Boing Boing Gift Guide 2011

Though we're delighted to have our own online toystore up this holiday season, there are a thousand things we could recommend from elsewhere. Cutting it down to a couple of hundred, for our fourth annual gift guide, wasn't easy; this year was a fantastic one for books, games, gadgets and much else besides. From stocking stuffers to silly cars, take yer pick.

Axe Cop Vol I

Axe Cop: insane comic collaboration between 5 year old and his 29 year old brother (Full review)


Daytripper: wrenching existential graphic novel (Full review)

Izombie: Dead to the World

iZombie: snappy, sassy supernatural comic (Full review)

Anya's Ghost

Anya's Ghost: sweet and scary ghost story about identity (Full review)

Four Color Fear: Forgotten Horror Comics of the 1950s

Four Color Fear: delightful horror comics from the pre-Code era (Full review)

The Valley of Fear

Sherlock Holmes as a series of exciting graphic novels (Full review)

The Influencing Machine: Brooke Gladstone on the Media

Influencing Machine: Brook Gladstone's comic about media theory is serious but never dull (Full review)


Habibi: graphic novel is blends Islamic legend, science fiction dystopia, love and loss (Full review)


Feynman: comic biography of an iconoclastic physicist (Full review)


Seeds: comic-book memoir of father's cancer is moving, sweet (Full review)

Zahra's Paradise

Zahra's Paradise: graphic novel about Iranian uprising is a story and a history (Full review)

The Homeland Directive

The Homeland Directive: taut technothriller for the paranoid era (Full review)

MetaMaus: A Look Inside a Modern Classic, Maus

MetaMaus: the secret history of Art Spiegelman's Pulitzer-winning Maus (Full review)

Lynd Ward: Six Novels in Woodcuts

Lynd Ward's wordless, Depression-era woodcut novels (Full review)

Scenes from a Multiverse

Scenes From a Multiverse: wicked webcomic mixes science, net.humor, high weirdness (Full review)


India's most expensive movie yields most astonishingly violent and demented action-scene in cinematic history (Full review)

National Lampoon's Animal House

The first SNL film adaptation, a modern classic, and a great way to pass the day

Leverage: Third Season

John Rogers's great, well-crafted grifter thriller really hits its stride in the third season – enormous fun to watch

Among Others

Among Others: extraordinary, magic story of science fiction as a toolkit for taking apart the world (Full review)


Deathless: Cat Valente's beautiful fantasy of Stalinist Russia and the Siege of Leningrad (Full review)


Robopocalypse: rigorous, terrifying novel about a robotic campaign to exterminate humanity (Full review)


Sensation: Acerbic novel about pop culture and popular madness as functions of parasitic manipulation (Full review)

What Lies Beneath the Clock Tower: Being An Adventure Of Your Own Choosing

What Lies Beneath the Clock Tower: steampunk choose-your-own-adventure (Full review)

Napier's Bones

Napier's Bones: math and mysticism make for great international adventure (Full review)

Machine of Death

Featuring stories by Randall 'xkcd' Munroe, Yahtzee 'Zero Punctuation' Croshaw, Erin 'Wordnik' McKean, David 'Wondermark' Malki !, Ryan 'Dinosaur Comics' North and many others, MACHINE OF DEATH explores the concept of a world in which a machine can tell everybody knows how they will die. (Full review)


Gateways: Tribute to Fred Pohl with stories by Bear, Benford, Brin, Bova, Gaiman, Harrison, Haldeman and me! (Full review)


Stephenson's REAMDE: perfectly executed, mammoth, ambitious technothriller (Full review)

The Magician King

Lev Grossman's The Magician King: fantasy sequel, the banality of magic and the magic of banality (Full review)

The Difference Engine

William Gibson and Bruce Sterling's seminal cyberpunk alternate history about a Victorian England dominated by mechanical computers. (Full review)

Zoo City

Zoo City: hard-boiled South African urban fantasy makes murder out of magic (Full review)

The Children of the Sky

Vernor Vinge's Children of the Sky: bootstrapping high-tech civilization from hive-mind Machiavellis (Full review)

Aloha From Hell

Aloha From Hell: Sandman Slim goes back to Hell and kicks more ass (Full review)

The Illustrated Gormenghast Trilogy

Mervyn Peake's centennial — new illustrated Gormenghast, long-lost sequel (Full review)

Machine Man

Machine Man: a discomfiting novel about the antihuman side of transhumanism (Full review)

Agatha H. and the Airship City

Agatha H and the Airship City: Girl Genius book is a cross between a comic and a prose novel (Full review)

The Great Big Beautiful Tomorrow

The Great Big Beautiful Tomorrow (Full review)

Chicken Little

My novella Chicken Little as a stand-alone ebook (Full review)


Pratchett's Snuff: a rural/nautical tale of drawing-room gentility, racism, and justice (Full review)

Mortality Bridge

Boyett's Mortality Bridge: Rock n' roll Dante meets Orpheus (Full review)

