a few gift ideas that are mostly books
On Thanksgiving, presents, and cannibalism
Good morning and Happy Thanksgiving! Fuck the pilgrims, obviously, but I hope you’ve got a good meal ahead of you.
I also hope you have a relaxing long weekend. For me, that will mean not continuing to watch Yellowjackets even though it’s getting rave reviews and has a lesbian main character. These two criteria are generally all it takes to make me love a show, but they simply cannot outweigh the fact that this particular show is about cannibalism.
Alanna and I watched the first two episodes on Tuesday night and I spent half of those two hours covering my eyes with my hands. It’s gory!
It was enough for me to get invested in the girls’ stories, though, especially the grown-up versions of the girls who survive (played by Christina Ricci, Juliette Lewis, and Melanie Lynskey). But rather than subjecting myself to further gore, I will just read Kayla’s episode recaps on Autostraddle to see what happens.
Today’s newsletter is a brief list of gift recommendations. You’ve probably been getting bombarded with emails like this one all week, so I’m sorry to add to the pile. But I firmly believe that books make excellent presents. Just don’t buy them from Amazon.
As a disclaimer, several of these links are affiliate links, which means I earn a small commission if you click through and buy. But this is true of every Bookshop link I include, which means my choices were in no way swayed by the appeal of $1 commissions.
1. For someone who’s had trouble getting into reading lately
The most common thing (by far) I hear from people looking for book recs is this: “I used to love to read, but lately I’ve had trouble focusing.”
I feel this deeply. I also believe that the perfect solution to this problem is Girl, Woman, Other by Bernadine Evaristo.
It’s the very first book I reviewed for this newsletter (back in July 2020), because it’s the one that pulled me out of a months-long slump. Structured essentially as a set of intertwined short stories, it’s not as intimidating to jump into as a novel. Also, it’s just objectively really good—and a safe bet if you want to come across as a gift-giver with excellent taste.
2. For someone who’s tired of tragic queer books
An unfortunate percentage of queer books are incredibly depressing. We don’t have the time to get into the reasons for all of that right now, but if you’d like to give a gift that’s a little more fun, I’d recommend A World Between by Emily Hashimoto.
I initially picked this book up because Emily wrote in this Lit Hub piece that she once referred to it as a “lesbian When Harry Met Sally.” My hopes were high from the start, and she exceeded them.
3. For someone who’s very into advice columns
Remember how much fun you used to have giggling over advice columns in Seventeen and Cosmopolitan? Now imagine if the info were queer and the advice was actually good. That’s The Ex-Girlfriend of My Ex-Girlfriend is My Girlfriend by Maddy Court.
Most of the advice here is written by Maddy Court (of @xenaworrierprincess), who tackles subjects ranging from crushes and heartbreak to friendship and community with all the kindness and practicality you’d expect from a self-described “pragmatic midwestern lesbian.” She also enlists the help of guest contributors Ellen Kempner, JD Samson, Kalyn Rose Hefferman, Lola Pellegrino, Mey Rude, Samantha Irby, and Tyler Ford.
4. For someone who loves a good coffee table book
If you’ve got a friend who’s into lesbians and photography, give them Eye to Eye: Portraits of Lesbians by JEB.
Alanna gave this to me as a gift earlier this year, so I can tell you firsthand that it’s a great present to receive. I didn’t write a full review since it’s a book of photography, but I did write about how much I enjoyed it here.
Buy it on Bookshop here.
5. For someone who loves deep dives, lesbians, and/or zines
You knew this was coming, right?
I would be remiss if I failed to mention my pride and joy, T is for Trash.
I am obviously quite biased, but I think it would make a great gift for anyone who’s even a little bit into lesbian history, or lesbian drama, or trashy entertainment.
You can order it here.
6. For someone who’s obsessed with their cat
This final recommendation is not a book, but would pair nicely with any of the books on this list. A magnetic bookmark of the recipient’s cat! Or dog.
This is another gift Alanna gave me (she’s good at gifts) and it’s obviously quite cute, because it looks just like Shadow.
She got mine from this Etsy seller, but I just looked and they’re “on a break” until 2022. That said, I’m sure a quick search for “custom pet bookmark” would point you in the right direction.
Thanks for reading!
P.S. If you’re looking for a more specific rec, feel free to respond directly to this email with a request. I love recommending books, esp. queer ones!