It’s the time of year when you’re panicking because you haven’t gotten a gift for that special someone in your life, and I’m here to tell you about five different books that you can buy for someone to make them have good/bad feelings while you have a sense of safety implanted into your being from having done a good job.
This book is the most affecting thing that I have read in recent memory. Zambreno writes about the women of literary Modernism within the frame of her own life: like them, she follows her husband when he gets a job. She performs a literary genealogy of the accomplishments of these women and paints a very powerful picture of the structures of access available for both her as the “wife” of a college librarian and the women of Modernism as “wives” of famous men. It’s a haunting book, and the amount that Zambreno knows about these figures she is writing about is staggering. I read 90% of it on a plane to Tucson, and I immediately went to a family-friendly bar and got a little drunk while finishing it up. It’s that kind of book.
This is a little bit of a greatest hits collection of Bogost’s most recent online magazine work, and for that reason it’s a great choice for a gift for the person in your life who kind of cares about videogames but not enough to read a book with faux pixel art on the cover. It’s a solid look at the bounds of videogames in our contemporary period, and I actually see this book functioning as a kind of time capsule: Bogost accurately captures what big ole capital letter VIDEO GAMES are right now and that’s a valuable thing.
The last time I read this book I was in the fourth grade, and I read it over and over again while thinking about how fucking scary these vampires are. A million years later, reading it again, I can confirm: these vampires are scary. It’s a well-crafted novel, and I don’t think King has ever quite gotten the mixture of “evil figure in a town” this perfectly measured out again. Seriously, buy this book for someone. It’s a rad book.
I’m only halfway through this book, but I can already say that it’s one of the best things I’ve read this year. It’s a difficult subject — Title IX, the securitization of the college campus, and the shifting walls of blame around women and sexual violence. Doyle doesn’t try to cut the knot with a simple solution. Instead, she communicates the shape of all of these things in snippets that outline the violence of an institution that manages and bullies its subjects as a part of its normal operations. The book is unflinching in its discussion of all the possible topics it could cover, so let the person you get this for know before going in.
I read this comic when it came back, and it’s always stuck in my head. It’s just a pretty straight-up telling of the life of Annie Sullivan and her relationship with Helen Keller. It’s a powerful visual representation of what that sense experience could be like (not sure how you could really know without knowing), and I think it’s a comic that you could comfortably get for a teen that might get them to read a damn book every now and again. These millennials with their iPads and their Marilyn Mansons I mean my god.