The Kobold Wizard's Dildo of Enlightenment +2 (an adventure for 3-6 players, levels 2-5)

Existential D&D comedy: when characters realize they are trapped in adolescents' imagination (Full review)

Under the Poppy

Koja's UNDER THE POPPY: dark, epic and erotic novel of war and intrigue (Full review)

Medieval Weapon Push Pins

The perfect way to butch up those passive-aggressive Comic Sans notes reminding people to turn down their cellphone ringers and wash out their coffee mugs. (Full review)


Easily the best coffee-gadget I've ever tried (Full review)

Thinkpad X220

My new Ubuntu-flavoured ThinkPad is computing heaven (Full review)

Click Watches

Retro-electro watches use dip-switches and turn-switches for operation (Full review)

Travel Boggle

New Boggle: travel-friendly all-in-one game (Full review)

ZAL creations

Handmade lamps created from plumbing fixtures

Paper Computer

Papercraft PC to assemble and animate

Ossuary Dice Set

Ossuary Dice: 3D-printed polyhedral dice worked with skulls (Full review)

CCTV surveillance camera cufflinks

A perfect gift for the paranoiacs and voyeurs in your life (Full review)

Theo Jansen's 3D Printed Strandbeests

Theo Jansen's marvellous walking mechanical Strandbeests, in 3D printed form (Full review)

3D printed "thorn dice"

Shapeways user Ceramicwombat created these great "thorn dice" and they're available in a number of polymers and metals, fresh and piping hot from the 3D printer. (Full review)

Intel 320 Series 600 GB SATA 3.0 Gb-s 2.5-Inch Solid-State Drive

Intel's largest-capacity laptop-sized solid-state drive cost as much as my laptop, and is the best investment I could have made: blindlingly fast boots, no hard-drive hangs, vastly expanded battery life, speedy backups, and high reliability

Toddy T2N Cold-Brew Coffee System

Simple, low-cost way to make cold-brew coffee – delicious and sweet (Full review)


Kit-built 3D printer just may change the world

Portal 2

Perfect balance of great puzzles and great writing, a worthy successor


Side-scroller is as fun as the first Mario, as beautiful as Warcraft, as whimsical as Katamari Damacy

3D printed Settlers of Catan tiles

Beautiful, handcrafted, 3D printed tiles for Settlers

The Order of Odd-Fish

Order of Odd-Fish, a funny, mannered, hilariously weird epic romp (Full review)

Monkey Truck

Monkey Truck: colorful picture book with banana-farts and vroom-vrooms (Full review)


Troubletwisters: Garth Nix and Sean Williams' action-packed new kids' fantasy (Full review)


Rotters: YA horror novel about grave-robbing chills, thrills, delights (Full review)

The Adventures of Polo

Adventures of Polo: wordless picture book is a bedtime delight (Full review)

That's Disgusting!

That's Disgusting! Awesomely gross picture book (Full review)

Everything On It

Lost collection of Shel Silverstein poems and illustrations (Full review)

Down the Mysterly River

Willingham's Down the Mysterly River, a kids' novel that captures the glory of Fables (Full review)

Fuzzy Nation

Scalzi's Fuzzy Nation: a masterful, likable reboot of one of the great sf classics (Full review)

The Bippolo Seed and Other Lost Stories

The Bippolo Seed and Other Lost Stories: trove of lost Dr Seuss stories (Full review)

Nursery Rhyme Comics: 50 Timeless Rhymes from 50 Celebrated Cartoonists

Nursery Rhyme Comics: Great comic illustrators do Mother Goose (Full review)

The Inquisitor's Apprentice

Inquisitor's Apprentice: tenement sorcerers versus the robber barons in an alternate Gilded Age New York (Full review)


Scored: pulse-pounding/thought-provoking YA novel about surveillance (Full review)

The Phantom Tollbooth

50th anniversary of The Phantom Tollbooth, with introduction by Michael Chabon (Full review)


Westerfeld's Goliath: suitably thrilling conclusion to cracking steampunk WWI YA trilogy (Full review)

Chronicles of Harris Burdick

The Chronicles of Harris Burdick: writers produce "official" stories to go with the much-loved "Mysteries of Harris Burdick" illustrations (Full review)

Welcome to Bordertown

Welcome to Bordertown: the first Borderlands book in decades! (Full review)


Heavy-duty anonymizing, proxy-busting proxy from The Pirate Bay's ninja sysadmins (Full review)

OWS Bandana

Guy Fawkes OWS bandanas (Full review)


Monstrous crocheted horrors

Combustible Lemons

Crocheted Portal 2 fan-art

Rave On Buddy Holly

Buddy Holly tribute album featuring Modest Mouse, the Black Keys, Fiona Apple, Kid Rock, Lou Reed, Paul McCartney and many others (Full review)

Pull Up Some Dust And Sit Down

Ry Cooder's Pull Up Some Dust And Sit Down: lefty rootsy blues, rock and country for our times (Full review)

