Monday, December 6, 2010

Holiday Gifts for Writers

There are lots of blog posts going round with awesome gift ideas, and I'm going to be no different. The gift suggestions below are ones that I've found in the past few weeks that I always think "Dang, I should put that on the blog!" when I see them.

Disclaimer: I have received none of these as samples and have tested none. (That said, I am not adverse to receiving free samples of any of the below, retailers!)

Without further ado, here's my list of things to give other writers, or demand for yourself.

Fun Things

"Ask me about my book" shirt
The perfect gift for anyone--published or not. If not published, then it ensures you have that pitch ready. If published, then it gives you a walking advertising. Win-win!
Link to buy

Never Never Never Give Up plaque
Winston Churchill's famous address to Britons is highly appropriate for every writer.
Link to buy

Pacman Moleskine
This doesn't need any explanation.
Link to buy

Rory's Story Cubes
There's nice dice in the set and you roll some combo of them to tell a story. A good brain-starter, and if you use it as a party game, then you'll totally kill at it!
Link to buy

Reference books
Reference books are always welcome for a writer's shelf. Here are some of my favorites:

An Exhaltation of Larks by James Lipton
This is one of my all-time favorite books and very nearly indispensable. It lists the plural form of hundreds of animals and birds. If nothing else, it teaches you one of my most favorite: a murder of crows.
Link to buy

Chicago Manual of Style, 16th edition
You know you want this. I have the 14th edition and even I want this.Confused as to how to refer to titles in text? Want to know the difference between an em and an en dash? The CMOS has it all. This is writing's definitive style manual, especially for fiction writing.
Link to buy

The A-Z Guide to Perfume
If you missed this a few weeks ago in my Google Reader Roundup, you missed a great one. This book is a fabulous collection of description of scents--and an unexpected reference for writers. Get it, learn from it, and sit in awe of the power of description. I just got my copy in the mail and even Mr. Sierra was absorbed by it. The descriptions and critiques are incredibly well-written and thoughtful, and really teach you to describe something by smell and experience. It's an incredible source. On Amazon, the reviews range the gamut from good to bad, and I noticed that the review giving it one star complained about the "the constant avalanche of snark." I'm sorry, that's a positive. The authors are deliciously and clever in their harsh judgment (and praise, too). But it's the descriptions you'll love. One of my favorites: how on perfume from the 1980s smells like "Burt Reynolds naked on a bear skin rug." As I vaguely remember the sleezy, sweet smell of that perfume, the image was right on. Get this book!
Link to buy

Other Books

The Autobiography of Mark Twain
Did you know Twain wrote this and then left instructions not to publish it until 100 years after his death? Well, it has been, and now it's published. Think of all the people who would have liked to read this but died before now, thanks to Mr. Twain's outrageous selfishness. Count yourself lucky to get a copy.
Link to buy

At Home by Bill Bryson
You can't really go wrong with any of Bryson's books, but At Home in particular is a wonderful traipse through the history of homes and houses, with a focus on those in England. With each chapter, named after a different room, you get not only the history of the room's origins, but also a sociology lesson. For example, the chapter on sculleries and larders delves in a truly fascinating account of servant's lives, especially in the Victorian era. The book in incredibly well-researched and I've learned so much already from it.
Link to buy

Have any to add? This is admittedly a rather incomplete list, but it wasn't meant to exhaustive.


Suzi McGowen said...

I heard the Mark Twain autobiography was *mean*. Downright cruel in some places, which is why he wanted it published so long after his death. (So that the people he was mean about, and probably their immediate heirs would be dead.)

I'm interested, but I liked so much of his snarky humor I'm afraid this would ruin all of his work for me.

Lt. Cccyxx said...

Years back my wife got me the Writers Observation Deck ( It was a neat way to get my creative juices flowing after they'd lain dormant for years.

Also, "On Writing" by Stephen King.

demery bader-saye said...

fun, fun, fun! great ideas.

Roni Loren said...

like "Burt Reynolds naked on a bear skin rug."

That is hilarious. Thanks for the suggestions. :)

Linda G. said...

And don't forget the best gift of all to a loved one who writes: "Here, honey, let me do that [fill in your least favorite holiday chore] for you. You go relax with your characters for a while." :)

Sierra Godfrey said...

Oooh Suzi I hadn't heard that about Twain's bio! I did think that it was a bit strange he could bank so confidently on his enduring popularity that anyone would care in a 100 years about him...or that publishing would still be around!

Lt., Nice suggestions-- I'm going to check out the writer's observation deck.

Demery, it is, huh! Especially when they're for me :)

Roni, if nothing else get the perfume book, it's beyond fabulous.

Amalia T. said...

That scent book sounds FASCINATING. I only wish I had learned about it before I made my Christmas list! NEXT YEAR for sure!

Linda Leszczuk said...

I'm always looking for new reference book ideas, for myself and my friends who write. Thanks for those hints.

Linda Leszczuk said...

Just noticed the addition of the Santa hat. Very cute.

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