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Oh, how I love holiday gift guides!  Aren’t they fun?  You categorize your friends using broad social archetypes, then assign them a monetary value based on how much you love them, and boom! Your shopping’s done for you.

In that spirit, as we approach the sacred season of Advent, let me cash in on the commercialisation of Christmas by presenting a GIFT GUIDE FOR BOOK LOVERS.

I’ll do a few, based on different genres.  I also have another 20 Questions post coming up, which I’ll sprinkle in somewhere like a dash of cinnamon in a delicious Christmas cookie.  (Oh dear God, somebody stop me.)

May I mention, incidentally, than a copy of A Merry Requiem, Part I: The Gathering Storm makes an EXCELLENT present for the book lover in your life, and is now only 99 cents at Smashwords?  All you have to do is go here, buy the book, and enter the code FW74R at checkout.  Smashwords has a “gift purchase” option that makes it very easy to buy their books as presents.

And now without further ado, the BIBLIOPHILE’S GIFT GUIDE – ROMANCE EDITION!

Song of Solomon Bangle

I need this.  This is, like, every kind of nerd-dom that I am.  Ancient love poetry, Bible stuff, and accessorizing.  Get this for me.  Okay, it’s £60, but surely I’m worth it. L’Oreal told me so!

The text reads “set me as a seal upon thine heart, as a seal upon thine arm, for love is strong as death.” – Song of Solomon 8:6.  Versions with words from the works of Christina Rosetti and Elizabeth Barrett Browning are also available.

The British Museum Collection of Chinese Love Poetry

(Also available: Classical Love Poetry, Indian Love Poetry, and Persian Love Poetry)

Do you love somebody?  Do they love poetry?  Do they also love China, Persia, India or the Classical period?  If so, this is the gift that says “I know you better than anyone else, which means you must take me upstairs this instant, despite the fact that I am crammed full of Christmas cookies, barely able to move, and sitting next to your mother.”

Ah, Christmas is kind to lovers, is it not?

This act of literary foreplay will set you back £9.99 at the British Museum shop.

Shakespeare in Love

Clever, romantic, and full of fun in-jokes for Shakespeare fans, this was one of the best romantic comedies of the 90’s – though it can’t really be called a comedy, since the ending is so crap for everyone involved. (Sorry, you’ve had 13 years to watch it – you can’t really cry “Spoilers!!” now, people.)  Judi Dench got an Oscar for 8 minutes of screen time, Gwyneth Paltrow got an Oscar basically for being young and pretty and rather posh, and my obsession with Joseph Fiennes (which peaked with me paying £6 for standing room at the National Theatre to see him in Love’s Labours Lost in 2003) was born.

The link is to HMV. Yes, they’re being shits about not letting their employees have tattoos, but my other option was Amazon, and they’re tax-dodging.  You see my dilemma.

It’s £4. The perfect gift for someone where you’re far enough into a relationship for the word “love” in a gift title not to spook you, but not far enough in that you’ll spend more than a fiver on them.

Romeo and Juliet Magnet

If you want to top up your cheap-ass gift with yet another cheap-ass gift to create one barely acceptable present, you can blow a further £3 on this “Parting is Such Sweet Sorrow” Romeo and Juliet magnet from Shakespeare’s Globe.

God, you suck. Who’d want to date you?

“Reader, I Married Him” Mug.

This would be a great way to propose to someone.  Put the ring box in the mug, wrap them both up, and put it under the tree.

Bit embarrassing if she said no, though.  I mean, then she’d have this mug and it would just be awkward.

This bit of agonizing social anxiety will cost you £9.95

Pride and Prejudice classic cloth-bound edition

This is part of a collection of 29 books, beautifully bound and with gorgeous cover designs.  I chose Pride and Prejudice because I haven’t yet played the Austen fangirl card, but if your love is of a more forbidden sort, you could go for Lady Chatterley’s Lover, and if it’s more of a screwed-up sort, you could go for Tess of the d’Urbervilles, or if you need something other than a ring to go with the mug, you could get Jane Eyre.

I’m trying to think of a romantic relationship that would justify the purchase of Dante’s Inferno, and failing.

£14.99 from Penguin’s website.

The Aphrodisiac Encyclopedia

I really really cannot improve on the alliterative delight that is the publisher’s summary: Of life’s many joys, the pleasures of the table and the delights of the boudoir are without question what make life worth living. Mark Douglas Hill has spent a lifetime in pursuit of foods that encourage friskiness and enhance the frisking. In search of the ultimate aphrodisiac dishes, over the years he has researched and refined, trialed and tested ingredients and recipes from all over the world. This compendium of culinary come-ons is the legacy of his unceasing quest. The Aphrodisiac Encyclopaedia is a veritable cornucopia of titillating titbits – from liquorice to lobster, figs to foie gras, and mango to mint. Along with mouth-wateringly tempting recipes, each entry is packed with diverse and diverting fact – historical, literary, biological and psychological – and the aphrodisiac and amorous qualities of each ingredient examined and appraised. Dig in and delight in the dainties unearthed for your delectation and deviation in this devilishly delicious cookbook.

How To Tell If Your Boyfriend Is The Anti-Christ.

Also includes handy information on detecting whether your paramour is a cult leader, polygamist, and much more.

Hey, sometimes a girl needs a little help.  Don’t judge me.

This potential lifesaver is £6.29 from Foyles.

NEXT TIME ON BIBLIOPHILE’S GIFT GUIDE: Mystery!  Agatha-Christie-inspired jewellery is just the beginning …

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