The Definitive Hoosier Hotshots Collection

Presenting the Hoosier Hotshots: comedy lyrics and hot klezmercountryjazzswing (Full review)

Bad as Me

Bad As Me: Tom Waits's first all-new studio album in 7 years (Full review)

American Legacies

Preservation Hall Jazz Band: old time jazz from New Orleans (Full review)

The Information: A History, a Theory, a Flood

James Gleick's tour-de-force: The Information, a natural history of information theory (Full review)

Reality Is Broken: Why Games Make Us Better and How They Can Change the World

McGonigal's Reality is Broken: using games to improve the world (Full review)

The Monster: How a Gang of Predatory Lenders and Wall Street Bankers Fleeced America–and Spawned a Global Crisis

The Monster: the fraud and depraved indifference that caused the subprime meltdown (Full review)

Cancel Cable: How Internet Pirates Get Free Stuff

Cancel Cable: practical guide to file-sharing is also a calm manifesto (Full review)

Poke the Box

Godin's Poke the Box: manifesto demands that you go do something now! (Full review)

The Filter Bubble: What the Internet Is Hiding from You

The Filter Bubble: how personalization changes society (Full review)

Tweets from Tahrir

Tweets from Tahrir: selected Tweets from the Egyptian revolution (Full review)

Creative License: The Law and Culture of Digital Sampling

Creative License: how the hell did sampling get so screwed up and what the hell do we do about it? (Full review)

Tempo: timing, tactics and strategy in narrative-driven decision-making

Tempo: transformative, difficult look at advanced decision-making theory (Full review)

Bad Science: Quacks, Hacks, and Big Pharma Flacks

Bad Science comes to the USA: Ben Goldacre's tremendous woo-fighting book in print in the States (Full review)

Context: Further Selected Essays on Productivity, Creativity, Parenting, and Politics in the 21st Century

My second essay collection, featuring an introduction by the estimable Tim O'Reilly, as well as a walloping 44 essays that were previously published in various magazines, newspapers and websites (Full review)

artistic reinterpretations of Frankenstein's monster

From pop art to comedy, horror to whimsy, a large collection of hand-painted Frankenbusts

Monster supplies from Hoxton
Monster Supplies

Odd, conceptual supplies for monsters and monster-like creatures, with proceeds to fund The Ministry of Stories literacy trust

The Math Book

An entertaining full-color tour of mathematical highlights from 150 Million B.C. to 2007

You Are Not So Smart

Why You Have Too Many Friends on Facebook, Why Your Memory Is Mostly Fiction, and 46 Other Ways You're Deluding Yourself.

Listomania: A World of Fascinating Facts in Graphic Detail

The 9 Most Lucrative Heists. 10 Unsolved Mysteries. 13 Fad Diets. 7 Things Made From Insects. If these pique your interest, you'll enjoy this book.

Made by Hand

My adventures in the world of do-it-yourself.

The Practical Pyromaniac

Build Fire Tornadoes, One-Candlepower Engines, Great Balls of Fire, and More Incendiary Devices.

Figure Drawing For All It's Worth

The prized instructional art book by Andrew Loomis is back in print.

The Geekdad's Guide to Weekend Fun

Cool Hacks, Cutting-Edge Games, and More Awesome Projects for the Whole Family

Wicked Bugs

The Louse That Conquered Napoleon's Army & Other Diabolical Insects

Paying For It: a Comic-Strip Memoir About Being a John

Cartoonist Chester Brown recounts his experience as a customer of prostitutes.


DIY Scientists Hack the Software of Life

Moonwalking with Einstein

The Art and Science of Remembering Everything


The Curious, Exciting, and Slightly Disturbing Science of Squid

Papertoy Monsters

A fun cardboard creature making book.

The Price of Everything

Solving the Mystery of Why We Pay What We Do.

The Postmortal

A very creepy thriller about what happens when a cure for aging is discovered.

Ready Player One

The best science fiction novel I've read in a decade!


Lars Martinson's graphic novel series about an American English teacher who lives in rural Japan.

Go the Fuck to Sleep

A storybook for exhausted parents

L.A. Noire: The Collected Stories

Hardboiled fiction Joyce Carol Oates, Francine Prose, Lawrence Block, Joe Lansdale, Duane Swierczynski, Megan Abbott, and Andrew Vachss.

Pat the Zombie

A perfect parody of Pat the Bunny

Mister Wonderful

As a storyteller and artist Daniel Clowes is at his masterful best here.

Look! A Book!

Illustrator Bob Staake's latest book is filled with colorful two-page spreads, each loaded with dozens of seek-and-find objects.

Kaweco Liliput Ballpoint Pen

At just 3.9 inches (9.8 cm) in length, the Kaweco Liliput ballpoint pen is one of the smallest pens at JetPens that accepts standard D1 refills.

Palomino Blackwing 602 pencil

The Blackwing 602 is a worthy tribute to the iconic Eberhard-Faber Blackwing. Buy a gross for $163.98!

