BOING BOING GIFT GUIDE 2012   All books gadgets games Comics Media Kids Etc RECOMMENDED BY   all mark cory david xeni rob maggie jamie jason dean

Welcome to this year's Boing Boing Gift Guide, a piling-high of our most loved items from 2012 and beyond. There are books, comics, games, gadgets and much else besides: click the categories at the top to filter what you're most interested in. Add your suggestions in the comments!

Snow White with hand-grenade

Bad Apple is a sculpture and print by Goin and Mighty Jaxx, depicting Snow White cradling a hand-grenade, with a kerchief covering her face, bandit style. The trademark Disney signature logo appears across the kerchief. Read more

Solitaire.exe: a real deck of cards based on Windows 98 Solitaire

A simple piece of software got us through the dark ages of computing before the Internet allowed us to waste company time more effectively. Now you can reconnect with this old friend on the other side of the computer screen. Read more

They Might Be Giant's cryptozoology playing cards

They Might Be Giants have released a holiday bundle with lots of cool junk, but the best of the lot is this $15 cryptozoology playing-card deck. Read more

Richard Symons's encrusted, elaborate assemblage sculptures

Richard Symons, an artist based in London, makes elaborate, gadget-encrusted sculptures, and sells them on Etsy.Read more

Handmade radios from vintage parts

"Tom Kipgen makes radios using vintage parts and hand-wound coils. Absolutely stunning stuff." Read more

Zombie playing cards

Love the detail on these -- replacing the suits was a moment of genius. The face cards are AMAZING. Read more

Monster Mash: horrific composite of Universal Monsters' Big Four

"Monster Mash" comes from an alternate universe where Doctor Frankenstein has gotten a little enthusiastic with the needle. It's ghoulishly delightful. Read more

Fiji Mermaids, shrunken heads, and other essentials from The Gemini Company

I saw these up close and personal at New York Comic-Con and they look good. Read more

Modified pop culture Virgin Mary icons

French artist Soasig Chamaillard turns damaged icons of the Virgin Mary into popular culture figurines, to great effect. Read more

Molly Crabapple-illustrated Warren Ellis short story in five fits, limited edition

"There was lots of names for the thing Ariadne made: computational flora, iGrass, memory trees, That Damned Stuff. There were lots of names for Ariadne, too, because when she got tired of nobody being able or willing to answer her questions, she just released Ariadne’s Meadow into the world."Read more

BICYCLE: 2m long, detailed, grotesque bike-ride through London

A new bit of wonderfulness from the good folks at Nobrow press: Bicycle, a concertina-folded, 195cm, two-sided grotesque and highly detailed bicycle ride through London by artist Ugo Gattoni. Read more

Custom zombie portraits

"Persons interested in commissioning a custom zombie portrait for themselves, as a unique gift for a loved one or as a one-of-a-kind wedding present can simply email their reference photo to zombieme@zombieportraits.com for a free estimate." Read more

Studio Ghibli posters as old Penguin covers

A series of Studio Ghibli movie posters as covers of vintage Penguin paperbacks. He sells them as posters, postcards, and assorted other etsybits. Read more

Beautiful blown glass retro rocketships

Artist Rik Allen makes beautiful blown-glass and metal sculptures of retro rocketships, with so much personality and detail. And tiny chairs. Every one of these evinces a ZOMG WANT reaction from me. Read more

Teacup lined with teeth

Artist and Shapeways user Lily X Su designed this 3D printed ceramic teacup whose lip is lined with human teeth.Read more

Retro Star Wars recruiting posters

Cat Staggs (Gattadonna on DeviantArt) has a series of fab limited edition Star Wars wartime recruiting posters, to be offered for sale at the Star Wars Celebration show in Orlando this August. Read more

Portal's Chell in the style of Norman Rockwell

A handsome, Norman Rockwell inspired version of Chell from the game Portal. Read more

Giant NES Zelda map wall-hanging

This amazing centerpiece is printed on a heavy and durable fabric for indoor use. Extremely high quality and durable! Read more

X-rays of flowers

"Brendan Fitzpatrick has made a beautiful series of x-ray photographs of flowers." And he's selling prints! Read more

Glorantha, old RPG that was eclipsed by D&D

Glorantha is one of the oldest role-playing worlds in the history of the genre. Unfortunately, due to many reasons, the world never really found traction after D&D conquered RPGs back in the early 1980s. Read more

Philip Pullman's Grimm's Fairytales

Pullman has revisited the stories with a light touch, not attempting to modernize them, but rather pulling from lots of different sources and versions to assemble coherent tales that have all of the teeth and blood of the original pieces. Read more

Bad Pharma: account of the bottomless corruption of the pharma industry is a stirring call to arms"

An exhaustive look at the corruption that infests every corner of the pharmaceutical industry, from drug trials to regulatory approval and oversight, to marketing and prescribing and followup research. Read more

Kim Stanley Robinson's 2312: a novel that hints at what we might someday have (and lose)

An insanely ambitious novel of life three hundreds years hence, set in a solar system where the Earth continues to limp along, half-drowned, terrified, precarious -- and only one of many inhabited places, parent to a handful of planetary and lunar societies; grandparent to thousands of hollow, hurtling, spinning asteroids that have been turned into terraria supporting endangered species, vital crops, bizarre cults, sex-crazed pleasure-cruisers, and everything in between. Read more

Folio Society's beautiful edition of the Foundation trilogy

The Folio Society has released a beautiful, illustrated slipcased edition of Asimov's Foundation trilogy, illustrated by Alex Wells, with a special introduction by Nobel-winning economist Paul Krugman. Read more

Hodgman Box Set

"All wrapped up in a protective, RAGNAROK PROOF box." Read more

David Byrne's How Music Works

Former Talking Heads frontman and all-round happy mutant David Byrne has written several good books, but his latest is unquestionably the best of the very good bunch, possibly the book he was born to write. Read more

Drugs: Without the Hot Air

"Nutt is both committed to rigorous, evidence-based policy and to clear, no-nonsense prose that makes complex subjects comprehensible." Read more

Devil Said Bang: Sandman Slim finds it's lonely at the top

A superhero story, albeit one with a lot of gore and Satanism. Read more

The Mark Inside: the best book I've read on the long con

I've read dozens of books about and by con artists. Not a one of them captures the pathos and bathos, the absurdity and temerity, the virtuosity and the venality of the con man quite like Amy Reading. Read more

Neal Stephenson's Some Remarks, a remarkable essay collection

There's an unabashedly esoteric and absolutely delightful account of Leibniz's metaphysics. There's an evocative piece on life as a child in a midwestern college town. Some Remarks is a highly varied and erudite contrasts that make Stephenson's novels so pleasurable--and important.Read more

Mortality Bridge

Steven Boyett is one of my favorite authors (and has been for decades, since I was wowed by his debut novel Ariel). I reviewed his latest, Mortality Bridge , back in November, when it came out in a limited-edition hardcover. Read more

Rapture of the Nerds

The comic science fiction novel that Charles Stross and I collaborated on! Read more

Classic SF of the 1950s: beautiful books introduced by Gibson, Gaiman, Reed, Willis, Straub and others

Great contemporary science fiction writers introduce classics of the field from the 1950s. Read more

Ron English's Stickable Art Offenses: Wacky Packages meets AdBusters

An inspired collection of stickers from one of the world's most iconic sticker artists. Read more

Molly Crabapple's Week in Hell: the book

A great look inside an utterly gonzo project. Read more

People of Burning Man [NSFW]

A beautifully produced photo-portrait book shot over many consecutive years at Burning Man, the giant, weird, delightful art and culture festival that takes place every summer in Nevada's Black Rock desert. Read more

Chris Bathgate's machined-metal sculpture book: the making of beautiful, abstracted, stern but inviting forms

Beautiful, abstract machined forms with edges that look like they'd cut and curves that are cold and stern. They're like the gleaming brass sex-organs of some exotic, alien life form. Read more

Tim Powers's Hide Me Among the Graves: secret history of the vampires that stalked the pre-Raphaelites

Powers's treatment of superstition works so well, I think, because he deals with it without apology. There's never a sense that superstition is just a kind of alternate physics, with its own rules that are different from the ones we're accustomed to. Read more

Gleick's masterpiece The Information

"A revelatory chronicle that shows how information has become the modern era's defining quality--the blood, the fuel, the vital principle of our world."

