‘Tis a Gift to be Simple (or a Magic Gazebo)

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This monkey is ready to help.

Need some hints as to what to get (or not get) the writer in your life for the holidays? Chuck Wendig has a few suggestions. Two things I’m adding to my wish list:

6. A HELPER MONKEY
You know how often I could use the help of a charming little helper monkey? Uhh, like, always. “Hey, Admiral Monkeyshines, hand me my coffee. And my iPad. And can you scratch my back? No, not there. Over. Over. Left. Now up. Now down. Perfect…

13. NEIL GAIMAN’S MAGIC GAZEBO
Speaking of one’s own rooms and territorial bubbles, you could just steal Neil Gaiman’s magic penmonkey gazebo. I like to believe that it is Gaiman’s creative womb — the light-side equivalent of that evil black lacquered egg that Darth Vader hibernates in. I suspect that, whenever he takes a journey into story-land, the gazebo literally leaves this earth and penetrates the dimensional fontanelle and takes Gaiman to magical far-off-lands.

What if you had a helper monkey in Neil Gaiman’s gazebo??? Best idea ever, right? And usually I find monkeys distrustful, but I’m pretty sure this monkey would have a glimmer of wisdom (not malice) in his eye.

I also like Wendig’s thoughts on getting your writer friend a notebook: ” Yeah, lots of people seem to think writers need blank notebooks. We probably don’t.” I still like notebooks but a) I use my computer way more than a notebook to write and b) when I need a notebook, I like picking out my own. A lot depends on how it feels, how you write, etc., and it’s hard to guess that for someone else.

If a helper monkey and a gazebo aren’t within your financial realm (I know, right?), these are some pretty cool bookish-inspired gifts, too.

(image: ruminatrix)

A Book is a Gift that Keeps on Giving

One of my favorite bookstores is Brookline Booksmith, which is a short walk from my apartment. (Hurray!) On their blog today, Emily talks about how the best books are given from the heart. They create an intimate connection between the giver and the receiver–the giver wants to share something personal they felt, or wants the receiver to experience a similar joy, etc. Gifts, and books in particular, are personal.

Her post reminded me of my friend Akshay who always give books to friends–not just on their birthday, or because they did something gift-worthy, just because he thinks that person will enjoy the book. Sometimes the books are new; sometimes they’re his old copy. He doesn’t make a big show about it or expect anything in return. He’s a very generous book-giver. I think it would be great if more people swapped books with the same enthusiasm. Maybe that’ll be my resolution this year. (After losing not one but two copies of The Princess Bride, I have a tendency to hoard my books.)

What kinds of books do you give away, and to whom?