Settlers of Catan portable edition

One advantage of the portable edition is that the playing pieces snap into holes in the board so they won't become loose.

Carcassonne for iPhone and iPad

The best way to play the famous boardgame.

Bowers & Wilkins P5 Headphones

Active noise-canceling headphones make my brain feel like it's in a vice. The B&W P5s sound lovely, look elegant, feel cushy, and keep my head clear of ambient annoyances.

PowerSkin battery/case for iPhone 4

I get jittery when I'm out for a long day and notice that my iPhone has less than 3/4 of a charge. Now I don't have to seek outlets in unlikely places.

Crosley Spinnerette USB Turntable

No, this isn't audiophile quality. But it's good enough and a stylish way to reignite one's vinyl obsession.

Custom Muppet Whatnot

Design your own Muppet and have it delivered to your door. The process itself is a hoot.

The Psychopath Test

Boing Boing pal Jon Ronson tours the industry of madness, from psychopaths to the shrinks who study them.

Alan Moore: Storyteller

A lovely objet d′art and tribute to this essential voice of 20th (and 21st) century narrative.

An Experiment With Time

JW Dunne's curious 1927 investigation of dreams and precognition that influenced the likes of TS Eliot, Aldous Huxley, William S. Burroughs, Robert Heinlein, and CS Lewis.

I Listen To The Wind That Obliterates My Traces

Exquisitely-packaged book and CD set of vintage music-related vernacular photographs paired with a wonderful selection of 78rpm recordings.

Trespass: A History Of Uncommissioned Urban Art

A beautiful history of street art, from Jean Tinguely, Keith Haring, and Jenny Holzert to Shepard Fairey, Billboard Liberation Front, and Banksy.

Haunted Air

Stephen Thrower's spooky collection of antique vernacular photographs of Halloweens past, with an introduction by David Lynch.

The Cotton Exchange vinyl subscription service

A subscription service for fine vinyl-only reissues of blues and historic recordings. Eight high-grade, 180-gram records per year.

Throbbing Gristle, reissued

Deluxe vinyl and CD reissues of the groundbreaking, challenging, and seminal releases by these "wreckers of civilization" who invented industrial music. (Available from Forced Exposure US and Cargo UK.)

Songs of the Jewish-American Jet Set: The Tikva Records Story 1950-1973

Celebrating the indie Jewish record label that cranked out everything from Israeli folk and klezmer to cantorial singing, Catskills comedy, political spoken word, and 60s rock from the Jewish diaspora.

What's Going On: 40th Anniversary Box Set

Forty years later and Marvin Gaye's iconic album of political corruption and social inequality has never been more relevant.

The Dark Side Of The Moon – Immersion Box Set

The original epic album remastered plus five more discs of audio and video, including the Alan Parsons' 1973 quad mix, a documentary about the album, and live footage.

To What Strange Place: The Music of the Ottoman-American Diaspora, 1916-1929

Three discs of the folk music of Anatolia, the Eastern Mediterranean, and the Levant via the immigrant experience in New York City.

The Black Power Mixtape

A group of Swedish Television journalists documented the Black Power Movement's development in the 1960s and 1970s, with prominent leaders including Angela Davis, the SNCC's Stokely Carmichael, and Black Panthers founders Huey P. Newton and Bobby Seale. After more than 30 years in storage, their never-before-seen footage has been compiled into a "film mixtape" by director Goran Hugo Olsson.

Bobby Fischer Against The World

Excellent documentary about the rise and fall of one of the greatest chess geniuses of all time.

Four Lions

LOLS and Jihad. If you or the ones on your movie gift list didn't catch this excellent Chris Morris film in theaters in 2010, you really must add it to your collection. I have seen it more than four times, and I laugh anew with each screening.

Inside Job

Charles Ferguson's documentary on the Wall Street swindle and ensuing global financial crisis should be required viewing for all who are participating in, or do not understand, the OWS movement.

Cave of Forgotten Dreams

Herzog's descent into Chauvet Cave, where the walls are covered with artwork created by our ancestors more than 30 thousand years ago. Spoiler: the epilogue may be beautiful filmmaking, but factually speaking, it is bogus. Still, the film is a must-see, and full of incredible, inspiring footage.


A powerful and exhilarating documentary about Mark Hogancamp, and his journey to recovery after being beaten almost to death, and losing his memory. He "builds Marwencol, a miniature World War II-era town filled with doll versions of his friends, fantasies, and even his attackers." I promise that you will love this film.

Winnie The Pooh (2011)

The books were perfect, and they were true to the books with this wonderful film.

Mad Men: Seasons One through Four

Everyone's favorite midcentury nostalgia television series

Keiko, the Untold Story

The true story of the "Free Willy" Star. One whale's epic journey from captivity to release in his home waters of the North Atlantic.

Flying Cheap

PBS Frontline doc about air travel. If you flew somewhere for the holidays, after watching this you'll want to drive or take a bus or train home instead.

