Welcome to The Millions 4th Annual Gift Guide! As usual, we’ve got gifts sure to delight all the writers and readers in your life, and maybe something for your niece—the one you don’t know that well, but who apparently likes books.
For the Champion of the Written Word
Do you have a friend who wrinkles her nose at the sight of your e-reader? Who uses actual bookmarks? Who may be single-handedly responsible for the solvency of your local independent bookstore? Then this is the perfect bookend for her—or anyone who thinks literature needs saving.
For the Autodidact
The Novel: A Biography, by Michael Schmidt, $30
This is an ambitious book for ambitious reader. To quote Jonathan Russell Clark, writing for this site, it’s a big book, really big: “At just under 1,200 pages, the book tackles the subject of the novel in English, a 700-year history. Its pages are densely researched and necessarily erudite. The print is small, and the thing weighs over six pounds. It took me over two months to read it in its entirety. Like I said, it’s big.”
Buy this for anyone who is trying to catch up on all the literature classes they didn’t get around to taking—which is basically anyone who majored in English.
For the Aspiring Writer
The Small Magazine Publication Kit
Many writers get their start with publications in small magazines. But, as anyone who has submitted to small magazines knows, it’s a time-consuming and sneakily costly process. So, help out your aspiring friend with what I’m calling “The Small Magazine Publication Kit”, which includes subscriptions to Poets & Writers magazine ($16.95), Duotrope ($50), and Journal of the Month ($40-105), along with The Rumpus’s inimitable Write Like A Motherfucker mug ($15). Maybe include a pound of coffee, too.
For the Writer-in-Residence
The ideal travel lamp for the writer who wants to bring a touch a style to his hotel room, Yaddo cabin, or Amtrak berth. It folds up like a real book, for easy portability.
For the Sensible Nostalgist
This print is perfect for the person who loves the look of typewriters but is too practical to use anything but a laptop.
For the Pyromaniac Perfectionist
Why throw away your first draft when you could torch it? Why throw a book across a room when you could light it on fire? Like the banned books they commemorate, these matches are almost too beautiful to burn.
For the Romantic
Until this year, Frank Stanford’s poetry has been available mainly through used booksellers, but in April, Copper Canyon Press published his collected poems, a 732-page volume that deserves to be read by moonlight — preferably a hot summer night when the air-conditioning is broken and the only entertainment is a bottle of whiskey and a slightly out-of-tune piano. Raw and emotional, Stanford’s poems will floor the uninitiated and thrill the already converted.
For the Literary Critic
Every literary critic has an appetite for the ridiculous. As James Wood once wrote for The New Yorker, “How absurd that I should be paid to write book reviews!” The best thing about this gift is that you can never have too many of them.
For The Millions Completist
You know those ads where it’s Christmas morning and somebody—usually the wife—says, “look out the window, honey” and there’s a shiny new car parked outside in the driveway? Well, this is the literary equivalent of that gift, except it’s several thousand dollars cheaper and you don’t need to track down an enormous red bow—though, you may need to buy a new bookshelf.
In Honor of Paris
Paris, we love you, we love your books, we love your booksellers, we love your cafes, and most of all, we love your spirit—one that has provided inspiration and refuge to writers from around the world.