I apologize for the delay. But it’s up now. Below you’ll find a comprehensive list of holiday gift ideas for the bibliophile, the movie buff, the nerd or geek (or all of the above, as I would lay claim to). If you’re curious about what I included on my Holiday Gift Idea for 2010, check it out here.
- Any Empire by Nate Powell. I read Powell’s Swallow Me Whole in 2011, and it was one of my favorites. Powell tackles difficult subject matter (mental illness, war, drugs) in a very unique way, both visually and linguistically.
- Arguably by Christopher Hitchens. His way with words never ceases to astound me; he manages to intertwine the eloquent, the most delicate, with the most biting and critical sentiment. It routinely makes for an evocative, thought-provoking read. Even if you are a believer (he writes of his atheism quite often), his books are important, I think. Arguably is a collection of his essays, which I presume to be inclusive of religion, politics, et al.
- Stuck by Oliver Jeffers. I learned of Oliver through Jessica. She always went on and on about him. Now I see why. His writing is funny, heartfelt. His illustration is beautiful, inspired. I’ve read most of his books since my initial introduction. Plus, we’ve met him!
- The Invention of Hugo Cabret by Brian Selznick. This is an older book, published in 2007, but I am including it because of Martin Scorsese’s film adaptation, Hugo. The book is wonderful, magical and inspiring. It’ll make your heart leap. As for the film adaptation, which came out a few weeks back, it’s also quite wonderful. Read the book, see the movie. The order doesn’t matter. Just do both.
- Harry Potter Page to Screen: The Complete Filmmaking Journey by Bob McCabe. If you love the world of Harry Potter (I do!), this is for you. The books are great, the films are excellent. Great production all around.
- Stick by Andrew Smith. After reading Smith’s The Marbury Lens, I knew that I’d continue reading his books. Stick, his latest, is wonderfully wrought with genuine, believable character, emotion, relationship. One of my favorite books of 2011.
- Ghost Lights by Lydia Millet. I haven’t read this one–it’s the second book in a trilogy–but I do feel comfortable recommending Lydia Millet. She’s a stellar writer. I’ve read My Happy Life, Everyone’s Pretty and Oh Pure and Radiant Heart, all of which are outstanding. If you haven’t heard of Millet and you want to get a taste, start with Everyone’s Pretty. Then pick up the first book in this trilogy, How The Dead Dream. You won’t regret it. She also had a Middle Reader book come out this year, titled The Fires Beneath the Sea. Adding to my ever-expanding to-read list!
- Habibi by Craig Thompson. This is another book I have yet to read, but we do own it (isn’t this the predicament for most bibliophiles? sigh). Thompson is most known for Blankets, which I thought was unique, and a solid bit of storytelling. Habibi looks to be the same.
- Feynman by Jim Ottaviani. Okay, this is the last book I haven’t read, and the last of the books. I added it because I want to get it myself! This is a graphic novel about Richard Feynman, the Nobel Prize-winning physicist. Color me intrigued! This past year I read the graphic novel Logicomix, which was a biography about Bertrand Russell. I really enjoyed it. Feynman seems to be similar, at least in its style and approach.
- Harry Potter: The Complete 8 Film Collection on Blu-Ray. Now, the purists would probably hold out for the inevitable release of the more special features-laden edition, some time next year. But I think this is a great collection if you want the movies, and aren’t as interested in the special features. Still, you have all 8 movies in one package. That’s hard to beat!
- Bridesmaids on DVD. I went to see this with my wife, mom-in-law and sis-in-law. I wasn’t expecting to like it as much as I did. It’s hilarious. Great gift for friends, or brides t0-be!
- Beginners on DVD. One of the more emotional journeys of 2011. Great acting by Ewan McGregor and Christopher Plummer (or, as I always see him, Captain Von Trapp). Truly unique look at coping with loss, and finding one’s way.
- X-Men: First Class on Blu-Ray. My favorite “superhero” movie of 2011. The design of the sets are pretty and right for the time period. The choice to cast McAvoy and Fassbender to play Xavier and Magneto, respectively, was perfect. The side characters are fun. The villains are cool, especially Kevin Bacon as Sebastian Shaw. Sharp, quality writing, exciting action, good film all-around.
- Super 8 on Blu-Ray. I think my overall favorite film of the year. It does, as many of the critics have said, bring you back to the magic and wonder of some of the earlier Spielberg movies. It’s frightening at times, heartwarming at times. A must see.