Jean Luc-Godard: Histoire(s) du cinéma (2011 DVD release)

"A critique of the 20th century and how it perceives itself," by the great French new wave director.

Fitbit Ultra Wireless Activity Plus Sleep Tracker

The ultimate bio-tracker for contemporary body-hackers. Monitor your daily steps, stairs climbed, distance, calories burned, and activity levels with a 3-d motion sensor and altimeter technology. How long and how well did you sleep? Tracks that too.

Withings – Wifi Bodyscale

Monitor body weight and body fat more accurately, with WiFi connection that stores data online or on your iPhone so you can more easily track progress and motivate to reach your goal weight and BMI.

Chumby 8

What is a Chumby? Bunnie Huang's networked internet appliance is a lot of things: digital photo frame, music player, web browser, alarm clock, app player. 8" Screen and Wi-Fi. They've been shipping 'em for five years, and this is the best Chumby yet.

Boxee Box

I've tried them all, and so far, this is my favorite networked home entertainment content system.

Hatchcraft bamboo iPhone cases

Homages to IG and Holga camera cases, in laser-etched bamboo.

"Cainthology (Songs In The Key Of Cain)," Tim Heidecker

No, not just an album of parody songs by Tim Heidecker of "Tim and Eric Awesome Show Great Job." No. This is a call to follow our lord and saviour in eternal salvation, Herman Cain.

Jenny O.: Home

The LA-based singer-songwriter is one to watch in the year to come.

Gilles Peterson Presents Havana Cultura: The Search Continues

Funky, hypnotic grooves out of Cuba curated by master crate-digger, DJ, and producer Gilles Peterson.

James Casebere: Works 1975-2010

An artist who creates and photographs miniaturized cabinets of architectural curiosities. "Casebere constructs intimate three-dimensional models of interior and exterior spaces, pared down to essential forms. He then photographs these maquettes, freezing the investigated spaces between the real and the imagined."

40 DAYS THAT SHOOK THE WORLD: From Occupy Wall Street to Occupy Everywhere

The first decent book on OWS, by liveblogger (and author) Greg Mitchell.

Chinese Propaganda Posters (Taschen, 2011)

Remix inspiration for the Occupier on your list. Just released in November, 2011.

The Pedro Almodovar Archives (Taschen), by Pedro Almodovar, Vicente Foix and Paul Duncan (Dec 13, 2011)

If, like me, you are a superfan of the eccentric Spanish director—you'll know you have to buy one for yourself, and one for someone on your gift list.

That is All

John Hodgman's third and final installment in his trilogy of Complete World Knowledge.

The Nerdist Way: How to Reach the Next Level (In Real Life)

Chris Hardwick, nerd superstar, offers fellow "creative obsessives" tips on how to come out on top in "the current Nerd uprising."

Finding Fernanda: Two Mothers, One Child, and a Cross-Border Search for Truth, by Erin Siegal (Author)

This is a powerful book on a topic I have personally investigated in Guatemala. Siegal's work rings true, and is the most in-depth and compelling treatment of the topic I have ever read. The true story she investigates involves "an investigation of $30,000 U.S. dollars, four Guatemalan orphans, one nonprofit evangelical Christian adoption agency, an accused family-run child-trafficking ring, one infant cut from her unconscious mother's womb, two missing sisters, and a nine-member Tennessee family who believed wholeheartedly in Christian love and faith until the dark side of international adoption shattered their trust."

The Word Made Flesh: Literary Tattoos from Bookworms Worldwide

A visual exploration of one kind of ink that gives homage to another kind of ink.

2012 Hot Guys and Baby Animals wall calendar

Guaranteed perfect gift for anyone on your list who likes looking at hot guys and/or baby animals.

Life Inc: How Corporatism Conquered the World, and How We Can Take It Back

Required reading for The Year of The Occupy. Doug Rushkoff's examination of "how corporations went from being convenient legal fictions to being the dominant fact of contemporary life."

Nim Chimpsky: the chimp who would be human, Elizabeth Hess

The story of Nim, a chimpanzee who became the focus of a historic experiment in the 1970s to see if an ape could learn to communicate with human language. This book is the basis of the 2011 film by the creators of the film "Man on Wire."

Vegan Pie in the Sky

Vegan cookbook queens Isa Chandra Moskowitz and Terra Hope Romero tackle the most American of desserts: pie. Includes lots of gluten- and/or soy-free options. But this book isn't about what's not in the desserts, it's about what is in them: tons of yum.

Candle 79 Cookbook

My favorite vegan restaurant in New York, enjoyed by herbivores and omnivores alike, reveals how to make some of their most popular dishes in an easy-to-follow cookbook.

Ani's Raw Food Asia: Easy East-West Fusion Recipes the Raw Food Way

Healthy and tasty. Raw food maven Ani Phyo explores her own family roots for the first-ever Asian raw food (un)cookbook. Recipes from Korea, China, Japan, Thailand, Vietnam, India, Indonesia, and Hawaii. You absolutely do not have to be a "raw foodist" to enjoy these recipes, any more than you have to eat nothing but cake to enjoy a cookbook about cakes.