Adventures with Chocolate

Chocolate genius Paul A. Young's first foray into cook-books. Read more

Makie dolls: 3D printed custom dolls

Makies, the 3D printed toy startup my wife quit her job to co-found last year, has opened its doors for a second batch of limited edition sales. Read more

DIY laser-cut desktop Marble Machine

Busted Bricks is selling a laser-cut Marble Machine kit for £12.95. It can be assembled for either left- or right-handed use. Read more

Tenth Doctor costume tee

All that detail is silk-screened with fool-the-eye shadows, and not actual additional material sewn onto the shirt's front. Read more

Tiny slide-projector

A simple, tiny, hackable slide projectors for your digital photos. Read more

Cufflinks that open hand-cuffs

"Upon first glance, The Sparrows UNCUFF LINK appears to be a standard pair of cuff links. However, a covert, hidden handcuff key has been engineered in to the design." Read more

All of Roy's t-shirts from The IT Crowd

"We collected as many of Roy's t-shirts as possible and made a graphic. We also found where the shirts could be purchased and included an exhaustive list with links."Read more

Knit muffler

Etsy seller LoveandKnit (AKA Mine Kurtulmus) makes lovely alpaca wool accessories to order, including this great muffler, which looks like something that you'd see on in an anime adaptation of Fat Albert. In a good way. Read more

Walking Dead "Green Army Men" zombies

Gentle Giant's accepting orders for Walking Dead "Green Army Men," available in green or tan, in sets of 10 for $14. Read more

Grime Writer: detergent-filled graffiti pen

Grime Writer is a detergent-filled graffiti marker that cleans away street-filth to leave your message behind. There's a good chance that the graffiti you create with these is no more legal than any other kind. Read more

Companion Cube ice-trays

Wow 'em at your next Portal-themed cocktail party with ThinkGeek's Companion Cube ice-cube molds, at $12.99 per. Read more

Bleeding skull candles

ThinkGeek's bleeding skull candles are filled with red wax that drips out of the eye socket as it burns down. Read more

Amino acid necklace spells out "we are star-stuff"

Colette Taylor is a molecular biologist and crafter who makes some rather lovely pieces, including the amino-acid inspired necklace shown here, which reads "We are star-stuff." Read more

Books made from bricks

These "brick books" are created by Melbourne's Daryl Fitzgerald who markets them to booksellers and others as "Book ends, display piece, use them however you like!" Read more

R2D2 hoodie that zips up all the way

SuperHeroStuff's R2D2 hoodie is a $70 way to keep warm and look like a droid ($73 if you want to look like an XXL droid). Read more

Custom dresses: R2D2, Tardis, Dumbo, Vader, Mickey, Snow White, and many others

Etsy's Lameasaurus Awesomesauce makes and sells these custom nerdy dresses, including R2D2, Tardis, Dumbo, Vader, Mickey, Snow White, and many others. Read more

Video-game tights

Etsy's eatmeclothing makes kick-ass video-game themed tights, including a Galaga set, Wonderboy, and Bubble Bobble. Read more

Doctor Who bathrobe

Among the many delights and nerd confections for sale at ForbiddenPlanet.com is this 4th Doctor bathrobe, with integrated scarf. Magnifique! Read more

Clothes made from vintage kids' sheets

One of my favorite shirts of all time is a Western shirt made partly from recycled Star Wars sheets, just like the ones I had as a boy. Read more

Rings carved from billiard balls

Eleanor Salazar, a jewelry maker in Maine, fashions beautiful rings from old billiard balls, carving them to size and polishing them to a smooth finish. Read more

Replica vintage sports jerseys made out of new-old vintage fabric

Ebbets Field Flannels makes replicas of vintage baseball jerseys from various leagues (including Cuban and Japanese jerseys), using new-old vintage textiles for their projects. They also do hockey jerseys, hats, and other replicas of bygone-era sportswear. Read more

A pillow into which you insert your head

"The Ostrich Pillow" is Kawamura-Ganjavian's oversubscribed Kickstarter project, a kind of padded textile space-helmet into which you insert your head (and, optionally, your hands), muffling your hearing, dimming your vision, and padding your whole head. Read more

Zombie lawn-gnomes feast on a pink flamingo

Chris and Jane's Place on Etsy will sell you this delightful tableau for your front yard, in which zombie gnomes are depicted feasting on a felled and mutilated pink flamingo. $55 cheap. Read more

Light up arcade coin-slot belt-buckle

Etsy seller ifindustries has already sold out of this light-up arcade game coin-slot belt buckle, which is good, because otherwise I might have accidentally bought it and worn it for the rest of my life. Read more

Lego's massive Haunted House set

"Lego has released a Haunted House set with vampire figures, zombie chef, Frankenstein butler, and glow in the dark ghosts." Read more

R2D2 rolling luggage

Salvador Bachiller's €95 R2D2 rolling baggage looks great. I know nothing about its materials, handling or build-quality, but it sure is cool-looking. Read more

Alan Turing memorial Monopoly set

"In this special edition of Monopoly, the squares around the board and revised Chance and Community Chest cards tell the story of Alan Turing’s life along with key elements of the original hand-drawn board, which the great mathematician played on with a young William in the early 1950s – and lost. "Read more

Darth Vader onesie

From our own online store!

2600's hacker calendar for 2013: the surveillance edition

"The theme of the 2013 Hacker Calendar is surveillance, and there are 12x12 glossy photos for every month of our surveillance culture hard at work." Read more

Rocket ship/doll house

The Educo Discovery Rocket is one of those toys I see in gift shops around the world and always think, huh, if that thing wasn't so big and unwieldy, I'd probably take it home. Read more

Catan Junior for ages six and up

Catan Junior is a streamlined, simplified pirate-themed version of beloved Boing Boing favorite Settlers of Catan, aimed at kids six and up. Read more

Fiasco: an RPG for collaboratively generating caper/heist stories

"...a game in which you capture the dark comic confusion of the Coen brothers, where snappy Tarantino dialogue in the midst of mounting carnage is provided by the players, where the good-hearted charm of Simon Pegg’s bumbling runs smack dab into the harsh realities of a Greg Rucka spy comic." Read more

D20 fez!

Fez-O-Rama sell a D20 fez. How cool is a D20 fez? Marvel at Wil Wheaton modeling the item in question and stand agog with me. Read more

Laser-cut, laser-etched flat-pack metal model kits

The model was just the right amount of challenging for me -- the kind of thing I could do in 20 minutes with a pair of tweezers while carrying on a pleasant conversation, and the finished product is a pretty cool-looking model indeed. Read more

Rat mouse

My wife Alice is a retired pro twitch-gamer, and when she gets excited about a new pointing device, I pay attention. Last night she glommed onto Chris DiBona's remarkable Rat Mouse, played with it, and pronounced it good.Read more

Pixelhead masks that make you look like a pixellated German Secretary of the Interior

Martin Backes is selling a limited edition of 333 "Pixelhead" anonymity masks, which allow you to replace your face with the pixellated likeness of German Secretary of the Interior Hans-Peter Friedrich. Read more

3D printed "mixtapes" from Makerbot

MakerBot has a delightful way of reviving the mixtape: a 3D printed MP3 player kit that looks like an old-fashioned cassette. Read more

Humiliating giant head squirrel feeder

If you've decided to surrender to the squirrels that raid your bird-feeder and just set out squirrel chow instead, why not use one of Archie McPhee's humiliating giant-head-squirrel-feeders, which allow you to chuckle at your pests even as you capitulate to them? Read more

Perfume that smells like new books

Paper Passion, a scent from Geza Schoen for Wallpaper* magazine, makes its wearers smell like freshly printed books. I suppose it can be alternated with "In the Library," a perfume that smells like old books. Read more

Cinderblock necklaces pendants made from poured concrete

Max Steiner's Cement Cinder Block Necklaces are actually cast from poured concrete and cured for a month before being sold. At 3/4" tall, they're the cutest construction materials with which you can adorn yourself. Read more

R2D2 as Death Star tee

I love this design for an R2D2 Death Star. Read more

Hand-painted Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle bra

Etsy seller SceeneShoes specializes in "Hand Painted Bras and Shoes" and will paint you a custom Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles brassiere for $35 in up to four weeks. Read more

Human-sized animal tails

Kigu sells furrie fashions -- animal onesies and strap-on animal tails, including some rather lovely dinosaur numbers. The tails run £30, the suits are £40. The tails have "ultra-lifelike tail movements."Read more

Steampunk laptop from Datamancer

Datamancer has finally built an up-to-date laptop to go with his legendary steampunk keyboards. It looks like a Victorian music box, but runs like a kick-ass gamer laptop. Read more

Tent which resembles a London tube carriage

For a mere $3127.59, you can own a tent shaped like a London Underground carriage, which sleeps 16 and seats "around" 72 people.Read more

Shadows in the Woods: candlelit board-game for kids and adults

"Shadows in the Woods" is the English version of the German board game Waldschattenspiel, an absolutely beautiful and extremely fun game for two or more kids and one adult. Read more

Child-sized hamster ball with matching bowling alley

One giant, inflatable hamster ball and; one inflated bowling lane. You insert your progeny into the former and entice them to run quickly at the latter, caroming off the sides to the amusement of all. Read more

3D printed rocket-ship espresso cup

Shapeways contributor Isohedral came up with this awesome design for a two ounce stubby rocketship/espresso cup, which is available as a 3D print in ceramic. Read more

Knitted monster masks

Etsy seller Tracy Widdess's "Brutal Knitting" project features a number of truly remarkable soft, knitted monster masks. Read more

3D printed, fully assembled, teeny-weeny little cars

This teeny weeny little car is 3D printed, fully assembled, with all its mechanisms in place. Read more

Bookcase that cunningly stores a table and chairs

"A bookcase with four removable chairs and a dining table cunningly worked into its frame." Read more

Nixie tube chess-set kits

Tony from LaserMad is poised to offer kits to build your own magnificent Nixie-tube chess-sets. Read more

