You won’t need a car charger, headphones, protective cases, or extended warranties for the old standby in the art of gift-giving: The Book.
What’s it called?: Grumpy Cat, A Grumpy Book
Who’s it by?: Tardar Sauce herself, internet cat-lebrity and resident expert on cat-style irritability and ridiculous face-making.
Who’s it for?: Cat people, Dog people, People who love the internet but might have to get on a plane or go to a coffee shop that doesn’t offer free wifi, People who stock the downstairs bathrooms with things that might make guests laugh out loud while using the facilities.
What’s it do?: Meme enthusiasts may likely be confused at first when they find that there’s nothing to click, though they’ll come pretty close to making a successful GIF if they flutter the pages flipbook-style. Here’s the hard copy equivalent of all those cat picture google searches you’ve been doing instead of sending those emails or whatever it is assistants do. Features old favorite and brand new Grumpy Cat pictures as well as cameos by Dog, and Cactus. Includes Grumpy Cat’s tips for cultivating a bad mood anytime, anywhere, in addition to some crossword puzzles and connect-the-dots in case that bad mood crosses over into boredom. No matter how much you claim you only like books for their narrative merit or the insight into the human condition that well written prose provides, you’re still going to like Grumpy Cat’s Grumpy Book. That cat is hilarious.
What’s it called?: Pulp Fiction: The Complete Story of Quentin Tarantino’s Masterpiece
Who’s it by?: Jason Bailey, the film editor at Flavorwire and a film expert who has written for the Atlantic, Slate, Salon, the Village Voice, and many other publications. He saw Pulp Fiction six times during its initial theatrical release.
Who’s it for?: Film School freshmen home from first semester armed with his roommate’s Netflix password and a monologue prepared for the first cousin to offer an opinion on the merits of the new Hobbit movie; Freelance film critic-friends who run blogs you don’t have the time to keep up with; People with kitschy coffee table and guest bathroom libraries.
What’s it do?: It’s an encyclopedia of Tarantino’s masterpiece, complete with film stills, behind-the-scenes photos, maps, sidebars, and artwork inspired by the film. Bailey covers in full detail the foundational mythology behind Tarantino’s hallowed corner of cinematic history, delving into the director’s backstory, casting close-calls, and your basic film theory 101 in guest essay interludes about classical structure, pulp, the history of the f-word, amongst others. The book’s really well designed, offering up a seriously hefty serving of information in an easily digested format. Photos and historical text are interspersed with fun fact sidebars, graphic timelines, locations guides, and tons of graphs and charts that help the discerning cinephile map the Tarantino-verse from Pulp Fiction on out.
What’s it called?: The Super Book for Superheroes
Who’s it by?: Jason Ford, a British illustrator whose love of Tintin and Marvel comics is apparent in the aesthetic of this too-cool-to-be-called-a-coloring book. He’s got a respectable resume when it comes to illustration, with work commissioned by The New York Times, Penguin Books, and The Guardian – amongst others. So it’s safe to say you can trust his judgment in this how-to-guide for the aspiring comic book artist.
Who’s it for?: Kids of comic book nerds who will no doubt follow in their parents’ footsteps; Comic book nerds with kids who want to have cool footsteps to follow in; Kids about to get on planes.
What’s it do?: Starts by imbuing readers with a superpower of their own: imagination! (Genetically modified spiders not included, or necessary.) Then it features step-by-step instructions for how to draw your own superhero, his costumes, and some action shots, before opening up the floor (or, in this case the page) for interpretation. There’s plenty of space to sketch your superhero’s nemesis, his secret hideout, and his getaway car before you get to the pages of stickers, pop-out masks, and superhero figures ready to be colored in and assembled to save damsels from paper cuts and to be a force for good and recycling. A few pages towards the end feature classic comic book panels with basic captions that prompt readers to fill in the blanks with their own drawings. The only problem is that there should be more of them: more space to put to good use all the tips and tricks you’ll have picked up along the way. With its retro-kitschy design aesthetic and limited primary palette, it’s a cool gift for the discerning comic book art enthusiast of basically any age.