What's the best Christmas present you've ever received? One lonely Christmas - stuck in New York City and unable to get home to Alabama to see her family - Harper Lee spent the holiday with friends... and received a Christmas gift that would end up being a present to the entire literary world. In the short story "Christmas to Me" (McCall's Magazine, 1961), Lee writes about her experience:
Looking for a crafty gift idea for a book lover - how about about a pair of bookends?
The author Neil Gaiman is a prominent backer of libraries and literacy, and he has a great idea for a new Halloween tradition. He thinks we should all give scary books as gifts on Halloween. He's calling it All Hallow's Read. As a fan of Gaiman's work, books in general, and scary things – I think this sounds like fun.
Let's play word association! If I say dissection what words come to your mind?
If you're anything like me it will be something like "biology lesson" and "yuk". Or, at least that would have been the case until a few months ago when I first encountered Brian Dettmer's three-dimensional book sculptures which he creates by dissecting his way through books to display their inner beauty. Working only with books that are no longer wanted such as old encyclopedias that are headed for the junk heap, Brian, with the help of just a knife, tweezers and a bit of glue and varnish, carves away the layers to reveal the book's inner beauty.
Here are a couple of his works based on single books:
If you're looking for a unique and relatively inexpensive gift idea for a literary friend, you might want to wend your way to the Literary Gift Company, based in England but online at theliterarygiftcompany.com, for a copy of their USA literary map. Available as an 84x59cm poster (that's 33x23 inches to those in the USA) it's a fun and intriguing gift.
At first glance, it looks a simple enough concept - author names laid out to form a map of the USA. But the fun starts when you start to try to work out the reason for each author's placement. Not yet in possession of the poster itself (which costs £9.95, about $16, plus shipping) I had to resort to peering at the online version with the aid of a magnifying glass - and some of the positionings sent me scurrying to read up on the author.