Rubegoldbergian light-switch cover

Etsy's GreenTreeJewelry makes these whimsical, rube goldbergian light-switch covers that let you toggle the switch by means of a delightfully superfluous mechanism. Read more

Anti-cheating ring brands I'M MARRIED into the flesh of your finger

TheCheeky sells a $550 titanium wedding-band with I'M MARRIED etched on the inside in block serif caps. After wearing it for a sufficient time, your finger will bear the indelible mark of those words, advertising your marital status even if you slip the ring off. Read more

List of geodesic hub connectors

The good folks at Domeorama have got all your geodesic needs covered in a thorough and awe-inspiring list of all the different kinds of geodesic hub connectors you can buy. Read more

Hex-nut-shaped ring is a six-sided die

Individual Icons's "Nut Dice Ring" is a ring shaped like a hex-nut, which functions as a six-sided dice, for those moments of indecision and romance. Read more

Tactical stabbing pen adds handcuff key and other stuff

The Uzi Tactical Defender Pen goes beyond the usual "if it's stabby and matte black, it's tactical" realm, adding in a DNA-Catcher (a snaggy bit), a hidden handcuff key, a glass-breaker, and a writes-upside-down-and-underwater cartridge. It's not even black. Read more

Vintage trailer birdhouses

Etsy seller Jumahl specializes in birdhouses that look like vintage campers, from Airstreams to Shastas. He's a woodworker with 40 years' experience, who makes everything from yachts to banjos. Read more

Click watches look like light-switches

Click's latest watches are the "Wall Switches." As the name implies, they look like wide, flat, blank wall-switches, but have a hidden illuminated time-display that lights up when the switch is flicked. Read more

3D printed, pre-assembled robot hand

"A robotic hand where everything, apart from the tendons, are 3D printed." Read more

Astronomical fidget ring made from a meteorite

Jewelrydesignsformen.com's Nine Planets ring is made of gold and meteoric iron, set with gemstones representing all the planets of the solar system--including Pluto.Read more

Vinyl LP AT-AT clock

Here's a nice twist on the traditional vinyl-LP-as-a-clock craft: a cut-out AT-AT mod. Read more

3D printed chess set whose pieces form a "Chess Giant"

Cymon (AKA Joe) won the Tinkercad Chess Set Design contest with his design for Action #Chess, whose pieces can be assembled into a Chess Giant. Read more

Princess Leia hoodie with sidebuns

MallGoth emporium Hot Topic sells a $54.50 Princess Leia hoodie with integrated hair buns. I'm thinking mother's day. Read more

Sight-gag book-ends

Knob Creek Metal Arts makes clever sight-gag book-ends and sells them on Etsy in a variety of finishes. Read more

Star Wars pancake molds

Williams-Sonoma sells Star Wars vehicle pancake molds. The X-Wings and TIE-fighters are pretty cool. Read more

Fables: Werewolves of the Heartland

Fables creator Bill Willingham continues his impossible run of prolific, high-quality, highly varied stories based on the idea that all the fables, myths and stories of the world are secretly true, and that they all live together, hidden among the real, "mundy" world. Read more

Sandman box set

The massive, all-in-one, ten-volume slipcased Sandman box-set I mentioned last May is out and shipping! $125 cheap! w00t! Read more

Action Philosophers: philosophy of the ages in comic form

Action Philosophers is a delightful and educational comic created by Fred Van Lente and Ryan Dunlavey, presented as a series of vignettes that explain the biographies and ideas of the philosophers through the ages. Read more

Supergod: Warren Ellis's horrific arms-race endtimes

Warren Ellis and Garrie Gastonny's Supergod is a magnificently grim and horrifying superhero comic, in which a British government scientist narrates the sequence of events that killed the planet Earth, in whose rubble he sits. Read more

Sailor Twain: don't fall in love with the mermaid of the Hudson valley

The story of a New York steamship captain who is haunted by his love for a mermaid has run its course, and today it has been published in a single, handsome hardcover volume from FirstSecond. Read more

Taxes, The Tea Party, and Those Revolting Rebels: A History in Comics of the American Revolution

Mack's history of the American revolution is simultaneously breeze and accessible -- drawn and told in the style of wicked editorial cartoons -- and a deep look at the conflicting motives, attitudes, and narratives of all the parties to the American War of Independence. Read more

Batman Earth One: rebooting the bat

We've seen a lot of remixes and retellings of the Batman origin story, and I think this is my favorite to date. Read more

King City: awesomely weird, silly/funny sf comic

King City collects Brandon Graham's magnificent Tokyo Pop comic serial in one mammoth, $11 (cheap!) trade paperback edition, and man, is that a deal. Read more

Tune: Derek Kirk Kim's alien abduction romcom

Derek Kirk Kim is the insanely productive comics creator whose chronicles the lives of pop-culture obsessed Korean-American slacker Happy Mutant semi-losers in various kinds of peril, from love gone bad to alien abduction. Read more

Super Scratch Programming Adventure! an excellent way to get started in Scratch

The second coming of Hypercard, mixing graphics and drag-and-drop code-blobs--but all free/open source software, so there's much less danger of a single vendor killing it off. Read more

Hilda and the Bird Parade

I've kid-tested Bird Parade and I'm glad to report that the book is ever bit the triumph that the earlier volume was. Read more

New York Five: beautifully told coming-of-age comic from Brian Wood and Ryan Kelly

The story of four young women who meet as NYU freshmen, and whose lives are complicated by love, family, friendship, and school. Read more

Ladyada's geeky coloring book for makers of all ages

"Ladyada's "E is for Electronics" is a coloring book adventure with electronic components and their inventors." Read more

A Wrinkle in Time, worthy graphic novel adaptation

Larson is very faithful to the original text, and the graphic form really suits the story, as it allows for direct illustration of some of the more abstract concepts (such as the notion of folding space in higher dimensions to attain faster-than-light transpositions of matter). Read more

Zita the Space Girl: delightful kids' science fiction comic that's part Vaughn Bode, part Mos Eisley Cantina"

"When her best friend is abducted by an alien doomsday cult, Zita leaps to the rescue and finds herself a stranger on a strange planet." Read more

- From A to B and Through to Z: Brilliant, grotesque illustrated alphabet

Philip Harris's beautiful illustrated alphabet, From A to B and through to Z is a grotesque wonder of animals acting out different trades, and each drawing is more fabulous than the last.Read more

St Colin and the Dragon: great torn paper kids' comic

St Colin and the Dragon is a perfectly great 27-page kids' comic about a dragon that hatches in a faraway kingdom and the dumb things that the residents of the kingdom try to get rid of it. Read more

Giants Beware: kids' graphic novel that will delight adults too

Rafael Rosado and Jorge Aguirre's Giants Beware is an absolutely delightful kids' graphic novel about a brave young girl who dragoons her friends into going off in search of giants to hunt. Read more

Rookie: Yearbook One - Sassy's second coming

The first book-length anthology of Rookie magazine, spun out of Style Rookie, a fashion, culture and lifestyle site started by Tavi Gevinson when she was 11 years old.Read more

7th Sigma

Steven Gould's latest novel 7th Sigma is his best since Jumper, and while it shares Jumper's excellent pace and likable characters, it is otherwise as totally unlike Jumper as it could be, except in the field of overall awesomeness, which it has in spades. Read more

Ship Breaker

Ship Breaker is very, very good. Bacigalupi's starting to remind me of one of my favorite authors, Kathe Koja, whose adult work is every bit as elaborated and lush, and whose YA is every bit as spare and clean. Read more

Pirate Cinema audiobook: no DRM, no EULA, just the spoken word

The reason I'm selling this direct from my site is that the largest retail channels for audiobooks -- iTunes and Audible -- refuse to carry audiobooks without DRM and onerous license-agreements. Read more

The Girl Who Fell Beneath Fairyland and Led the Revels There

The Girl Who Fell Beneath Fairyland and Led the Revels There is the long-awaited sequel to Cat Valente's debut novel The Girl Who Circumnavigated Fairyland in a Ship of Her Own Making, and it delivers on all the promise of that book, which is one of the strongest fantasy novels for young readers I've had the pleasure of getting lost in. Read more

The Kairos Mechanism: a half-sequel to The Bone Shaker

Filled with mystery, canonfire and the horrors of war and a villain who's nightmare-scary, Kairos Mechanism is a great interlude and a fine way to tide readers over after we finish the just-published Broken Lands. Read more

Immortal Lycanthropes: Required reading for budding happy mutants and their grownups

When I was twelve years old, my brain was blown clear out of my skull and into an erratic orbit by a Daniel Pinkwater novel called Alan Mendelsohn, the Boy From Mars. If I wanted to have the same effect on a bright 12 year old proto-mutant today, I might just hand her or him a copy of Immortal Lyncathropes. For the win. Read more

Be My Enemy: triumphant sequel to Planesrunner

The absolutely triumphant sequel to Ian McDonald's pulse-pounding young-adult science fiction novel Planesrunner. Read more

A Mary Blair Treasury of Golden Books

Blair's work is always fantastic, but you couldn't ask for a better showcase than her book-illustration portfolio. Read more

Preservation Hall 50th Anniversary Collection

A four-disc box-set spanning the Preservation Hall band's storied history from 1962 to 2010, with guest vocals and instrumentation from Richie Havens, Tom Waits, Pete Seeger, Andrew Bird, Yim Yames and Del McCoury. Read more

Skidoo: the LSD-fuelled Alcatraz movie with Groucho, Jackie Gleason, Carol Channing, Lurch, and everyone else

It's got trippy dance numbers, silly comedy, hippies, and, well, everything. It's out on DVD after a long purgatory on the trashheap of history. I just watched it. It is something. It is something else. Read more

Sangean WR-11

An attractive wood-cased table radio with a minimum of bells and whistles.

