This is probably the second least holiday-ish holiday season I’ve had — I have no courses or teaching to take a break from, end-stage dissertations do not give you downtime unless you force them to, and for various family reasons I won’t be traveling. But that doesn’t mean I’m not still enjoying choosing gifts for people, and reading gift guides, like the ones I linked in my previous posts.
So! Here are a small number of books and other things I’d recommend if you’re still searching for last-minute presents:
- A Very Short Introduction to Biography, Hermione Lee. A nicely sized survey of the history of the genre. I’d probably use this as a text if I ever get to teach one of the classes on biography that I’ve designed syllabi for, and not just because it’s full of useful information — it’s also an enjoyable read.
Georgette Heyer’s Regency World, Jennifer Kloester — for friends of yours who really want to know all the workings of the ton. (And I’m going to stop there with books or I’ll be adding to this entry all day.*)
- Qwirkle, a game marketed for children but hilarious when played by grown-up humanists. You want the cubes, not the tiles.
- Robyn’s Body Talk Pt. 1 and Janelle Monae’s The ArchAndroid, for people who need some good pop music.
- Small batch jams from Confituras, a local Austin business. (I believe all their offerings are gluten free.) They wouldn’t arrive in time for Christmas, by now, but would make a nice present later too.
- Pears from Harry & David. These are grown near where my mother lives in southern Oregon — we drive by their orchards on I-5. They’re actually kind of worth it as a splurge.
Plus a few links before I retreat back to the land of dissertation and other grad-school-related stress:
- An article title I could’ve written myself: Your Attacks on Genre Fiction Grow Tiresome.
- Lit Folks Are Hip. The captions say so.
- Sara Ryan’s interview with Jenny Davidson — I’m saving this till after I’ve read The Explosionist, but I’m actually also using one of Davidson’s academic books for diss research right now, so I was happy to see this, which focuses on her fiction.
- The Lapham Quarterly‘s fascinating piece on the dwindling and disappearance of Barbara Follett, child prodigy of letters.
- A Roman-era statue emerges from the sea on Israel’s coast.
- The Google Labs ngram viewer, if you haven’t played with it yet. There are apparently some questions about the reliability of its dating metadata, but it’s still a nice hint of the ways large-scale research in the humanities can evolve from here.
* You could also, if you were so inclined, pre-order the Alcestis paperback for someone you love! It’s out February 1 but will probably ship early from Amazon (the hardback sure did), and of course the e-book version (Kindle, Sony Reader) gets delivered instantly.