Our Gift Guide for your Significant Other
For part two of our totally-and-completely-fail-proof-Christmas-shopping-guides-for-2013, here are our gift ideas for your significant other (henceforth known as your S.O. in this blog post).
If your S.O. is a pop culture junkie
- In The Simpsons and Their Mathematical Secrets ($29.99), Simon Singh reveals how the writers have drip-fed morsels of number theory into the series over the last twenty-five years; indeed, there are so many mathematical references in The Simpsons, and in its sister program Futurama, that they could form the basis of an entire university course.
- Celebrated TV critic Alan Sepinwall chronicles the remarkable transformation of the small screen over the past fifteen years in The Revolution Was Televised: From Buffy to Breaking Bad – The People and the Shows That Changed TV Drama Forever ($27.99).
- Pitch-perfect mimesis meets razor sharp literary criticism in Dead Interviews ($24.99). Veering from the intensely serious to the wildly silly, editor Dan Crowe grants writers the chance to sit down with their heroes and flex their cerebral muscles, or simply indulge in some bookish gossip with a deceased icon.
- Morrissey’s Autobiography ($22.99) was published under the Penguin Classics imprint amid controversy a few months back, and has remained remarkably divisive, with some reviewers absolutely loving it and others referring to the singer-songwriters ‘droning narcissism’.
- In Shazam!: The Golden Age of the World’s Mightiest Mortal ($24.95,
was $44.95), Chip Kidd and Geoff Spear team up to deliver an amazing book that presents all of the Captain Marvel toys, ephemera, and artwork produced during comics' Golden Age.
- In January 2011, Neil Perryman set out on an insane quest to make his wife Sue watch every episode of the classic series of Doctor Who from the very beginning. Adventures with the Wife in Space: Living with Doctor ($24.99) is what happened.
If your S.O. loves to read translated books
- In The Infatuations ($29.99) Spanish novelist Javier Marias brilliantly re-imagines the murder novel as a metaphysical enquiry, addressing existential questions of life, death, love and morality.
- Italian novelist Ellena Ferrante’s My Brilliant Friend ($29.99) is a compulsively readable portrait of two young women born into a poor but vibrant neighbourhood on the outskirts of Naples - and one of our ten best fiction books for 2013.
- A Man in Love ($12,
was $32.99), the second book of six in the ‘My Struggle’ cycle, sees Norwegian novelist Karl Ove Knausgaard write of tempestuous relationships, the trials of parenthood and an urge to create great art.
- First published in 1987, Ashes in My Mouth, Sand in My Shoes ($19.95) is the literary début of another Norwegian novelist, Per Petterson’s (of Out Stealing Horses fame), and is now available in English for the first time.
- Painstakingly wrought, strikingly original in form, in The Kraus Project ($29.99) Jonathan Franzen presents and annotates his definitive new translations of the Viennese satirist Karl Kraus' writings.
- While not a translated book as such, the new Quarterly Essay from Linda Jaivin, Found in Translation: In praise of a plural world ($19.99) is a free-ranging essay, personal and informed, about translation in its narrowest and broadest senses, and the prism - occasionally prison - of culture.
If your S.O. romanticises the days of letter writing
- The Women of Letters anthology, Yours Truly ($29.99) curated by Michaela McGuire & Marieke Hardy brings together warm, wonderful and astoundingly honest dispatches from some of Australia’s favourite people.
- Shaun Usher’s Letters of Note: Correspondence Deserving of a Wider Audience ($49.99) is a collection of 125 of the world’s most entertaining, inspiring and unusual letters, based on the seismically popular website of the same name.
- The Animals: Love Letters Between Christopher Isherwood and Don Bachardy ($55) provides a loving testimony of an extraordinary relationship that lasted until Chris' death in 1986 - and survived affairs (on both sides) and a thirty-year-age-gap.
- The Gorgeous Nothings: Emily Dickinson’s Envelope Poems ($47.95) is a deluxe edition of of one of our most important poets' late writings, presenting this experimental late work exactly as she wrote it - on scraps of envelopes.
- Simon Garfield’s To the Letter: A Journey Through a Vanishing World ($29.99) tells the story of our remarkable journey through the mail - from Roman wood chips discovered near Hadrian’s Wall to the wonders and terrors of email.
If your S.O. loves to laugh
- Based on the runaway web phenomenon, Pascale Lemire’s Dog Shaming ($19.95) features hilarious and adorable photos of petulant pups accompanied by notes detailing their misdeeds.
- A horrific, hilarious satire of Australian culture, the latest mockumentary from the infamous Chris Lilley, Ja'mie Private Schoolgirl ($29.95), chronicles the final months of school for the monstrously narcissistic Ja’mie King.
- Harmony supergroup Eddie Perfect and Tripod release their combined breathtaking vocal talents and comic barb on Perfect Tripod: Australian Songs ($19.95).
- Allie Brosh’s Hyperbole and a Half ($29.95) is full of fantastically funny stories and comics about her rambunctious childhood, the highs (and mostly lows) of dog-ownership, and more.
- In Jeffrey Brown’s Darth Vader and Son ($19.95), he presents a hilarious and sweet comic re-imagining of the Dark Lord of the Sith taking an active role in raising his son.