Hallucinations

Neurologist Oliver Sacks' latest Book explores the fascinating world of visual, auditory, olfactory, and tactile hallucinations.

Tiny 32 GB USB flash drive

The lilliputian SanDisk Cruzer holds the equivalent of the Barsoomian Library of Congress on a chip no larger than a marmoset's thumbnail

The Last Policeman

Solving a murder before an asteroid wipes out life on Earth

Pulse Sensor

Measure your heart rate with this Arduino compatible sensor.

Subscription to Quarterly Co.

Four times a year, I find an assortment of cool physical objects, and Quarterly Co. puts them in a box and mails them to you

Unbored: The Essential Field Guide to Serious Fun

The best do-it-yourself and activity book for children I've seen.

Lost at Sea

Collects 22 Jon Ronson's fascinating portraits of people and groups a few standard deviations away from the middle of the normalcy bell curve.

Geek Mom: Projects, Tips, and Adventures for Moms and Their 21st-Century Families.

Written by the editors of Wired's Geek Mom blog, this book offers a wide range of activities for geeky families: role-playing games, cooking, costume-making, science projects, and crafts. I liked the article about how one Geek Mom dealt with her husband's voluminous comic-book collection by storing it under a bed she modified by sticking 6-inch risers under the legs.

Weird Horrors & Daring Adventures

Comic book great Joe Kubert passed away earlier this year. Best known for Sgt. Rock, Tarzan, and Hawkman in the 1960s and 70s, this anthology of Kubert's 1940s work reveals his versatility in a variety of genres, including horror, humor, and romance.

Is That All There Is?,

I discovered the work of Dutch cartoonist Joost Swarte before I read Hergé's Tintin, even though it's now clear to me that Swarte's style was inspired by Hergé. But I would never dismiss Swarte as being derivative. In fact, I prefer his work over Hergé's (don't shoot me). This anthology of Swarte's alternative comics from 1972 showcases his famous clean-line style that makes reading his work a pleasure.

The Hive

Here's the second part of Charles Burns' "new epic masterpiece of graphic horror in brilliant, vivid color." I don't know how to begin to describe this surreal story of a brain-damaged man's visits between parallel universes, but I made an attempt to explain the plot-so-far in my review of part one of the series.

Gone Girl

Marriage can be a real killer.

Mars Attacks 50th Anniversary

In celebration of the 50th anniversary of Mars Attacks, this comprehensive book is the first-ever compilation of the infamous science-fiction trading card series produced by Topps in 1962.

The Anatomical Basis of Medical Practice

For medical students who like to look at pictures of naked woman and study but don't have time to do both, this 1971 book is the solution.

Robert Crumb: The Sketchbooks: 1981 - 2012

The six volume set, published by Taschen, will run you $1000.

Korg KAOSSILATOR 2

Entertain yourself (and annoy everyone else) for hours by making your own beats, loops, and melodies with this intuitive pocket synthesizer. It has 150 sounds built-in, but you can also plug in a mic, guitar, or any other audio source, or use the internal mic, to layer even the lushest orchestrations. Great fun for absolute beginners but feature-rich enough to be a useful tool for DJs, producers, and other advanced knob-twiddlers.

Work Hard, Play Hard, Pray Hard: Hard Time, Good Time & End Time Music, 1923-1936

Late hillbilly record collector Don Wahle's collection of raw and rural 78s was headed for the dump when musician/curator Nathan Salsburg saved them. Now, this collection of country tunes, circa 1923-1936, are compiled in a lovely 3LP or 3CD box set from the Tompkins Square label. "These volumes survey songs of labor and occupation, hardship and loss; dance tunes, comic numbers, and novelties that provided distraction and fun; and the hymns and sacred pieces that reached beyond the raw material of daily existence for something enduring."

Pictures of Sound: One Thousand Years of Educed Audio: 980-1980

A stunning book/CD package, Pictures of Sound documents efforts to play historic "pictures of sound" -- Emile Berliner’s “Der Handschuh” converted from an 1890 magazine illustration, mid-20th century spectrographs of speech recordings, 1870 pictures of vibrating strings, and dozens more startling examples. Like all of the label Dust-to-Digital's releases, this collection is exquisitely packaged and presented. A stunning entree into the science and art of historical audio.

Bowers and Wilkins P3 Over-the-ear Headphones

For two years, my go-to headphones have been B&W P5s. They sound lovely, look elegant, feel cushy, and keep my head clear of ambient annoyances.But this summer, B&W introduced their smaller and less-expensive P3. Similarly styled but more compact, the P3s embody the familiar B&W elegance, fold up neatly into a hard-shell plastic case, and sound fabulous to my non-audiophile ears.

Delusional: The Story of the Jonathan Levine Gallery

The history of Jonathan Levine's Pennsylvania and New York City galleries is also a history of the contemporary pop and street art movement. Levine has held exhibitions featuring greats like Shepard Fairey, Audrey Kawasaki, Tim Biskup, Space Invader, Camille Rose Garcia, and Josh (SHAG) Agle. A complement to Kirsten Anderson's classic book Pop Surrealism, this hardcover is an alluring point-of-entry into today's figurative, "low brow," underground, street, and surrealist art world.

The Velvet Underground & Nico 45th Anniversary Box Set

Arguably one of the most influential and important rock and roll albums ever made, this new six CD set is the definitive release of the Velvet Underground's 1967 debut, containing stereo and mono versions of the album tracks, unreleased alternate takes, rehearsal recordings, a 1966 live gig, and the entirety of Nico's seminal Chelsea Girls (a collaboration with Jackson Browne). As Brian Eno famously said, The Velvet Underground & Nico may have only sold 30,000 copies when it was new, but "everyone who bought one of those 30,000 copies started a band."

Eccentric Soul: Omnibus

For a decade, Numero Group has dug through dusty record crates unearthing and researching the rarest R&B and finest soul you've never heard. Their legendary lavish compilations are essential guidebooks to what they call the "American soul diaspora." To celebrate their tenth anniversary, Numero Group has issued the Eccentric Soul: Omnibus 45 Set, a collection of forty-five vinyl 45s and hardback book rich with photos, ephemera, and the cultural history of these recordings. It's all perfectly packaged in a vintage-styled, vinyl-wrapped 45 case with handle. The set also includes free digital downloads of all the tracks.

Live the Life You Love Postcard Box

A set of lovely, eccentric, witty (and never cheesy) aphorisms are perfectly communicated through Brooklyn-based artist/designer Scott Albrecht's hand-drawn typography. Packaged in a sturdy box, this collection of 100 postcards (four each of 25 total designs) is a delightful and affordable design-minded gift.

ECR4Kids Kraft Tape Dispenser with Tape

What is it about kids and tape? This dispenser is hardwood, sturdy, and already loaded with ten rolls of paper tape in bold colors.

Snap Circuits SC-300

For kids as young as 5 or 6, Snap Circuits is a modular system of electronic components that literally snap together to make working circuits. Switches, lights, motors, photo sensors, integrated circuits, and battery packs can be combined into a water alarm, AM radio, "lie detector," and other simple devices. Directions are simple and the components are color-coded and labeled with the real electronic schematic symbols.

Twas the Night Before Hanukkah: The Musical Battle between Christmas and the Festival of Lights

In their continuing fight against bad holiday music, our friends at the Idelsohn Society for Musical Preservation's new double-CD set explores "the relationship between (Hanukkah and Christmas) and their impact on acculturation and negotiations of personal, social, and communal identity within American culture." Yeah, that, and it features killer tracks like The Ramones' "Merry Christmas I Dont Wanna Fight Tonight," Woody Guthrie's "Hanukkah Dance," Bob Dylan's "Little Drummer Boy," and The Klezmatics' "Hanukah Tree."

Fujitsu ScanSnap

Mark has previously written about the Fujitsu ScanSnap, a high-accuracy, high-speed device that's perfect for scanning receipts and bills. I knew the ScanSnap had a cult-like following as a tool to reduce paper cruft around the home and office, and that many swear by its power as a personal organization and productivity enabler. But never in my life have I been flooded with as much paperwork and bills as after my cancer diagnosis—bills, pathology reports, doctor correspondence—that mountain of patient records and medical bills is a well-known side effect of cancer, as survivors say. The ScanSnap is an awesome tool to help you get a handle on whatever paper records are cluttering up your life, and manage it day by day. A Mac version is here, a PC version is here.

Capresso frothPRO

Frothy warm milk for coffee drinks, hot chocolate, and chai is one of the greatest joys of winter. If you don't have a fancy espresso machine with a milk steamer attachment, the Capresso FrothPro is pretty great, and only about $50. I use raw cacao powder, almond milk, and a little vanilla and agave for my go-to holiday beverage treat: throw all of those ingredients in, hit a button, come back a couple minutes later and you're in business. I've given a few as gifts before, and the recipients love and use them.

