Top Ten Gifts for Readers and Writers: Cyber-Monday is Here!

Got a reader and/or writer on your Christmas list? Take advantage of Cyber-Monday with these unique offerings for your favorite nerd. And I mean that in the most loving way possible, of course.

10. Favorite Writer’s Coasters

Even first-class swillers like the infamous… indulgers… Hunter S. Thompson and Charles Bukowski didn’t want nasty water rings left on their bedside table. Honor their memories and wishes with these snazzy coasters from Retrowhale and take advantage of 15% off your order, today only.  Use order code Retro77.

9.  Big Books Tote Bag

Make Sir Mix-a-lot proud and your children cringe with this bag from Pamela Fugate Designs. Free shipping!

8.  Tolkein Ring

As your favorite Tolkein geek will explain to you, the wizard Gandalf says this in The Fellowship of the Ring

7.  Bamboo Bath Caddy

A book, a bubble bath, and wine? I’ll be out around the end of February. Maybe. 10% off with the code “Cyber” at Macy’s.

6.  Massage Bed Rest from Brookstone

Ooohhh… Okay. It does remind me a bit of the flying chairs in the movie “Wall-E” but I’ll take one. I bet any other reader you know would love it as well. Massage, place for a drink, pockets, a reading light? Yes, please. 5% off Cyber-Monday with the code Pinit5.

5.  Hemingway Gift Box from Royal Palm Arts

Set includes a 6 oz stainless steel flask, a pair of shot glasses, a leather notebook, a wooden cigar caddy/pencil holder, and two pencils. Fill up the flask and throw in a couple of Cubans and you’ve got yourself a right manly Christmas there, my friend.

4. Demeter Fragrances: Paperback

Forget pheromones! I hope this comes in a male version. Books and manliness? Gimme.  Description promises, “A trip to your favorite library or used bookstore. Sweet and lovely with just a touch of the musty smell of aged paper, Demeter’s Paperback harnesses that scent with a sprinkling of violets and a dash of tasteful potpourri.”

3.  Scrabble: Book Lover’s Edition

Gather ’round kids, where I introduce you to this concept that came, yes, BEFORE “Words With Friends.” In this Scrabble edition, you get extra points for playing names of novels and authors. I’m not entirely sure why you couldn’t do that on a regular Scrabble board, but hey, this one looks all library-y and stuff. Cyber-Monday deals at Amazon. 

2.  Literary iPhone Covers

I love these. Love them! Perhaps I’ll even be persuaded to dump my 3G in order to get one. Or several. Hurry, limited editions and sadly, TKAM is already gone.  At Uncommon Goods.

1. Gift Certificate for Uninterrupted Reading and/or Writing Time

While all the previous ideas are fabulous, what most readers and writers want more than anything is some unfettered time…time free of needy kids, inquiring significant others, ringing phones, knocks at the door, email… Better yet, pair this with one or more of the other gifts listed here and make your favorite bibliophile/author very happy indeed.

Seven Wonderful Christmas Stories: Listen, Love, Remember

Looking for some great Christmas stories to listen to as you cook or wrap gifts?  Here are some of the best, both modern and traditional, to make your holiday tasks fly by!

“The Santaland Diaries” made humorist David Sedaris famous in 1997. The story recounts the exploits of a 30-something under-employed author who finds a temporary job at Macy’s department store, working as an elf in Santa’s Village. “I wear green, velvet knickers, a forest green velvet smock and a perky little hat decorated with spangles. This is my work uniform,” the story begins. Sedaris is deservedly famous both for his humor and his keen insight into human behavior.

A Christmas Memory by Truman Capote. Hear Capote himself read this touching Christmas story as he remembers his childhood with his eccentric, child-like aunt, who made the young author’s troubled childhood not only bearable but special.  The story invites us as ghostly guests to

Imagine a morning in late November. A coming of winter morning more than twenty years ago. Consider the kitchen of a spreading old house in a country town. A great black stove is its main feature; but there is also a big round table and a fireplace with two rocking chairs placed in front of it. Just today the fireplace commenced its seasonal roar.

If you would prefer to read the story rather than listen, a full text version can be found here.

Christmas Freud by David Rakoff. In 1996, New York’s Barney’s department store, famous for their elaborate and sometimes eccentric Christmas display windows, hired essayist David Rakoff to play Sigmund Freud to create a live performance art piece. Rakoff sat in the window. Various actors pretended to be his patients before a crowd of curious and often confused onlookers. Rakoff records his thoughts about his role in the farce as well as numerous funny, cynical observations about the crowd.

A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens. Listen to this classic tale read by Orson Welles in this 1938 version, recorded live at the historic Mercury Theatre. There is still time to mend your ways!

The Little Match Girl by Hans Christian Andersen. Along with “The Brothers Grimm,” Hans Christian Andersen is responsible for recording in print a good number of the folktales with which most of us are familiar. In this sentimental story, written in 1845, a poor child lives out her hopes and dreams in her imagination, even as her life slips away.

‘Twas the Night Before Christmas by Clement Clarke Moore. Who doesn’t know Clement Clarke Moore’s famous opening lines? ” Twas the night before Christmas, / And all through the house, / Not a creature was stirring, / Not even a mouse.” Listen to the poem in its entirety as you bake with your kids or wrap up those last minute gifts once they’re in bed!

John Henry Faulk’s Christmas Story. A traditional favorite on NPR, storyteller and musician John Henry Faulk’s recollections of the holidays in his native Texas have been a staple of holiday listening for fans since 1974. The tale begins with Faulk as an adult. He recalls:

The day after Christmas a number of years ago, I was driving down a country road in Texas. And it was a bitter cold, cold morning. Walking ahead of me on the gravel road was a little bare-footed boy with non-descript ragged overalls and a makeshift sleeved sweater tied around his little ears. I stopped and picked him up. Looked like he was about 12 years old and his little feet were blue with the cold. He was carrying an orange.

That orange, who gave this impoverished child so much joy, makes Faulk, and his listeners, re-evaluate their priorities during the hectic holiday season.