8 Festivus Gift Ideas

I always have trouble buying gifts for people-- even close friends. The people closest to me (Emily, Murph, Noelle, Michael, and Julie especially) seem to know me so well, they always pick out thoughtful gifts that I never would have thought to buy for myself (that's why I own a copy of the original Justice League of America #2 and the Watchmen Absolute Edition). Then, when it's my turn to buy a thoughtful gift, I'm always, "Uh... gift certificate?"

I suspect a lot of you are like me, so I thought I'd make a list of twelve items you might consider buying for that special liberal/ intellectual/ pop culture obsessed someone in your life. You're welcome.

1) John Cale, Circus Live

You know someone who likes music? Then he or she will like this live two-disc set of John Cale performing songs from his new album, Black Acetate, as well as classics like "Venus in Furs" and "Helen of Troy." Not to be missed.

2) The Best American Comics 2007

Edited by Chris Ware, this collection includes work from Art Spiegelman, Adrian Tomine, R. and Aline Crumb, and many others. I'm about halfway through it so far, and I'm enjoying every odd and subversive page.

3) Scene It? The DVD Game

Emily and I prefer the movie and television editions, but if you're a big fan of Harry Potter, James Bond, or assorted children's movies and television shows, you're in luck-- there are editions devoted to those things too. It's easy to play, drunk or sober. Perfect for those English Department get-togethers.

4) Straight Man by Richard Russo

Academic satire that doesn't suck!

5) The Art of the Personal Essay by Phillip Lopate

Still the best collection of personal essays and other types of reflections, from the ancient world through the 20th century.

6) Raging Bull

Everbody loves this movie. And those who don't need an uppercut.

7) The Poem of a Life: A Biography of Louis Zukofsky

I know what you're thinking-- "But Bradley, I already know everything I need to know about Louis Zukofsky." But you don't-- you're thinking of that nerdy accountant guy played by Rick Moranis in Ghostbusters. This is Lou-EE Zukofsky, great Modernist poet. And the book is by our good friend and colleague Mark Scroggins. And you fucking need it, so just order it already.

8) Full Frontal Feminism by Jessica Valenti

To tell you the truth, I still haven't read the last two books on this list (though I've started on Mark's). Still, Emily assures me that Valenti's book is great-- in fact, we just sent a copy to my sister. Young activists like Jessica Valent provide hope for the future, as far as I'm concerned; they make it an exciting time to be a progressive.

Other gift ideas?

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