VitaClay programmable clay pot cooker

There are many, many models of rice cookers and slow cookers to choose from, "smart" and simple alike, but I love VitaClay for the one thing that sets its programmable electric multi-function cookers apart: a clay pot. Instead of non-stick coating over aluminum, which is more common but associated for some with health concerns, the Vita-Clay cooking vessel is, as the name suggests, just pure red clay. Non-stick coatings and aluminum may or may not pose health risks, I don't know. But there's something really pleasing about cooking grains, beans, and stews in a vessel made from the earth itself.

Color Ignited: Glass 1962-2102

My mother, Monica Rumsey, edited this 2012 title from the Toledo Museum of Art—-a museum that houses a hefty collection of glass from ancient times to the most avant-garde stuff being produced today. My mom says, "This is a luxe 'coffee-table' book that has more than 100 color plates, all reproduced in vivid color and destined to change the way we tend to think of glass. In my humble opinion, this is not the glass we deal with every day, those clear transparent vessels that serve up things to drink, or the flat panes we see and touch in our many electronic devices, or the windows in our homes, offices, stores, or modes of transport. These are works of Vulcanic genius, from the gods of amazement who, in the days of myth and magic, gave us lightning and thunder. The only difference is that the people who made the objects featured in this book live and work on nearly every continent around the world today." It's a beautiful, large-format book, and would make a lovely gift.

Persian Saffron

Man, this stuff is amazing. If there's a chef on your gift list, go for it. Just like there's coffee beans and then there's COFFEE BEANS, there's saffron and then there's SAFFRON. This is SAFFRON. Some also use this as a refreshing herbal tonic known in Asian medicine: a few threads in warm water, with cinnamon or green tea leaves and a little sweetener. Heaven.

Set of Six Sea Salts

Say that fast. Six species of sodium, for the foodie on your list. Sel Gris de Noirmoutier, Meadow Fleur de Sel, Maldon Flake Sea Salt, Black Diamond Salt, Molokai Red, Kauai Guava Smoked Salt.

Madagascar Vanilla Beans, 1/4lb.

About 27 very potent, fragrant, high-quality Bourbon beans, for $15. Affordable sensual indulgence. An essential ingredient in crème brûlée, homemade vanilla ice cream, and a delicious addition to spiced chai and other DIY delights. Some preparations involve splitting the bean to scrape out the black seeds inside; others involve placing beans or bean pod shells in sugar, waiting a few days, then using the vanilla-infused sugar in baking. So delicious.

LifeSpan TR1200-DT Treadmill Desk

I knew about the standing workstation/treadmill desk trend long before my cancer diagnosis, but after my surgery, sitting and writing for long stretches of time wasn't just unhealthy—it was excruciating. Post-op, I need to be in motion throughout the day to manage pain and help my remixed body rebuild itself. Friends who are formerly-overweight bloggers and writers tell me tales of 20-40-pound weight loss after switching to a treadmill desk for at least part of the day. The LifeSpan is one such all-in-one, readymade product that includes a desktop work surface, a console with readouts for Speed, Calories, Steps Taken and Distance travelled, padded armrests across the front, and adjustable height to accommodate users from 4'10" to 6'8" tall. Speeds range from about half a mile per hour to four miles per hour, and the LifeSpan comes with a lifetime warranty. There are higher and lower price tag options from other brands, and of course, you could always cobble together a DIY version as a gift from reclaimed wood, cinder blocks, and a Craigslist treadmill.

Aeropress

Life is too short to drink bad hotel room coffee, and this is an affordable and portable solution for coffee snob road warriors.

Tonx Coffee bean subscriptions

Tonx.org is one of a number of small, independent roasters who will mail you bags of fresh beans at regular calendar intervals. Never run out of the good stuff. Intelligentsia offers a similar service with more options.

Hearts of Space online ambient music subscription

Thousands of hours of ambient music to write by. Various membership levels available. The syndicated public radio program that created the ambient music movement.

Forks Over Knives, the cookbook

The 2011 documentary film "Forks over Knives" argued that "most, if not all, of the degenerative diseases that afflict us can be controlled, or even reversed, by rejecting our present menu of animal-based and processed foods," and advocates a whole-foods, plant diet. Whether or not you believe in the dogma (I think the science is trickier than the film suggests), there is plenty of evidence that unprocessed plant-based foods without dairy, meat, or added oils are nutritious. This cookbook also proves they can be delicious and enjoyable. It contains 300 recipes with "wholesome fruits, vegetables, grains, and legumes," including "classic and unexpected, globally and seasonally inspired, and for every meal of the day, all through the year."

Vegan pie, cupcake, and cookie cookbooks by Isa Chandra Moskowitz

The work of post-punk vegan cookbook goddess Isa Chandra Moskowitz occupies a cherished place in my kitchen. You do not have to be vegan to enjoy the recipes, or the playful and approachable way they're presented. I suggest three, all together, for the adventurous chef in your life: Vegan Cookies Invade Your Cookie Jar, Vegan Cupcakes Take Over the World, and Vegan Pie in the Sky

The Cancer-Fighting Kitchen

The name suggests this cookbook is all about cancer prevention, but that's not the case. It was for me a road map and bible during my cancer treatment, to better understand how chemotherapy, surgery, and radiation change our experience of taste and smell, and how to accommodate changing nutritional needs and aversion to food during treatment. If you or someone you love is going through cancer treatment, buy this book. The recipes are great, but most valuable of all for me (and the people cooking for me for all those months when I was too weak) was the explainer on how our perception of flavor is warped by chemo.

Masticating Juicer

You can't buy a better juicer for $220. I wrote an extensive review here. This is my favorite kitchen gadget, and was essential during my cancer treatment—and the long road of recovery I'm now on. Fruit and veggie juices are easy to extract and clean up is a breeze. The device can also be used to make nut butters, pasta, and can be used to mash ingredients for baby food or in ingredient prep.

Bubo for iPhone 4

Excellent and affordable ($120-ish) stabilizer for shooting high quality video on the iPhone 4.

Ten$ion: Die Antwoord

2012 release with fatter-than-ever beats by the South African rap-rave band who credits Boing Boing in part with their surge to viral fame.

Oddly Normal: One Family's Struggle to Help Their Teenage Son Come to Terms with His Sexuality

A beautiful memoir by New York Times writer John Schwartz, the dad of a gay teen son, which offers an instructive story for families of LGBTQ kids. Three years ago, John got the phone call every parent hopes never to receive: "his thirteen-year-old son, Joe, was in the hospital following a failed suicide attempt. After mustering the courage to come out to his classmates, Joe’s disclosure — delivered in a tirade about homophobic attitudes—was greeted with dismay and confusion by his fellow students. Hours later, he took an overdose of pills." Oddly Normal chronicles all that followed, through to the present day, interweaving the family's narrative with questions common for families of LGBTQ kids, like, "Are effeminate boys and tomboy girls necessarily gay? Is there a relationship between being gay and suicide or mental illness? Should a child be pushed into coming out?" Parents, relatives, teachers, and counselors can all benefit from the book.

The Tri-State Gang in Richmond: Murder and Robbery in the Great Depression

A Great Depression historic thriller, set in my home town of Richmond, VA, and edited by my mom! During the lawless Prohibition era of the 1930s, a group of criminals called the Tri-State Gang emerged from Philadelphia and spread murder and mayhem south through Baltimore to Richmond, "wreaking bloody havoc and brutally eliminating those who knew too much about their heists." Once known as the "Dillingers of the East," Robert Mais and Walter Legenza led their "men and molls" on a violent journey of robberies, murders, and escapes up and down the East Coast. Historian Selden Richardson, who has an odd personal connection to the story, recounts their bloody tales in a gripping, can't-put-it-down, rigorously documented history book that really, really needs to be made into a movie.

Breaking Bad, Seasons 1-5

Breaking Bad is the best TV show ever in the history of TV, and if you disagree with me you either haven't watched it or you are a big dummy. I was already a fan before my cancer diagnosis, but watched and re-watched all five seasons during my treatment and found a new appreciation for how perfectly the show nails the experience of being a person with cancer. No, not all of us will morph into meth-cooking sociopaths (though the idea has come to mind as my medical bills stack up), but many of the nuances in Walter White ring familiar, right down to the can of ginger ale in the fridge to ward off chemo nausea. Links: First Season, Second Season, Third Season, Fourth Season, Fifth Season

Transverse: Carter Tutti Void

Chris Carter and Cosey Fanni Tutti (Throbbing Gristle) and Nick Void (Factory Floor) created this collaboration for the Short Circuit presents Mute festival at the Roundhouse London in May 2011. All tracks were prepared in the studio, then performed and recorded live in front of the audience. "Outside of the trio, these recordings were unheard prior to the festival and the popularity of the performance left many being turned away at the door," but they are now preserved for you here.

Chrome Metropolis bike messenger bag

A most excellent travel bag, which handily carries up to 40 pounds of stuff, and can easily accommodate a large laptop. There are smaller Chrome bags, too, like the Citizen I love that they're waterproof, and I love that they are as comfortable as a backpack but don't look like something a child carries to school.

