The “I Don’t Got Time For This Shit” Holiday Gift Book-Buying Guide
  Lists    December 4, 2016     Eric Larkin


Holiday my ass.

Here we go again with 10 holiday parties that got you criss-crossing town during rush hour, relatives coming and going and work’s still gotta get done but now there’s actual deadlines and are you traveling, too? or maybe extra therapy cuz it’s that time of year and maybe MAYBE you’ll have time to sleep or watch some goddam TV or feed the dog – but no wait – you’re expected to SHOP?! You gotta go buy things for people, and your gift options are thru the roof while your intel is extremely limited. Of course you love your nieces or grandmas or co-workers or whoever but you don’t have a damn clue what they want. What are you gonna do? Sit down and try to make some kinda bullshit list or maybe go to the mall and wander around looking for “ideas”? …?

Fool. Please, don’t.

We’re gonna get rational. We’re gonna save our mental space for the things that matter: calculating precise rum/eggnog ratios, strategizing table seating arrangements so you don’t get stuck next to Uncle Bill who had a “real hoot at the RV convention in Reno”, conserving thought-molecules for the family Nintendo Wii Pictionary tournament.

Here’s what you’re gonna do:

Step one:  

Select one location likely to have something for everyone, say… a bookstore.  Don’t go anywhere near any mall – geeez – at least pretend you’ve done this before. 

Step two:

Buy gift cards at that location.

Step three:

There is no step three! You’re done. Congratulations, enjoy the rest of the holidays.


But alright, maybe you’re not that committed to just getting it done. Maybe you want to project that illusion of having painstakingly picked out each specific gift, cuz someone told you their love language was “gifts”.  pffft 

Fine. Repeat step one: Go to your local independent bookstore, and bring the list which follows below. Find your gift-recipient by type on the left, and the appropriate gift item will be right there.

NEVER MIND WHAT THE ITEM IS. Keep repeating to yourself “I don’t got time for this shit¨, and just let the holiday magic carry you over the violence and misery you see below you.

You know how much grief and how many hours of real & actual life I will have saved you? When you get home after “shopping”, and crack open that seasonal ale, with Hodor the Chihuahua at your feet to watch you-know-what with your significant other, you will thank me.

Ok – I’ve already wasted too much of your time with all this prose nattering. Get on your Santa suit, and let’s get this shit done…


For kids (or young adults or YAs or whatever they’re called these days):


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Get a box set, it doesn’t matter which one: Wrinkle in Time, Maze Runner – who cares – you don’t know what they’ve already read, do you? Give them the thing. Done.





People who cook:







Anthony Bourdain Appetites.  Done.







Music (young people) AND Comic Book nerds:






Hip Hop Family Tree  – cuz it’s both. Done.









Art-lovers AND Geeks:



Geek-Art  – cuz it’s both. See how this works?  Maybe get two.  Keep moving.







TIP: If the book on this list is not available, don’t panic – you don’t got time for panic – and whatever you do, don’t start “thinking about what they might like”. Just grab whatever book is closest to your hand – make sure it’s in good shape and looks “gift-y”. Here’s your story: “I was looking for ___, but saw this.”  The key is to not get bogged down with “looking” or “decision-making”.  




People who decorate or spend a lot of time fussing with where they live/sleep/cook/poop:


Domino – this is a website or something, but they have a couple fancy books about decorating and whatnot. Note: make sure when you give this one you’re not like, “Boy do you need this.”






History buff:

Rasputin by Douglas Smith  – Always always always put your money on Rasputin.

Military History buff:

Rasputin  –  I think he got shot; that’s military I guess. Doesn’t matter. They won’t say anything; it’s a gift.








Religious folk:



American Prophets by Albert J. Raboteau – I don’t know what’s actually in this one, but there’s a bunch of different people on the cover, so you got your bases covered. If your “client” looks at you weird, just furrow your brow and say something like, “We could sure use these guys now.” A quick, wistful glance out any nearby window will shut them right up.




ARE YOU BROWSING?! Get outta your head!



Fiction Readers:  







The Year’s Best Science Fiction  Done.








Harry Potter… something – anyway, they’re fancy books and very gift-y. There are a few titles in this series – you’ll know them when you see them. Done.

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Paul Tremblay or Stephen Graham Jones – Just pick one. Caveat: if you buy either of these authors, your person will think you really know your horror lit, so be ready to say something like, “Ooooo I can’t handle these guys – they’re more your speed.” 







The Chemist by Stephanie Meyer – long story short, she wrote some other books, so she’s a very safe bet, not that it matters –> it’s a gift. If for some reason they don’t like it, they must have some kinda attitude problem. 




Almost done – Stay focused




Other Books:  

Quick choices, don’t take too long, stay light on your feet.

Trendy folks:

Look at displays that say things like “Staff Recommendations” or “As Featured On…” or “Coming Soon to a Theater Near You” – anything like that – and pick something. Your line is “One of the booksellers recommended this.” They don’t need to know that you read it on a card. In fact, don’t read the card – just pick a book that would look good being unwrapped. These are the kinds of tables/displays you want to find; any decent bookstore will have something like them. 


See how “gift-y” these look? Perfect – just grab one or two. You’ll figure out who they’re for later.





folioalice foliofrankLiterature snobs:

Get a fancy edition of a classic. Yeah, they may have already read it, so what? No one is gonna bitch about a fancy Alice in Wonderland or Frankenstein.















Someone really stressed out about whatever:











Coloring books. There are so damn many of these, just pick a couple across a spectrum, and you’ll prob be golden. But there are some weird ones, so make sure you at least glance at the cover to make sure it’s not a drawing of two people doing it. Could be awkward, depending. 


Someone way cooler than you, whom you just really want to turn the tables on:



Russian – Criminal – Tattoo 

Trust me on this. This is a huge win for you. Do NOT make a big deal out of it – go deadpan, and they will reel.






Music (old people):

History of Rock and Roll by Ed Ward  Done.









Star Talk with Neil deGrasse Tyson OR Mars by Leonard David, both from National Geographic. Which do you pick? Well, which one are you standing closest too? That’s the one.

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Stocking stuffers:



If you come to our store, specifically, you can grab a handful of these trading cards – DON’T LOOK AT THEM, IT WILL SLOW YOU DOWN. If they don’t like the ones you gave them they will just trade them cuz they are trading cards.



These are backups for people you forget or people who might annoyingly give you something, when you hadn’t planned on giving them anything.  These are pretty much good for anyone with a sense of humor or a halfway decent attitude:  

The Tao of Bill Murray

Choose Your Own Misery: The Holidays

Anything from The Devastator: Oh, the Flesh You Will Eat!, Dream It! Screw It!, Dogs: History’s Greatest Monsters – there are a bunch, just grab a couple.






Okay? If you’re still worried you’re forgetting someone, get a couple gift cards for sensible amounts. If you don’t end up using them as gifts, just save them for yourself (like maybe next year, when you have to do this bullshit all over again.)  

And you’re done!  You. Are. Done.  Let’s get the hell outta here.




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