for free. We had an amazing “skipmass” in out squat last year – the skips at the backs of shops were stuffed with still-fresh food after closing time on Christmas Eve, and someone had found some out of date wine (does wine go out of date?) so we had a delicious, huge Christmas dinner, played charades, had fun, felt warm and loved, and I honestly didn’t miss getting presents people had spent money on.  
Ideal Christmas gift of your dreams; I’d like a Vivienne Westwood dress and a surfing holiday in Biarritz as much as the next girl, but without wanting to sound too pious, I can’t think of anything I’d rather be given than something someone has put love and thought into making for me. And a puppy – a grey miniature poodle, please.

Katie's Recommendations: Flavorpill has put together a brilliant list of DIY projects for old books.If you visit your local charity shop, tip or Re-use centre you can usually find nice hardback copies of books like 'The Beauty of English Bridges' which you can be pretty sure no-one is ever going to read again,so won't feel bad transforming it into a treasure box or lampshade.

1 comment:

Style Souk said...

Oh, I couldn't agree more!

To receive a book for Christmas - or any other time of the year, for that matter - is to receive the most beautiful gift of all.

I have only today discovered your blog - quite why it has taken so long, this lazy sod may never explain! - and promise to return.

Sarah x

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