Wednesday, December 12, 2012

They’ve Read Everything

We all have that person on our holiday list; the person who has read everything. When you ask them what they want they say “books,” but it is almost impossible to find something for them they haven’t already read. So they unwrap the gift, thank you politely or perhaps profusely and either exchange the book for something they haven’t read or re-gift it. Gift cards are nice and always appreciated but it’s just not the same. There’s something special about handing a book across the room and there’s something extra special about seeing someone’s eyes light up with joy and expectation. (Especially when they were totally just practicing their polite “It’s the thought that counts” face.) So the staff of Porter Square Books has dug deep into our brains to put together a list of gift ideas for people who have read everything. Some of the books are so new there’s just no way they could’ve gotten to them (unless they’ve got a connection in the business.) Some of the books just didn’t get the attention they deserved when they first came out however long ago that was. Some of the books are a little...out there. But they’re all good books and sure to make impressive gifts, whoever ends up receiving them. We’ve lightly categorized and added specific descriptions of the books to make it easy to find the perfect match. And we’d love to hear your suggestions too. Add them in the comments field below.


For the reader on the cutting edge of the contemporary literature, the best bet is to go foreign.

Cyclops: A kind of Croatian Catch-22 starring a theater critic who starves himself to avoid being drafted into the army. Also, drinking, art, palmists, affairs, and satire.

Parallel Stories: Massive, beautiful, baffling, challenging, perplexing, discursive, the latest novel in English by perennial Nobel hopeful spans decades, families, and nationalities and includes the absolute longest sex scene Josh has ever read. (If that sort of thing interests you.)

Notturno: Book length prose-poem composed on one-line strips of paper while the poet was blindfolded recovering from an injury. Impressive even before you open it and it just gets more mind-blowing after you do.

The Minus Times Collected: Have you have heard of The Minus Times? Me neither, but for ten years they published works by Wells Tower, Patrick DeWitt, Barry Hannah, Dan Clowes, and a not-yet-famous Stephen Colbert


Latin for Gardeners: A perfect gift book for both the novice and experienced gardener, reasonably priced, with exquisite illustrations. Especially terrific for the gardener that has all the “how to” books they need.


For the rarefied reader who relishes acidic black comedy British class dissection: who's already burned through Edward St. Aubyn's Patrick Melrose novels, early Martin Amis and at the source Evelyn Waugh, there's Philip Hensher's King of the Badgers.


The Late George Apley: A lesser-known Pulitzer winner, full of Beacon Hill intrigue. Perfect for those who prefer a bit of Brahmin restraint with their family drama.


Weslandia: For the kid who's blown through the picture book section, a beautifully illustrated take on a boy who founds a new civilization over summer vacation.

Deadline Artists: A blend of classic gems and hidden treats for any journalism fan in this compilation, drawn from more than a century of newspaper columns.

The Kayla Chronicles: Journalism, feminism, and the school dance team fill this novel pitched at young teens who love Sarah Dessen but aren't quite ready for her books.

The Making of the English Working-Class: The history buff who's read everything probably hasn't made it through these 800 pages of thoroughly fascinating labor and cultural history.

Art and Artists: Poems: This wonderful little book came out this past summer, but got lost among all the beach reads. It's a beautiful, inspiring anthology, with wide-ranging art forms, and the size is perfect for toting around.

And a couple from the "I totally have no idea" section.

Dancers Among Us: The perfect gift for someone you have no idea what to give them – sure to bring a little joy into anyone’s heart.


Cairns: The random piles of stones you see on hiking trails might not be so random after all. Not just for hikers, this book is a detailed pick into one specific avenue of human communication.

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