Hear ye! Hear ye! This be the last newsletter before the Great Reckoning Wherein We Shall  Wear Pajamas All Day and Do Nothing But Read, which means this will be the final list of Books You Should Buy For Yourself, er—For Those Who Will Lend You Such Books When . . . whatever. You know the drill. 

Firstly, let's just note that if you're having trouble sleeping these days, we have something for you. 

No, wait. That might not work like it's supposed to. How about this? 

There we go. Here come slumberland!

Also, this is the time of year when folks start thinking about travel plans for the new year. May we suggest . . . 

or . . . 

Speaking of best kept secrets, did you know there is a new Star Wars movie out this week? We must have missed the marketing blitz.

Anyway, DK's got a new Visual Dictionary for all the fine fashions and deadly weapons that will be wrecking galaxies. There's probably a spoiler of some kind on that cover, and we regret ruining some part of the fun for you. 

And speaking of wrecking things, apparently Manuel Villacorta has solved one of the great mysteries: how to help dudes cook without burning things. Villacorta's Essential Cookbook for Men purports to combine a "love of good food, evidence-based nutrition, and clear unfussy instructions." Well, if by "unfussy" instructions, they mean flowcharts and pictograms, then, sure, that's a win. 

We also love how the marketing copy claims "like all the best cookbooks for men, this one walks you through all the kitchen basics—stocking the pantry, creating shopping lists, reading recipes." Unlike all the cookbooks for, say, women, which assume you've got those basic skills down and are ready for something a little more complicated than "sear some meat and veg, and then put it in a bun." 


Have we mentioned recently that there are three volumes in Brian Hart Hoffman's Bake from Scratch series? No? There are three volumes. Volume 4 is coming in March. Let's all go make cool stuff, shall we? 

Oh, whew. A new James Patterson book. This is less contentious. Well, until you start reading, and then it's a whirlygig of twists and turns and plot contrivances! James's sole job here is to keep you distracted for a couple of hours while the men in your household are attempting to read the instructions on the packaging for the holiday meal they've volunteered to prepare. "Knock yourself out," you say. "Me and Patterson are going to check out for awhile." 

Thanks, James Patterson. You're always there for us. 

After that, it turns into travel guides and manga collections. Assuredly, there is something in either category for everyone out there. Trust us. 

And finally, we'll leave you with Gaston Dorren's Babel: Around the World in Twenty Languages. While English is widely spoken, it only covers about 20% of the world's population. Dorren has done some math and figures that in order to speak with just half of the world 7.4 billion people, you'd need to know twenty languages. Babel: Around the World in Twenty Languages takes you on a tour of those twenty languages. 

Ah, yes. A world tour you can take in your pajamas. We can get behind that plan. 

Prior to then, we'll be around. Stacking books in bags. Making sure everyone goes home with something that will delight them. 'Tis the magic of your favorite bookstore, after all. 

Happy holidays, dear readers. 

Overheard At The Store »»

COLBY: Welcome to the bookstore. How may I assist you in finding that perfect--oh, it's you. 

JASPER: Oh, come now, contemptible capybara. 'tis the season for politeness and obsequiousness. 

COLBY: Only to paying customers. 

JASPER: Ah, but I am one of THOSE--those dreaded customers. 

COLBY: Witness my unspeakable joy. James Patterson books are in the back. 

JASPER: What? No. I am not here for such pablum. I need to acquire a gift for my niece. 

COLBY: Your what?

JASPER: My niece. The daughter of my sister. 

COLBY: Dear God. You have family? 

JASPER: They are much finer persons than I—

COLBY: Which goes without saying. 

JASPER: But they are not . . . how shall I put this . . . as well read. 

COLBY: Suddenly, my day has been brightened by the idea of imagining holiday gatherings with your family. 

JASPER: Yes, they are quite torturous. However, I wish to give my niece something suitable this year, but . . . 

COLBY: You have no idea what the young kids are reading these days, do you? 

JASPER: Poetry, you ponderous pitiwag. I want to buy some poetry. 

COLBY: Poetry? 

JASPER: Yes, poetry. 

COLBY: . . . 

JASPER: . . . 

COLBY: That's cool. I can dig that. 

JASPER: What? You . . . you can? 

COLBY: Well, not really. I'm not much for poetry. But I see what you're trying to do there. 

JASPER: I'm just—don't make a fuss about it. 

COLBY: Oh, I'm not fussing. 

JASPER: I would just like a recommendation or two. 

COLBY: Sure. Sure. 

JASPER: There's no need to belabor this in any way. 

COLBY: No, no. I'm not. Hang on. Let me get you an expert. 

JASPER: A . . . a what? 

COLBY: An expert. Someone qualified to actually help you in that section. 

JASPER: Oh, dear. Not . . . 

COLBY: The otters? Oh, at any other time of the year, I would definitely put the otters in charge. But not now. Not when you are clearly in such—

JASPER: Don't. Don't you dare. 

COLBY: Hey, Serra!

SERRA: Yes! Yes? 

JASPER: Good grief! A llama!

SERRA: Hello. I'm a llama. 

COLBY: Serra here will help you find what you need. 

SERRA: A recommendation? You want me to give a recommendation? 

COLBY: Yes, please. 

JASPER: No, wait. I—

SERRA: What are you looking for? Oooh, let me guess. Historical fiction. No, no. Not dry enough. Um, archeological journals. Oooh. I know—

COLBY: He wants some poetry. 

SERRA: Poetry? 

COLBY: For his niece. 

SERRA: Oh! Poetry! I like poetry. I like all kinds of poetry. Come on. Let's go read some poetry!  We could read Emily Dickinson! We could read Rupi Kaur! Ooh, there's some new collections of love poems! 

JASPER: . . . You are vile, marmot. 

COLBY: Not if your niece is happy. 

JASPER: . . . 

COLBY: Merry Christmas, you cranky old fart. And you're welcome.  



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