Coffee subscriptions

America is witnessing a renaissance of artisanal, quality-snobbish roasteries, and a number of them will send you bags of beans weekly or once every other week. Intelligentsia offers two price ranges (basic, premiere), Tonx and Four Barrel each have one price level. All programs offer bean selections chosen by the roasters. I've tried 'em all, and loved 'em all. It's dynamic, unpredictable, and fun. And a lot easier than hunting down the beans in local stores, or tolerating sub-awesome coffee because I can't get to a retail location every week for fresh coffee.

Mypressi TWIST Handheld Espresso Maker

You can pay a thousand bucks for a top-of-the-line espresso machine, or you can buy this for a little over $100 and get a device that produces similarly respectable espresso, and also fits in a suitcase for road warrioring.

Capresso frothPRO

Hot or cold frothy milk. Such a great "comfort beverage" tool. Cappucinos, "green tea" matcha lattes, and hot chocolate are some of what's possible. Together with the mypressi, you have a mobile (or space-conservative for one fixed location) cappucino/latte setup that can't be beat. Vegans, this is for you, too: soy, almond, coconut, and hemp milks also yield varying degrees of foam, and are wonderful heated in this way, with gradual warming at moderate temperature.

VitaMix blender

Oh, laugh at the $350-500 price tag. But if I had to choose between this device and any other kitchen appliance, even including my stove, I'd probably choose this. I use it to make everything from smoothies to juices to soups to dressings to ice creams to nut butter to fresh-ground flours, and it does them all perfectly. It's unlike any other blender I've ever used before.

Fermentation pot

Hand-crafted in Poland, these crocks are an attractive and traditionally aesthetic container for pickling and making sauerkraut, a topic much beloved here on Boing Boing.

Kensington International All-in-One Travel Plug Adapter

Many countries, infinite plug configurations, one device.

13" macbook air

Best laptop ever.

iPhone 4S

Best iPhone ever. The camera alone makes it worth the price.

Moleskine Folio Digital Tablet Cover for Apple iPad

Not everyone uses paper AND iPad with equal priority. But I bought one of these for a loved one who digs the interactivity of iPad, and the traditional familiarity and tactile pleasure of paper. If you're like him, you'll love this case. It's Moleskine, so of course it's well-designed and pleasing to the touch.

Jawbone Jambox

Portable, sub-$200 wireless speakers that connect with any bluetooth device.

Nostalgia for the Light

Patricio Guzman's utterly gorgeous documentary on time, human memory, and our connection both to the dead and to the stars.

Bill Cunningham New York

A wonderful film about a happy mutant. Don't let the fact that it's ostensibly about fashion or photography turn you off, if you're not into either. It's about an eccentric and rare human being.

Breaking Bad

Surely, someone in your life has not yet been indoctrinated. Buy Season 4, or start back at Season 1, and watch as many as you can in one meth-like marathon. This is how it's done.

David Byrne: Ride Rise Roar

A concert film spanning the artist's 2008-2009 performances, covering collaborations with other artists.

Attack The Block

A feel-good movie for the whole family about poverty, racial strife, gang violence, space aliens that want to destroy the human race, and marijuana.

Snuff Box

Subversive BBC comedy series created by Matt Berry (IT Crowd, Mighty Boosh) and Rich Fulcher (Boosh, Funny or Die, Sarah Silverman Program) that aired once but became a cult classic.

Poetry Magazine

I was a featured writer in one issue this year, and I've been a loyal reader for many.

Hi-Fructose Magazine

New contemporary art

Coilhouse Magazine

A Love Letter to Alternative Culture

Just for Redheads mascara

I don't always wear makeup. But, when I do, I prefer to not look like a raccoon.

Tra Vigne Wine Cellarette

You know how sometimes, you can fall in love with somebody you know will never, ever feel that way about you, and that's okay? You love them so much that you really, honestly just want them to be happy and find somebody who will treat them the way they deserve to be treated? That's how I feel about this wine cabinet, designed and built by Minnesota woodworking artist Mark Laub. It is incredibly expensive. It is also the most beautiful thing I have ever seen. The photo cannot possibly do it justice. My husband and I have gone to Minneapolis' Blue Sky Gallery just to pet it. Laub does incredible things with wood, at an obsessive level of detail. For instance, in one side of these cabinets, there's a tiered stack of curved drawers meant to hold tea. Open a drawer, and inside it, where most people will never see, is an intricate, exquisite wood inlay flower. It is amazing. I can't afford it. But I want it to go to a good home, with Happy Mutants who grok the time and skill and love that little, hidden flower represents. Link (I can't link specifically to that picture, but it's the third one down on the right)

Wire vine necklace

Brittany Foster is a Minneapolis artist who turns abstract metal sculpture into wearable jewelry. She does great earrings and pendants, too, but I love this series of necklaces made from twisted lengths of silver.

