Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Weekly Geeks 25: Gift Giving Guide

This week's Geeks assignment is fascinating! Dewey says:

With winter holidays coming up, many of us have started thinking about gift giving. And, of course, many book bloggers prefer to give books. At Amazon, there are gift guides based on relationship or personality. Unfortunately, I don’t really find the gift suggestions for mom and wife very suited to me, and the personality guides are even worse. I may be interested in green living, but I’d be pretty disappointed to find an energy-saving lightbulb in my stocking. So let’s make our own, a books-based Weekly Geeks Gift Giving Guide!

How to:
1. Think about the books that you and people in your life love. It’s best to use more obscure books, because we’ve all heard plenty about the more popular ones.

2. Come up with categories, based on relationship, personality, or whatever else you like. I think this is easier to do once you have your books in mind; you can then just assign categories to those books.

3. Post your own gift giving guide! Add short blurbs about the books, just enough so that your readers can determine if it’d be a good gift for people on their list. Don’t forget to come back and sign Mr Linky.

4. Visit other Weekly Geeks, and if you like their guides, maybe add links to the bottom of your own.

So here is my gift giving guide for the bookish this year:

For that manly Uncle who loves reading about arctic exploration even though he complains about having to go out and shovel the sidewalk:

Fatal Passage : the true story of John Rae, the Arctic hero time forgot / Ken McGoogan

This is the story of an Orkney boy who became an HBC man and the acknowledged expert on Northern exploration. He could snowshoe 50 miles a day, design boats for ice-filled rivers, hunt, mend his own clothes, take scientific readings which were widely recognized as the best available, maintain relationships with the local native groups - respecting and using their traditional knowledge, oh yes, and he was a doctor as well. Not forgetting to mention that he found the remains of the Franklin expedition and discovered that in their extreme duress they had taken to eating one another. Since this was not the answer that Lady Franklin and the British navy wanted to hear, Rae was vilified and left out of history. It's a wonderful read, restoring this explorer to his true status.

For the aunt who doesn't know what to do with herself since Mary Stewart died:

An historical love story involving time travel/genetic memory and Scotland, who needs anything more? Lots of tension, historical drama and enjoyable characters, just right for a holiday read.

For the teenage niece who adores fairy tales but feels she's too old to be caught reading any:

Set in Transylvania and loosely based on the fairy tale of the Twelve Dancing Princesses, this story of 5 sisters and their connection to the world of fairie is wonderfully, magically told. And the books look gorgeous; what cover art!

For that cousin who's taking a degree in art history, with a minor in Russian:

One of my favourite books last year, this tells the tale of a man who is losing his place in society as his Russia moves further away from communism and into the wider, free market world. As perestroika arrives in Moscow, he begins to question what the sacrifice of his artistic gifts to the party has been worth.

For your sister who is just marginally more crazy about Anne of Green Gables than you are:

The first rigorously academic biography of Lucy Maud Montgomery, aimed at adults and pulling no punches.


A companion read to the biography, this ties elements of LMM's life to the writing of each and every one of her novels. Essential for the enthusiast.

For your peripatetic brother who can't settle down:

Nikolski / Nicolas Dickner; trans. by Lazer Lederhendler.

This book just won a Governor General's award for translation; it's a French Canadian tale of 3 restless characters who drift to Montreal and there discover their family connections. As the blurb says:

With humour, charm and the sure touch of a born storyteller, Nicolas Dickner crafts a tale that shows the surprising links between garbage-obsessed archeologists, pirates past and present, earthquake victims, sea snakes, several very large tuna fish, an illiterate deep-sea diver, a Commodore 64, a mysterious book with no cover, and a broken compass whose needle obstinately points to the Aleutian village of Nikolski.


  1. I think the suggestions on the fairie books were fantastic. My younger sister loves Them too and the books you have mentioned will be wonderful gifts to her. I'll see if they are available in India

  2. This is a really great list. I love the people you suggest for, it made me laugh!

    Kim (Sophisticated Dorkiness)

  3. Yes, this is a great list! Thank you

  4. this is a great and unique list.


Thanks for stopping by ~ I always enjoy hearing your comments so please feel free to leave some!