It’s always fun to give a gift that’s truly memorable (in a good way, of course), and this trio of books won’t steer you wrong. Ordinary is overrated!
Jane Austen’s books have been adapted, reimagined and mashed up in seemingly every possible way—until A Guinea Pig Pride & Prejudice, in which writer Alex Goodwin and set designer Tess Gammell join forces to offer an entirely new, adorably hilarious take on the classic story. As in the original, there’s all manner of matchmaking and dissembling afoot—but the feet here are tiny, and they belong to nine guinea pigs who make this photographic retelling most compelling indeed. Gaze into Elizabeth’s shiny black eyes and ponder their effect on Mr. Darcy; feel the tension as Darcy and Mr. Bingley have a rounded-nose-to-rounded-nose stare-down; sigh at Lady Catherine’s displeased moue and towering lavender hat! This affectionate, quietly dramatic homage is the perfect gift for Austen-philes, Austen-newbies, guinea-pig aficionados and anyone who appreciates a tale well told.
ALL ABOUT YOU
Most of us know about IQ tests, BMI charts, Myers-Briggs types and Rorschach blots, but those who want to more thoroughly plumb their own depths will be thrilled with The Test Book. It’s got 64 self-assessments in five sections: personality, health, career, lifestyle and beliefs. After all, as authors Mikael Krogerus and Roman Tschäppeler write, “When it comes down to it, people care about two things: understanding themselves and being understood by others.” These tests will help you reach those lofty goals, whether you’re the sort to read front to back (including the interesting introduction about the history of personality tests) or just jump in at random with tests like “Am I crazy?”or “How strong am I?” or “Who should I employ?” or “Is it love?” This book is the perfect gift for people who are inquisitive, competitive, contemplative or perhaps just want to entertain with something besides Pictionary at their next party.
Like many cartoonists, Reza Farazmand got his start in college, via UC San Diego’s student newspaper. These days, he has a popular web comic, which is at the heart of Poorly Drawn Lines: Good Ideas and Amazing Stories. It contains strips old and new, plus a few short stories and essays; those not immune to existential crises will enjoy think pieces like “Maybe There’s More to Life Than Standing Behind Babies at IKEA.” The comic’s outlandish characters run the gamut: There are chatty mountains, profane ants, a silently judgmental bird who prefers not to whistle and a dude who over-identifies with his beard. Comic fans will dig it, as will those who enjoy funny art but can’t commit to graphic novels and anyone who’s ever wondered if owls feel pressured by stereotypes (and feel compelled to memorize Wikipedia entries on the sly).
This article was originally published in the December 2015 issue of BookPage. Download the entire issue for the Kindle or Nook.