Roomba

iRobot's iconic and robotic vacuum cleaner just turned ten, and the robotics company has released new models. Brian Lam's Wirecutter site recommends the $400 Roomba 650; the top-of-the-line Roomba 780 packs more power but will set you back $600.

Otterbox rugged case for the iPhone5

"Rugged" and "iPhone5" aren't words that generally belong in the same sentence together, unless you're talking about this bulky but ultra-protective case for people who regularly use the device in conditions likely to cause smashings and scratchings.

Leica M9-P

The smallest full-format digital system camera. Yes, it's $7K, but it's an amazing device. For about a thousand bucks, the Leica D-LUX5 is a somewhat more affordable shutterbug indulgence.

Lifefactory 22-Ounce Beverage Bottle

During cancer treatment, I had to drink a lot more water every day than usual. Now that I'm in the habit, I like to carry fresh, filtered water with me wherever I go, in a container free of possible carcinogens. This glass water canteen is a little heavier than nalgene or metal counterparts, but I like the feel, and I like the purity, and I like that I can also carry warm tea (not *too* hot, mind you) or iced coffee or fresh-pressed green juice in it.

Moleskine Hardcover Notebooks

Give one to a young person on your gift list. Someone born in the digital age who has no idea how beautiful and satisfying the act of scribbling out your ideas on paper can be.

The Kindle Paperwhite

A single-function e-reader that does what it promises elegantly, and for about $120.

Amazon Prime membership

For $79, you get 13 months of free shipping and lots of free extras (it's a year's subscription, but there's a free trial month included). During cancer treatment, my Prime membership made it easier for me to shop online for essential food, nutrition, and personal care items when I was not well enough to go out. A Prime membership is great for buying fun stuff, but can also be a really practical tool for elderly, disabled, or otherwise incapacitated people (like I was during treatment). Amazon does not currently offer a way to "gift" Prime Membership, and Amazon gift certificates can't be used toward membership. One workaround: buy the person you'd like to Prime a prepaid Visa or Mastercard at your local grocery or drugstore, make it for $79, and give it to them with a card explaining what it's for. Alternately, plain-old Amazon gift cards are awesome.

Vitamix 1300 Turboblend

$375 might seem like a lot to spend on a blender, until you try a Vitamix. Smoothies, flours, quick breads, dips and dressings, nut butters, soups, ice cream, raw vegan foods, mixed drinks—man, you can prepare so many wonderful things with this durable device. It just works. I own an earlier, cheaper model of the Vitamix, and am absolutely delighted. You do not have to get the absolute latest and highest-end model to be satisfied. Do, however, buy the dry mix container so you can grind your own flour (the wet mix container is for smoothies and liquids; you can't grind dry things in that one).

   

The Dark Knight Trilogy

 

 

They're all here, and they're all on Blu-ray in one convenient set, just in time for holiday gift-giving! If there is a Bat-fan in your life, or a Christopher Nolan fan, or just someone who liked all those movies, then you really, really can't go wrong for five fancy discs for about $30. 

   

The Evil Dead

 

 

Before the remake hits theaters in the spring, remember where it all began: at the "Good Times" cabin in the middle of nowhere! Travel with a young, dumb Ash (Bruce Campbell) and his terrified friends as they find themselves up against a demon-infested forest and do tons of things they probably shouldn't. And then, watch him bring different friends back to the same cabin in Evil Dead 2, because Ash is the worst friend you could ever have. 

   

The Cabin In The Woods

 

 

In case you missed the best horror movie of the year (that might not be a horror movie at all), it's time to introduce yourself to Joss Whedon and Drew Goddard's Cabin in the Woods. It is a masterpiece of a movie - smart, scary, funny, but most importantly, it has a genius script. 

   

Buy This Box or We'll Shoot This Dog: The Best of the National Lampoon Radio Hour

 

 

Before there was Saturday Night Live, there was National Lampoon, which had a radio show that featured a cast full of everyone you've ever known from the '70s comedy scene: Bill Murray, John Belushi, Harold Ramis, Harry Shearer, Gilda Radner, Ann Beatts, Christopher Guest, and tons more. It's like a prehistoric version of a podcast, plus if you buy it, a dog won't be shot! 

The Walking Dead Compendium Volume 2

A fan of AMC's The Walking Dead, you say? Why not check out where it began, with Robert Kirkman's acclaimed comic series? The first volume, which was released last year, covers what we've seen on the show so far, albeit with some notable differences that might make you curious. But if you want a cheat sheet to see what could be coming up with our beloved (or not) survivors, this big, honking book is a really great start.

Steve Martin: The Television Stuff

Basically, let Steve Martin show you how it's done. All those things that Martin did in the '70s and '80s that were awesome? It's all in this DVD set. Except for The Jerk, because that was movie stuff and not television stuff. But watch this with this in mind: Steve Martin is a philosophy guy. Who plays the banjo. Do we have anyone else like him on the planet? I think not. Also recommended: Martin's spectacular book about his standup career, Born Standing Up.

Verameat Jewelry

If you know someone who loves jewelry, but is bored by plain old gems and things (or thinks "bling" is tacky), there is something at Verameat for such a person. Designed by former model Vera Balyura, these pieces (available in a variety of metals, and that's not even the best part) are quirky little conversation starters that come straight from those weird dreams you have when you wake up at 5:00 AM, then fall back to sleep, like the Hip Shark, a combination of a shark and a hippo with a headless woman's torso in its wide-open mouth. If that's not your style, I recommend checking out the two- to three-finger ring collection, which ranges from simple to spinal. Yes, spinal. A little on the pricey side, but you're getting something truly unique and hand-crafted. Love and imagination went into everything here.

Pica Pica Press

Speaking of freaky jewelry, maybe geeky jewelry is more your speed. Pica Pica Press is one of those places that has a bunch of simple, pretty selections that you kind of can't believe exists. Meaning, "Oh my god, a Venture Bros. necklace??? And a Crow T. Robot necklace? It isn't even my birthday!" No, really -- there is something specific for everyone here! And the price range is also very easy to deal with. Besides fan-friendly stuff, there are also old-school things like anchor and (cute) skull earrings.

RiffTrax

For movie lovers and haters alike, give the gift of Riff. Yes, I did interview these guys on two occasions this past year. No, they have not paid me to do this. I just really, really, really want as many people as possible to know that there are funny guys out there (Michael J. Nelson, Bill Corbett, and Kevin Murphy) who have found the proper way to mock a movie while it's going on. But also, it's a really great way to (inexpensively) supplement other possible DVD gifts or even movies that are already owned by the giftee in question! You can download tracks yourself, or give a gift certificate and let the giftee choose.

Kill Shakespeare

So, you sold out and went the Cliff's Notes route in high school when you were supposed to learn Shakespeare? Memorized the prologue from Romeo and Juliet, then peaced out for the year? It's time to come back to Elizabethan English -- the kickass way. IDW now has three volumes worth of Shakespearean literature for you in a colorful comic format, and it's available in basically every single way you can read a comic. That is, hard copy and digital copy. Comic-osmosis doesn't exist yet. I met the creators, Anthony Del Col and Conor McCreery, at New York Comic Con, where we performed booth improv and I fawned all over their beautiful comics. Definitely check these out for the Shakespeare lover in your life.

LEGO Space Shuttle

Your big kid may have grown up, but LEGOs have too. Relive the glory days with a suitably complicated and nerdy kit strewn out across the living room floor!

BioLite CampStove

If you like backpacking, stop dealing with gas canisters for stoves and burn some twigs and leaves instead. The battery pack's fan stokes the fire, burning it hotter and faster with two speeds for heat control. Great for back yard fondue, too!

Icebreaker Legacy Coat

Every detail is just right in this jacket. Merino wool outside, wind-breaking shell inside, and elastics in the sleeves keep the cold out, but still breathable enough to wear when you might get hot. Stylish for sure!

Merkur Long Handled Safety Razor

Make shaving a treat instead of a chore. You'll get a closer shave with fewer passes and it's easier to shave week-old beards for those too busy to shave daily. Pair with a good shaving soap and a brush for the whole kit.

Sanyo Eneloop Rechargeable Batteries

A good gift gets appreciated over and over. These batteries come pre-charged, last for 1500 charges and are cheap enough that you can replace someone's whole supply in one go. They'll never buy batteries again.

Gang Leader for a Day

When sociologist Sudhir Venkatesh started working on his doctorate at UChicago, he traded analyzing stuffy surveys in the ivory tower for real experience hanging out with crack dealers and prostitutes in the projects. His story is incredible, and as he gets to know the people in the neighborhood he learns there's a lot more to learn than the academics even know.

Taza Mexican Hot Chocolate

Class up your hot chocolate with these big discs of stoneground chocolate. Melt 'em down into milk for a special winter treat. Four different flavors in the sample pack.

Halo 4

Give the gift of MJOLNIR armor. Halo 4 is everything you could hope for in a Halo adventure and successfully rejuvenates the line. Master Chief has gotta feel a bit like Tugg Speedman at this point, tho...

18th Century British Dueling Pistols Brass

It is OK to be angry with someone. How you manage that anger, well... thats where it gets tricky! Don't bottle it up! Anger will eat you from the inside. Sometimes talking out your differences works wonders, other times a set of dueling pistols could be mighty nice to have around.