- Lawrence Dorfman’s The Illustrated Dictionary of Snark ($24.95) is a a snide, sarcastic guide to verbal sparring, comebacks, irony, insults, and much more.
If your S.O. isn’t afraid of big books
- When an unknown New York City public defender self-published his debut novel, a 700-page manuscript that had earned him rejections from nearly 90 literary agents, he couldn’t have predicted the outpouring of praise and support that would. Now available in Australia, Sergio De La Pava’s A Naked Singularity ($32.99) is an epic postmodern read.
- Set in the 1860s on the goldfields of New Zealand, Eleanor Catton’s The Luminaries ($29.99) is a literary detective story with hidden treasure and a hint of the supernatural and won the Man Booker Prize prize this year.
- Fans have been waiting over a decade for Donna Tartt’s The Goldfinch ($27.95,
was $32.99) to be released, a haunted odyssey through present-day America and a drama of enthralling power.
- Set against the backdrop of a changing America, from Nixon’s resignation to Obama’s new world, Meg Wolitzer’s panoramic tragicomedy The Interestings ($35.95,
was $45) is perfect for readers who like ‘big American fiction’.
- This pack containing Hilary Mantel’s Wolf Hall and Bring Up the Bodies ($39.95,
was $69.99) is elegantly presented as a double-hardback slipcased set. The first two instalments in Mantel’s Tudor trilogy, both were winners of The Man Booker Prize in 2009 and 2012.
- In Far from the Tree: A Dozen Kinds of Love ($32.95) Andrew Solomon tells the stories of parents who learn to deal with their exceptional children and find profound meaning in doing so. A life-changing non-fiction read.
If your S.O. is planning to settle down in front of the television these holidays
- Set before Silence of the Lambs when serial killer Hannibal Lecter is yet to be exposed, Hannibal ($54.95) features gorgeously-presented food and gruesome murders side-by-side in beautifully-shot sequences.
- For something less grim than cannibalism, the Melbourne-set Miss Fisher’s Murder Mysteries ($29.95) follows the independent, glamorous and unflappable leading lady detective Phryne Fisher.
- A must-see show for any TV fan, the The Sopranos ($139.95,
was $199.99) revolves around the life of New Jersey-based Italian-American mobster Tony Soprano (James Gandolfini).
- From the mind of Aaron Sorkin (creator of The West Wing) comes The Newsroom ($24.95,
was $39.95), a behind-the-scenes look at a high-rated cable-news program at the fictional ACN Network, focusing on the on-and-off-camera lives of its staff.
- First Position ($39.95) follows a group of young ballet dancers aged nine to sixteen as they struggle to maintain form in the face of injury and personal sacrifice on their way to one of the most prestigious ballet competitions in the world.
- The third instalment in Richard Linklater’s much-acclaimed trilogy, Before Midnight ($39.95), beautifully capturing the melancholy of long-term romance. (You can also purchase the first two films of the trilogy - Before Sunrise and Before Sunset - in a box-set for $12.95.)
If your S.O. appreciates beautiful design books
- Completed by sublime photography and graphic timelines, Bike!: A Tribute to the World’s Greatest Racing Bicycles ($24.95,
was $69.99) is the most striking tribute ever created to the craftsmanship, precision and speed of the racing bicycle.
- In GO: A Kidd’s Guide to Graphic Design ($29.99) Chip Kidd opens with the promise that everyone is a designer, and then uses every next page to show the reader why that is.
- Ana Benaroya’s Illustration Next: Contemporary Creative Collaboration ($39.95) brings together the dazzling talent of 50 leading illustrators from over 20 countries.
- Similar to Find and Keep, Beci Orpin’s Home: 25 Amazing Projects for Your Home ($39.95) is filled with inspiration and crafty ideas, along with projects designed by Beci - this time specifically created for you home.
- In The Bookery Cook ($39.99), sisters Jessica, Georgia & Maxine Thompson share their favourite family recipes along specially commissioned artworks from artists all over the world.
- Diana Vreeland Memos: The Vogue Years ($79.95) is the legendary editor in her own words, providing a fascinating insight into her sense of style, fun, creativity and pizazz.
If your S.O. always makes a list of New Year Resolutions
- Knit Your Own Zoo ($22.99) by Sally Muir & Joanna Osborne is a terrific pick for those whose resolution is usually something along the lines of, ‘be more crafty’.
- Suggest you make a resolution together to listen to all The 100 Best Albums of All Time ($39.95,
was $49.95) as selected by Craig Mathieson and Toby Creswell.
- If your loved one aspires to become more musical, Gavin Pretor-Pinney and Tom Hodgkinson’s beautifully presented The Ukulele Handbook ($24.95) might be a good place to start.
- After Christmas decadence, many Australians take a break from alcohol. Jill Stark’s High Sobriety: My Year without Booze ($29.95) is a funny, moving, and insightful exploration of a year spent doing exactly this.
- Another common resolution is to ‘get fit’ and Walks in Nature: Australia ($29.95), which covers overs 115 trails in and around the country’s major cities, is a fun way to do this, maybe even together.
- People often plan to learn how to cook new dishes and in Asian After Work: Simple Food for Every Day ($34.95,
was $39.99) Adam Liaw presents a great introduction to Asian dishes.