Duet cherry wood and acrylic earrings

I went shopping for grown-up stud earrings this summer, which is a frustrating task. Thank god for Etsy, and for Duet, which makes really cool contrasting studs in a variety of shapes, using white or gold acrylic. I bought the "Droplet" style, but I'm also pretty fond of "Strike".

Infrastructure necklaces

Susan Elnora is a Minneapolis artist who makes jewelry using some wonderfully geeky motifs, from antlers and bison skulls, to embryonic turtles, curled in their early developmental stages. One of my favorite things she does, though, is these great infrastructure pieces: Railroad tracks, telephone poles. All three have depth and perspective–the tracks, for instance, appear to get smaller, shrinking into the distance somewhere on your clavicle. Add them together, and you've got a little landscape.

Glow-in-the-dark "Science!" print (Second from the top on the right)

Based on old science kits from the 1950s, this 12" x 12" print by Todd Thyberg of AngelBomb Design is a wonder of Easter Eggy fun. Read the tiny print for lots of great, geeky jokes. And did I mention it glows in the dark?

Wintercraft starter kit

Make ice globe lanterns to decorate your yard or light up a table. You can freeze the water outside using the power of winter, or indoors, using your freezer.

Buffalo Trace Bourbon 750ML

There are two whiskeys I've developed a particular fondness for this year. Buffalo Trace is one.

Rogue Dead Guy whiskey

This is the other. If you can only pick one, pick the Rogue. It's a damn good special occasion whiskey.

Surly Coffee Bender

A great gift for beer lovers, it's made with cold-press espresso. Which pretty much means it's awesome.

Dry Soda 24-pack

I stumbled across this soda at a burger joint on Route 66 near Oklahoma City. The burgers were good. The soda was outstanding. And this is coming from somebody who isn't a huge fan of soda. Dry, as the name implies, has great flavor and tangy, carbonated punch without being cloyingly sweet. It's soda that's actually refreshing. After trying a bunch of their flavors, the cucumber remains my favorite. But don't shy away from the rhubarb, juniper berry, or wild lime.

Nilsson Schmilsson

I owe my little brother big time for turning me on to the great voice and talent of Harry Nilsson, a 60s/70s singer-songwriter who doesn't have nearly as high a profile as he rightly deserves. For background, watch the documentary "Who is Harry Nilsson and Why is Everybody Talkin' About Him?". It's available on Netflix. Buy it for anybody who likes the Beatles. Buy it for people are only so-so on the Beatles, but really dig clever orchestration, witty fun songwriting, and beautiful harmonies (done on different tracks by Nilsson himself).

The Animal Years

I owe my husband big time for turning me on to the great voice and talent of Josh Ritter, a modern singer-songwriter and masterful storyteller. "Girl in the War" is my favorite song on this 2008 album. It's simultaneously a tearjerker and a call-to-arms against an unfair and unreasonable world. Buy it for anybody who likes life.

Season Tickets to WITS

This is a weird gift suggestion, since it really only applies to people within driving distance of the Twin Cities, and the tickets aren't actually on sale yet. But bear with me. It's worth it. WITS is a live variety show, recorded for Minnesota Public Radio. It's kind of like Prairie Home Companion's hip, geeky, slightly tipsy younger cousin. For each event, host John Moe brings in an author or comedian and great musicians, putting on a show that combines spoken word, conversational interviews and fabulous song interludes. The creators of Mystery Science Theater 3000 serve as the house hecklers. There is a sing-a-long at the end. You should totally go. The 2012 season will start in spring. In the meantime, you can listen to archives from the 2011 and 2010 seasons and obsessively refresh the WITS webpage until 2012 tickets become available.

Recordings from the Conference on World Affairs

The Conference on World Affairs is an amazing annual event in Boulder, Colorado that brings together artists, journalists, politicians, scientists, and more for a week of free public lectures on pretty much every topic you can imagine. It's a smorgasbord of smarts and geeky wonderment. Each panel gives four speakers 10 minutes each to talk about a set topic — from bioethics, to alternative energy, to comic books, and more. The rest of the session is given over to great conversations, between one speaker and another, and between the speakers and the audience. If you want to see the conference in person, all you have to do is show up in Boulder next April. If you can't do that, you can buy recordings of the panels. CDs are $6 per panel. MP3s are $4 per panel. An entire DVD set of whole 2011 conference is $275. To order, use the 2011 conference schedule to pick the panels you want to hear. Then order the panels, by panel number.

The Open Laboratory 2010

Read the best in science blogging in 2010, as curated by science bloggers. This annual anthology makes great commute reading, with short, fascinating stories about recent research, deeper scientific context, and amazing personal stories.

Anatomy Coloring Book

A great gift for kids, or adults looking for things to fiddle with.

The Big Idea

This book could change a pre-teen's life.

Sex at Dawn: How We Mate, Why We Stray, and What It Means for Modern Relationships

Fascinating look at human sexuality, the sexuality of our closest relations, and what a "normal relationship" really means.

