You are a fan of independent bookstores or you would not be reading this right now. You may not know about SCIBA, the Southern California Independent Booksellers Association, which is a non-profit that keeps all of us sellers, publishers, authors, etc connected.
Well, like your bold teenage cousin who just reaches in and grabs the turkey leg at Thanksgiving, SCIBA has put out the first gift guide of the season. It’s a slim 24 page wisp of a catalogue called Wish Book, and you can find it here on their website – OR – you already received it with your LA Times last Saturday, and are therefore that far ahead of the hordes of booknerd shoppers.
Yes, regular readers of Dwarf+Giant, I have found yet another way to advocate for good old fashioned newspaper-subscribing and old school journalism in general: it gives you an algorithm-free take on the world and fun unexpecteds like this legit under-the-radar holiday bookshopping guide.
Besides the books themselves, the center of this gem has a map of So Cal with the locations of top notch indy bookstores. Of course it has us and most of the other big Book Dawgs and some I’ve never heard of, plus a simple list of stores by region.
Here are my personal book highlights:
Nat Geo’s Paws of Courage from Nancy Furstinger is nonfiction for pre-teens that tells the true stories of service dogs in action. There are the inspiring stories of heroism in the face of danger, but there are also explanations of training and technique and lots of photos. She uses a deft touch with the ever present potential for heartbreak when service animals are concerned, so it won’t keep your dog lover up at night.
Also in the kids section: 365 Things To Do With LEGO Bricks from Simon Hugo. Let’s be honest, we all love Legos, and they’re about the best possible toy for any kid – but they are punch-in-the-nuts expensive these days, right? So, let someone else buy the actual bricks, and you can get this sweet, extremely creative book with literally a year’s worth of projects.
Big fancy gift-wise, there is the Penguin Galaxy deluxe boxed set. This $$ peach collects 6 sci-fi/fantasy classics in hardcover. I wouldn’t let this thing out of the house, but I would show it to everyone who came over. It includes The Once and Future King, Dune, The Left Hand of Darkness, 2001: A Space Odyssey, Neuromancer and Stranger in a Strange Land all in a handsome… box.
The Mid-Century Modern Architecture Travel Guide: West Coast USA by Sam Lubell is the first of its kind. 250 destinations, famous and hidden, that exemplify this ever-popular and influential style are well-covered, with photos and description. Let Sam Lubell curate the West Coast for you.
Also noted in this Wish List are the winners of the various SCIBA book awards. Amongst those winners is Little Flower Baking from Christine Moore herself. If you’re thinking, “Wait… Little Flower…. why do I…?” Yes – this is the same Little Flower Candy Company with the cafe/bakery in Pasadena, famous for the right reasons. Now you can try it yourself at home; the recipes are adapted for home use. Actually, get this one early, so you can serve it all up when folks come over during the holidays. And have me over.
For me, I really want Blueprint for a Battlestar: Serious Scientific Explanations Behind Sci-fi’s Greatest Inventions by Rod Pyle. 25 technologies I really wish existed – (well ok, maybe not all – replicated bourbon can’t possibly be right) – examined and situated as to where-are-we-now, by Pyle, who is a NASA dude (we JUST talked about this, kinda). Okay – what I really want for Christmas is for Star Trek to be real; I wanna get out there and see what’s up with the universe. That’s not dumb; that’s how we spread out from Olduvai Gorge, right? This is window-shopping the future; this is packing for our ancient quest to discover what’s over the horizon. Want.
Those are just the titles that jump out at me. There’s new fiction from Patchett, Picoult, Sparks, Boyle and Goodwin. There’s a history of The Daily Show and one about Young Frankenstein.
Make your life easier, and don’t postpone your shopping. It’s so much better to be ahead of the game, right?