One Gift Guide to Rule Them All

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It’s getting late, people. And your literary friends expect brilliant Festivus gifts from you. So let’s get cracking! Here’s something for everyone on your list.

For the English major:

These fake blood page markers and some hipster glasses. (Remember: your goal is not to educate the English major. Your goal is to get the English major laid by other English majors.)

For the poet:

The Penguin Anthology of 20th Century American Poetry, now out in paperback. And some tea. (Don’t poets like tea?) And, let’s face it, a loan.

For your relative who mostly just watches Jersey Shore and reads US Weekly:

A subscription to Tin House or Ploughshares or American Short Fiction. Because she’ll be like, Whaaa? but she won’t be able to return it and you’ll have spent $20 supporting literature, so ha.

For the debut novelist:

Cute bookends, to hold all future books and translations. Alternatively: a very large bottle of whiskey. Because it’s all downhill from here.

For the aspiring writer:

The Paris Review Interviews, volumes I-IV. And this Write Like a Motherfucker mug. And this bottle of Paxil.

For the delusional aspiring writer:

A lovely blank book and a gorgeous pen and these bottles of dipping ink. Because somebody should have fun writing, damnit.

For your local indie bookstore owner:

A Kindle, smashed to pieces and dissolved in vat of acid. But cover the acid vat with those cool black-and-white postcards of authors’ faces, so she can reuse it later as a garbage can or something. Bonus points if you just grabbed the Kindle from some guy on the street.

For your poetry professor, who you accidentally slept with that one time:

This amazing color signature print of The Great Gatsby. Because he might be creepy, but let’s face it—he has excellent taste.

For your sardonic aunt:

Marion Meade’s classic 1989 biography Dorothy Parker: What Fresh Hell is This? and these chic Edgar Allan Poe flats.

For your horrible ex-girlfriend, who just sold her third novel for like a million dollars and who the hell does she even think she is?:

A donation, in her name, to the Arbor Day Foundation “for all those trees you’re killing.” Because you’re not above that.

For the writer you’ve been stalking online:

This Christina Rossetti bracelet (if female); this beer named for Oscar Wilde (if thirsty); this Hannah Arendt finger puppet (if strange and nimble-fingered)

For the cute reference librarian with the cool beard and the corduroys:

This Reading Rainbow shirt from Urban Outfitters, and the key to your apartment.

For Alice Munro:

I know what you’re thinking. She has a Nobel! What more could she possibly need? Um, she totally needs this hat. You should send it to her.

For the journal editor who sent you a very encouraging rejection letter:

These very encouraging chocolates.

For yourself:

This “I Want to F. Scott Fitzgerald” shirt and an I Would Prefer Not To tote bag and a copy of Infinite Jest. If you don’t get hit on now, you’re living in the wrong city.

For me:

(What, don’t I deserve a gift? After all this help I’ve given you?)

I would like this poster with the entire text of Moby-Dick printed on it, please. And signed copies of all those secret Salinger stories and a trip to Italy and scandalous photos with which to blackmail the fiction editor of The New Yorker.

Ohhh, you shouldn’t have!