Ok! Better late than never, right? Here’s another great gift idea, and it’s one that you can just as easily give to yourself as to someone else. Even better, it’s a gift that helps others and is on sale. What might that be you ask?
My favorite small press publisher of prose, Small Beer Press, is having a sale. And, for every book you buy from them, they’ll donate $1 to the Franciscan Children’s Hospital. SBP co-owners Gavin Grant and Kelly Link have had a family member in their hospital for a while now, and in general I think the idea of a hospital specifically for long-term care of children is such an incredibly necessary thing. (You can read the full story of their time with the hospital at this link.)
Anyway, they have a lot of great books for sale. Some of my favorites include:
The Baum Plan for Financial Independence and Other Stories by John Kessel. Kessel’s “Lunar Quartet” is alone worth the price of admission, but “Pride and Prometheus” and its merging of Pride and Prejudice with Frankenstein has to be read to truly be believed.
Perfect Circle by Sean Stewart. Stories about people who can see ghosts are a dime a dozen, but Stewart’s book is about family and dead relatives and promises and the things that bind us. Breathtakingly beautiful prose. (His book Mockingbird is also available and I love it to death too.)
Magic for Beginners by Kelly Link. In the future, everyone will know about Kelly Link’s genre-defying short stories. They’re hard to describe and all peculiar but in a twisted, wonderful sort of way. Seriously, if there’s one book you’re going to buy, make it this one.
Second Line by Poppy Z. Brite. I haven’t actually read this one, but I have read Liquor, her novel which also stars the same characters (two chefs in New Orleans who eventually open a restaurant where all the food is cooked using alcohol in some way, shape, or form). Brite made her start as a horror author but it’s her novels about cooking and living in New Orleans that have made her into a must-read author for me. Seeing someone shift genres so effortlessly was a real revelation, and a reminder not to automatically push someone into a narrow box.
Or, buy something entirely different! Those prices are ludicrously cheap. I rarely buy prose books these days because of space; instead I keep visiting the library. I make an exception for books from Small Beer Press.