- Buck on DVD. This, I have yet to see. It’s on my to-see list. But I have heard such wonderful things. Inspiring things. Happy things. It’s a true story, it has horses (yes, please) and it’s great for the whole family.
- Community Seasons 1& 2 on DVD. One of our favorite T.V. comedies (along with Psych). Quality writing, gut-busting comedy, genuine and likeable characters. Must watch. Also, there’s a bit of uncertainty about the next season, so this could be your way of showing support!
- Justified Season 1 on DVD. Timothy Olyphant cannot do wrong. I even liked him as Hit Man. This is a great show. Protagonists you love to love; antagonists you love to hate. Western-like elements, and super suspense! Season 2 will be out on DVD January 3, 2012.
- Sherlock Season 1 on DVD. Sherlock Holmes in the modern day! Brilliant. Martin Freeman (of The Office and soon to be The Hobbit) plays Watson, and Benedict Cumberbatch (yes, Cumberbatch, and a superb actor) plays Holmes. Truly great show. And mysteries we haven’t seen before.
- The Rocketeer on Blu-Ray. The Rocketeer! On Blu-Ray! I adore this movie. One of Joe Johnston’s best. Great family fun and adventure.
- Jurassic Park Trilogy on Blu-Ray. I remember seeing the first film in the movie theater. My mother sat beside me and dug her nails into my arm at a constant. Rightfully so, I think. It’s genuinely scary. I think it still holds up today. The next two movies in the trilogy (The Lost World and JP 3) aren’t as great, but they are surely enjoyable. To me, if it has dinosaurs, I’m going to watch it.
- Ceremonials by Florence + the Machine. To be honest, I haven’t heard this album in its entirety yet, but I did love what I listened to. I very much love Lungs (one of their other albums), and I don’t see this being any different. Powerful vocals, good pop sound.
- A Very She & Him Christmas by She & Him. This, we have. It’s lovely. M. Ward, with his guitar work and the gravelly intonation; Zooey Deschanel, with her silky, soft, makes you want to dance giddy-like through fields of dandelions voice; the two of them combined, well, it’s simply magical.
- Tumble Bee by Laura Veirs. Whimsical folksy music. This one for kids! Beautiful music, fine strums, storytelling language.
- All Eternals Deck by The Mountain Goats. This came out back in March of this year, but if you have not listened, please do. The Mountain Goats, led by the unparalleled John Darnielle, creates mesmerizing folk rock. Darnielle’s lyrics are truly one-of-a-kind. Poetic, bold, lush in sentiment, intent.
- Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 2, score by Alexandre Desplat. I love the HP film scores. Both whimsical and intense. I have most of them on CD. Definitely worth a listen.
- Super 8, score by Michael Giacchino. Think adventure and fright and childhood. Wonderfully apt score for a wonderfully pleasant movie.
- The Muppets, music (for the most part) by Bret McKenzie. Very enjoyable, fun, happy, makes you want to do cartwheels-type of music. Fun for the whole family.
- Hugo, score by Howard Shore. Okay, I love film scores. I love to listen to them in my car and perhaps act out the scene. For instance, if I’m listening to Raiders of the Lost Ark, I am Indy. So, Hugo. Wonderful tunes. Get it.
General Geekery, Nerdery, Tomfoolery:
- Bearmageddon merchandise. If you haven’t read the ongoing web comic, Bearmageddon, you are a butt face. Read it. It’s fun. I mean, hell, it’s replete with crazy bear octopus evil villain types. And it’s free! You can support the writer/creator, Ethan Nicolle, by purchasing a t-shirt or poster.
- Knock Knock Notepads. We love these, and use the All Out Of shopping list all the time. They have notepads for the practical, the funny, the neurotic. Great stocking stuffer gifts.
- Amazing Breaker. I didn’t think I’d enjoy a game more than Angry Birds. I do. It’s this. Only 99 cents!
- Firefly Les Femmes Posters. I’m a self-professed browncoat. Yes, I am.
- Captain America Hoodie. Do you love America? Do you love being cozy? Then you’ll love this!
- The Walking Dead Board Game. If you’re into the comic and/or the television show, I think this is a fun purchase. Zombies! Survival! Christmas!
- GRID-IT! Organizer. Fits your iPod, digital camera, wires and such. Keeps things neat and tidy.
- Rory’s Story Cubes. This is great for kids and adults. Super imagination, creativity outlet.
- Curiosities – Vintage Inspired Adornments for Correspondence. This is perfect for those fond of handwritten letters, crafts and vintage-style decor.