The Science of Good Cooking (Cook's Illustrated Cookbooks)

Why does no one eat your cooking? Answer is fancy scientists probably don't know! The brilliant cooks at America's Test Kitchen, however, apply the principles of science to their recipes and explain cooking at a chemical level. An amazing gift for anyone who loves cooking and can read.

the Pax Vaporizer

A portable vaporizer that works? Is simple to operate? Easy to clean? Impossible? NO! The Pax is all that and discrete in its beauty.

Multipet Talking Gefilte Fish

A talking Gefilte fish for your dog to play with? Suck luck! A little more pesach than Hannukah, but you can pair it with a dreidel or two!

Nikon D800 36.3 MP FX-Format Digital SLR

Finally a dSLR that rivals medium format film. I am shooting less 120 and more digital. If you shoot landscapes this is the camera for you.

Crumpler 5 Million Dollar Home Camera Bag

This is a good looking, functional camera bag with enough room to carry 2 mid-sized bodies and a few accessories, rolls of film, etc. It doesn't scream "steal me, I've got cameras in me!" which is always a plus in my book!

Persol 714 54mm Sunglasses

Want to give a cool gift? These sunglasses were favorites of the King of Cool, Steve McQueen.

The Muppets Whatnot kit

What could be more fun than customizing your own Muppet? These kits look fantastic and you get to MAKE YOUR OWN MUPPET!

Ghost Hunting Kit

Spooky happens! Do you want your loved ones to be unprepared? For the budding Ghostbuster in every family.

The Mountain Three Wolf Moon Short Sleeve Tee

This t-shirt has so many magical properties it'd be silly to try to list them all. Giving this gift makes you a better person. Receiving this gift gives you superhuman abilities. Help any non-ironic, ironic hipster be a little more ironic!

Raw ginger iPhone cover

Minneapolis artist Karen Gustafson makes these amazing pen-and-ink drawings based on scanning electron microscope images of food. This iPhone case features a really, really close-up view of ginger root.

Lucky unicorn skull necklace

I love Susan Elnora's work -- it's a like a natural history museum had a baby with a jewelry store. Besides this quirky fantasy piece (also available in gold), she's got a bunch of more-realistic pieces featuring buffalo skulls, moveable birds, and landscapes made out of layered necklaces.

Treble clef necklace made from forged silver wire

Brittany Foster makes fantastic twisty, sculptural necklaces that are simultaneously simple, elegant, and flamboyantly unique. I don't buy much jewelry, but I've bought one of these.

Trippy art prints

Nicholas Bohac makes big paintings that use metal leaf, collage, and spray paint to create cool, surreal settings. His handmade silkscreen prints get the price down under $100. This one, called appropriately, "Trips", has a great heyday of jet travel meets Electric Kool-Aid Acid Test vibe.

Nudibranch necklace

Seriously amazing. You can never have enough jewelry inspired by marine mollusks.

Revolver

A Midwestern literary magazine with feisty edge. Their motto: Rowdy Reading. They post fiction and poetry online regularly, but this is the first print edition with some of their best stuff.

thirty two magazine

A thought-provoking Minneapolis magazine with national appeal. Probably seen in your social media feed last summer, thanks to a fantastic long read on the fall of the creative class.

The Best Science Writing Online 2012

An anthology of fantastic science reporting from across the blogosphere. Short (but deep) reads that are perfect for anyone who commutes by bus or train.

Stuck Rubber Baby

A classic. Fantastic semi-autobiographical graphic novel about a young man coming out in 1960s Alabama.

Illustrated Guide to Home Forensic Science Experiments: All Lab, No Lecture

This DIY science book offers enough depth and background that adults can really learn something, while presenting experiments suitable for a range of ages.

I'm Just Here for More Food: Food x Mixing + Heat = Baking

I can finally make a damn fine pie crust, and it's all thanks to this book. Alton Brown explains the chemistry behind seven basic baking fundamentals, and then teaches you how to build on those to bake just about anything.

Ozeri Touch Professional Digital Kitchen Scale

One of Alton Brown's first bits of baking advice: Buy a kitchen scale. And he's totally right. This one is inexpensive, works great, cleans up easily, and lays flat in a drawer.

The Annotated and Illustrated Double Helix

Fantastic new edition of the controversial science classic. Loaded with photos, letters, documents, and the perspectives of other players in the story of DNA. Includes three pages of Francis Crick's 6-page letter urging James Watson not to publish The Double Helix.

Last Launch

A coffee table book of stunning photos from the end of the space shuttle program.

The Where, the Why, and the How

A party for your left brain and your right brain. 75 artists illustrate science, creating beautiful, informative explainers.

11" MacBook Air

Apple's lightest is still the best ultraportable laptop, but the competition's getting stiffer on the Windows side: especially models from Lenovo and Asus. Don't skimp on RAM, as it cannot be upgraded. By the way, those considering Microsoft's Surface should wait for nest year's Pro edition: the launch model is a muddle.

Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Carbon

Thinner and lighter than its stablemates in the ThinkPad lineup, this is still my favorite alternative to the Air for Windows users. It's pretty good for Linux, too, though Ubuntu only certifies it for pre-installed systems.

iPod shuffle

A cheap, iTunes-compatible player with physical controls is essential for joggers, drivers, cyclists and anyone else smart enough to know that touchscreens will kill them.

Roku LT Streaming Player

Hits all the basics of streaming TV, including NetFlix and Amazon Prime streaming, for less than $50--and use your iOS or Android gadget as the remote.

Tokina 11-16mm lens

Tokina's 11-16mm ultra-wide angle is fantastic, and comes for all the popular DLSR mounts. I can't recommend it as a toy for people starting out with a fancier digital camera -- you could get three great primes for the price -- but its just such a fun, fast outlier of a lens.

Minecraft

The game of the year, every year; an open world of exploration, discovery, creativity and sudden death. Now available for Android.

Concrete Desk Tidy

Formfreunde's concrete desk organizers bring the Ballardian vibes right up close. Smell the brutalism! The set includes an ashtray, naturally. Someone else on Etsy makes a nice matching lamp, too.

Field Notes classic 3-pack

My favorite brand of inexpensive, well-made notepads. $10 for 3, and more than twice as good as the half-priced composition pads you can get at Target. Whatever you do, don't get suckered into buying the beautful leather and wood merchandise tailored to the pads' dimensions.

iCADE - iPad Arcade Cabinet

I built a Mame cabinet, once, a gruelling and expensive project whose heavy, unweildy results were soon given away. Now I just have one of these and a Dingoo.

Dingoo a320

It doesn't come with the easily-found SNES, Genesis, Neo Geo or arcade ROMs that it's designed to run, but at $80, it's a steal.

Lytro Light Field Camera

All it does is point and shoot, but Lytro's amazing camera uses an innovative optical system that captures data at every focal length, to allow post-shot refocusing. Never a blurry shot again.

iPad Mini

The lack of a high-resolution display is the only drawback to the iPad Mini, which is in every other respect the perfect tablet: half the weight of its big brother, but losing less than 2" of the screen size. Google's Nexus 7 is a little sharper, but the screen is almost an inch smaller despite the tablet itself being slightly heavier and thicker.

Nexus 4

The best Android phone has the latest version of Google's operating system, but no speedy 4G; a good tradeoff for those who want the best software.

Samsung Chromebook

The best cheap netbook, simple as that--and a steal at $250. Good battery life and Apple-esque looks make it a no-brainer for budget shoppers with good internet connections--it's designed to rely upon Google online services--but those with performance requirements or privacy concerns should steer clear.

Wacom Intuos5

The current model of Wacom's premium pen tablet--essential for artists and an excellent mousing alternative for RSI sufferers--has 2048 levels of pressure sensitivity and custom radial menus accessed from a hardware touch-wheel.

Jawbone Jambox

As good as any of the other meaty solo wireless speakers, and you can customize the colors at the official homepage; alternatives include the medically-shaped Beats Pill and Philips' military-styled Shoqbox.

Fitbit or Nike Fuel Band

These gadgets could be described as iMotivators--simple pedometer technology improved by clever software. Nike's comes as a fancy wristwatch, Fitbit's as a wee pebble that fits in the supplied clip, a purse or picket. Each connects wirelessly to your cellphone or computer whenever in range, letting you keep track of footsteps and calories using bundled apps--and visualize your progress.

Steadicam Smoothee

From the creators of the original Steadicam, the Smoothee makes it possible to get shake-free run-and-gun footage from your cellphone or GoPro. It takes practice to get good results! It's moddable for compact cameras, though people with DSLRs or big lenses should consider stouter models such as the Flycam Nano, Glidecam HD-1000 or Steadicam's own Merlin.

Sony RX100

The best consumer point-and-shoot camera by a country mile, even Canon's popular S110 doesn't come close. A large sensor and the f1.8 Zeiss lens offer greater depth of field and superior low-light performance, while the tiny body slots in a shirt pocket. At $600 or thereabouts, though, it is not cheap.

Sony RX1

Leica users will think that the RX1 is a bargain; after all, it's a point-and-shoot camera with a full-frame sensor. At $2,800, though, Sony's little miracle remains well out of reach for everyday mortals. Just out this month, be sure to wait for a consensus from reviews before eBaying the M9.

Blackmagic Cinema Camera

Want to make a movie? At $2,500, Blackmagic's Cinema Camera is more expensive than an entry-level DSLR body, and you'll still need to factor in the cost of lenses, solid-state storage and other essentials. But with RAW shooting, 13 stops of dynamic range and a 5" integrated LCD monitor, it nails the cine style without any of the hacks and compromises, save one: some reviewers knock its relatively small sensor. Sony's got a full-frame interchangeable-lens camcorder out for $3,300, but it lacks the BCC's pro features.

Instant Camera

Fujifulm's Instax is still cheapest way to get instant hardcopy gratification from a camera, and refills are easily found. Polaroid's Z230 Instant Print Camera has the retro looks.

Wizzywig

A brilliant book from Ed Piskor, whose Brain Rot strip is published weekly here at Boing Boing: "They say 'What You See Is What You Get'... but Kevin 'Boingthump' Phenicle could always see more than most people. In the world of phone phreaks, hackers, and scammers, he's a legend."

Thrilling Tom the Dancing Bug strories

A collection of the early best from Ruben Bolling's Tom the Dancing Bug, now published weekly here at Boing Boing, described by the AAN as "consistently funny, pointed without being dogmatic ... an oasis of keen intelligence in the comics page."

Elfquest

Called "one of the most important works in American Fantasy" by the American Library Association, Elfquest is now published weekly at Boing Boing. DC Comics' hardcopy archive editions are among the best.

Penderyn Single Malt Whisky

The Welsh are making single malt whisky! It's delicious. Cory got me a bottle a while back and I've been counting the days for a chance to sip it again. (Yes, there's an English Single Malt, too!)

Martin Traditional Recurve Bow

Now the kids are bored of Hunger Games, it's safe to go near a bow. Martin's traditional recurves are lovely but pricey: beginners can try their $50 Youth Model to avoid the unfun, beaten up, overpowered compound models hanging up at the range.

Aviator hat

For your adventures.

Glitter Unicorn Stickers

Nine sparkling stickers show a unicorn prancing along a rainbow's path, rearing up on its hind legs, rendered as a seahorse, and more.

The History of Zelda: Hyrule Historia

An unparalleled collection of historical information on Hyrule, the world of Zelda. This hardcover contains never-before-seen concept art, the full history of Hyrule, the official chronology of the games, and much more. Unfortunately, it won't be shipped until January.

Bone: The Complete Cartoon Epic in One Volume

The complete epic adventure from start to finish in a single trade paperback: three cousins become lost in a primitive valley, where they evade dangerous enemies and make new friends.

Nausicaä of the Valley of the Wind

A deluxe compilation of Hayao Miyazaki's classic manga series.

The Mountain Brachiosaur Tee

Awaken your lumbering inner saurupod with this top quality, pre-shrunk, 100% cotton tee, hand-dyed with water-based inks and dyes.

Magical Unicorn Mask

Latex, fits most adult heads, vaguely disturbing.

Vaughn Bode: Rare and Well Done

112 pages of rare and unusual Science Fiction and Fantasy illustrations by "the perverted Walt Disney".

Building Stories

"This graphic novel (if it can even be called that) mimics the kaleidoscopic nature of memory itself—fleeting, contradictory, anchored to a few significant moments, and a heavier burden by the day. In terms of pure artistic innovation, Ware is in a stratosphere all his own."

LED Lantern

Four independently-functioning 6-LED panels and a total of 190 lumens; requires 8 D-Cell batteries in the base.

Dream of Pixels

Dream of Pixels reverses time on the best game of Tetris you ever had: a grid of blocks lies already complete, and you have to unpack the tetrominoes that fell to create it.

Lost States

"Everyone knows the fifty nifty united states—but what about the hundreds of other statehood proposals that never came to pass? Lost States is a tribute to such great unrealized dreams as West Florida, Texlahoma, Montezuma, Rough and Ready, and Yazoo. Some of these states came remarkably close to joining the Union. Others never had a chance. Many are still trying."

Felt Animal Hats

Forget the mass-manufactured polyster appropriations at Hot Topic: pay up for a custom-made pagan model all the way from England.

Dishonored

The stealth game of the year, Dishonored is set in an expansive alt-reality Victorian-era London packed with mystery, atmosphere and intrigue.

Lazerwood wooden keyboard

Wooden keyboards are usually too showy and incongruous for me, but Lazerwood's adhesive wooden key covers are a subtler, sexier option.

26 Responses to “Gift Guide 2012”

  1. nowimnothing says:

    My amazon wish list just doubled in size, thanks.

  2. peregrinus says:

    let me add some financial misery to the season - http://www.thisiswhyimbroke.com/.

    I am bound and determined to buy a motorcycle helicopter for my … er … 3 year old.

    • CH says:

      Why did I click that link, whyyyyyyyy?

      First I saw the magic wand tv-remote, and then the sword handle umbrellas, and my husband definitely needs the suit pyjamas… and… then I saw the Tron motorcycle. (I don’t do motorbikes, certainly not for that price… but… but…)

    • ChickieD says:

      Oh that is just not fair. They have my deepest, secret desire – an aquarium coffee table.

  3. Give a gift that is fun to play with AND helps liberate the USA from corporate corruption.! Get a $10 stamp for use on currency – paper money – and enjoy the cathartic feel of literally STAMPING money out of politics!
    http://stampstampede.org

  4. Michael Polo says:

    love the header graphic! 

  5. Luther Blissett says:

    Just scrolling along, I noticed both Xeni and Maggie nominated the treadmill desk. 

  6. Interesting! About an hour ago I thought I saw a suggestion in the top of this post to ‘add your gift ideas below’. So I added one, but it has been removed, and now the text above inviting suggestions is gone. Did I imagine all that?

  7. Tavie says:

    Better link for the ostrich pillow may be http://www.studiobananathings.com/buy-ostrich-pillow/ – the kickstarter page linked from the original BB article might deter from readers from clicking through to find the “buy it”

  8. ChickieD says:

    Thank you for putting Stuck Rubber Baby on the list! Howard Cruse is an old family friend – remember when he was talking about this project years ago.

  9. Soft Cities custom map blankets are a great gift for kids! They are made with OpenStreetMap data and designed by Soft Cities and Stamen.  http://softcities.net

  10. neil says:

    calendar for the new year, featuring prominent, capable, interesting women, and the science&engineering work they are involved in. 

    it’s not pink.
    http://www.sciencegrrl.co.uk/#

  11. BethanyAnne says:

    I wanted to recommend the SoundJaw.  I backed the Kickstarter project for it, and I’ve been really pleased with the gizmo.  It’s a little plastic clip that fits onto a device to make the speaker forward-firing.  There’s an older one that is specifically for the iPad, but the new one fits most devices.  It’s http://www.tinylightbulbs.com/all-products/soundjaw-unlimited.html here.

    I’m not the designer or anything, just a backer, and a happy user :)

  12. BethanyAnne says:

    Oh! One other recommendation.  Reading the robot hand rec above reminded me of it.  I was gifted a 3″  robot at Robot Nation, and it was a great thing.  You design the robot from their parts library, they 3D print it, and send it to you.  I spent *hours* fiddling with my design – one of the bestest gifts ever. http://www.myrobotnation.com :)

  13. darrrrrrn says:

    How about some esoteric satire in the form of Shape-Shifting Lizard Skin Cream, Tinfoil Wallpaper or Topless Mayan Advent Calendars: http://www.etsy.com/shop/mysticmark

  14. Tim Brown says:

    I agree with that the Otterbox iPhone case is protective, however the Lifeproof case is what you need if like me you use your phone in harsh conditions. Look into them as the cases are immersible (Yes); shock resistant (think G-Shock) and slimmer than the Otter Box by far. The cases are not cheap but provide almost as much, if not more protection than service provider damage insurance.

  15. Somehow you missed the new Back to the Future Encyclopedia from Hasslein Books:  http://hassleinbooks.com/pages/book_bttfLexicon.php. We’ll forgive you..  =) 

  16. Why is it that when I click on a link, it doesn’t open in a new window… and then when I hit the back button it takes me all the way up to the top of this page, and the list is not in the same order or with the same items showing? (I was only looking at Gadgets, but after hitting “back” I’m on “All”, at the top again.) Even when I click on a link from the “All” page, when I click on “back” the list is in a different order! There is no way I can look through this list if clicking on links does that to me every time. Am I doing something wrong?

  17. Patrick Cahn says:

    What’s hilarious is I looked at the Whatnot Muppet kit on Amazon, and fully half of the “items viewed by customers who viewed this item” were from this gift guide.  

  18. NESJumpman says:

    After having already got the macbook air for my wife, we made it better with decals. EG:  http://www.etsy.com/shop/CarlsonsShop

    there are others on there as well, but this guy was quick, and nice when I asked questions. 

  19. @Amy:  I too got fed up, so for the few things I was interested in seeing more of, I copied them to a document, to look at/deal with LATER. Ugh.  In this day and age…

  20. AND I BELIEVE THEY DO THIS ON PURPOSE!

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