Powering the Dream

Great background on history of technology and culture in the sustainability movement. Read this if you want to know where renewable energy technologies (and the debates we have about them) come from.

A Planet of Viruses

Another great book for pre-teens. This slim volume covers the fascinating stories behind some of the world's most important viruses.

The Beekeeper's Lament

Want to know "what's killing all the bees"? This book answers that question … and tells a complex and nuanced story about agriculture.

Written in Stone

A fascinating history of evolutionary theory.

Coming to Term: Uncovering the Truth About Miscarriage

The cover makes this book look like a generic self-help manual. It's not. Instead, author Jon Cohen explores the science behind miscarriage. Why do as many as 50% of all conceptions end in miscarriage? Why can a woman have four miscarriages in a row and still have a 70% chance of conceiving and carrying a healthy pregnancy to term? The truth is, we don't really know. For such a common part of human life, the science on miscarriage is still very new and very confusing. It's also fascinating, and remarkably healing. If you've lost a pregnancy, or know someone who has, this book can help you process the "what happened to me?" aspect of the experience. It can also help you avoid a potentially crazy-making tumble into convoluted, and not-very-evidence-based attempts to prevent another one. If you need to feel normal, if you need to understand what we know, what we don't, and why the science is lagging, this is the book to read.

The Compass of Pleasure: How Our Brains Make Fatty Foods, Orgasm, Exercise, Marijuana, Generosity, Vodka, Learning, and Gambling Feel So Good

The season of fatty food, big drinks, and depression is a great time to talk about the neurobiology behind why things feel good.

The Poisoner's Handbook: Murder and the Birth of Forensic Medicine in Jazz Age New York

Amazing history of scientific police work set in Prohibition-era New York City. For chemistry geeks and people who wish CSI was more accurate.

Annoying: The Science of What Bugs Us

The science of why we find certain things obnoxious–from bad smells, to cell phones, to the distracting power of trash talk.

The Modern Mind: An Intellectual History of the 20th Century

One of my favorite books of all time. Peter Watson traces pretty much everything that happened in the 20th century back to it's intellectual and technological roots in the 19th, and earlier. How does history happen? Read this and find out.

Eye-Fi SD card

Quit screwing around downloading and uploading photos from your camera, you dingus! Set this up with your wifi network, and let it save your photos as well as upload them to Flickr and Facebook. If you have an SLR that needs a CF card (specifically the 5D mkII), you'll also need this. That took weeks to find, you're welcome.

Wrapster iPod/iPhone headphone wrapping thing

INDISPENSABLE little piece of rubber for keeping your headphones neat. A must-have stocking stuffer.

PowerCurl Macbook power adapter wrapper

Critical rubber bit for taming your unruly power adapters. Major space saver!

Style Kouncil

The largest impact purchase I made this year. Kelly and Kat not only helped me dress better, but they made me more confident about how I look.

MOMA Sky Umbrella

I took mine to the MOMA in SF, and someone else had the same one in the umbrella rack. Without ever seeing each other or agreeing to it, we traded umbrellas. Or, I guess he stole mine and I stole his.

Lovell Designs Jewelry

Made in Maine, understated and simple. The Earthsong collection is my favorite.

Saddleback Leather bags

I've been hammering on mine all year, and I'm convinced they actually will fight over it when I'm dead.

That crazy horse head mask

Become part of a meme that stands on its own. I crowd surfed at a concert while wearing mine.

Dawn Metropolis by Anamanaguchi

There are seven songs on this album. Combined, I have listened to them nearly 1,200 times. A rock band playing with an NES, fast and energetically. I wore a horse head mask to one of their concerts once… Instrumental only.

Mirrored by Battles

Off kilter rhythms and three guitarists not just playing guitar. Captivating. Unintelligible lyrics.

11:11 by Rodrigo Y Gabriela

Two Mexican acoustic guitarists absolutely killing it. Exciting, fast and enthusiastic. Instrumental only.

The Goldberg Variations – Glenn Gould Plays Bach

A master of the piano playing alone. I've suggested the DVD here as Glenn's performance is as much fun to watch as it is to listen to.

The Schiit Lyr, The Schiit BiFrost, and Sennheiser HD650 headphones

I am a fan of this "audiophile for mere mortals" set up. I have my HD650's plugged into a Lyr right now and I can just get lost for hours. Not by any means cheap — but certainly not ridiculous for the quality. The HD650's were once considered the best audiophile headphones available and the 5watt Lyr can really drive them. Really. Read their literature, they are not joking. I rarely get the volume knob to the halfway mark without fearing I'll jelly my brain; yet the music only gains more clarity and the soundstage really opens up.

Kodak Ektar 100 in 120 film

I like Ektar. I love Velvia but the Ektar is a lot easier to scan and I like its color rendition for a lot of stuff. Muted when compared to the Velvia but you get some nice old timey colors. Kinda like this.


And I highly recommend.

Ralphie's Gun and Goggles

Ralphie rules. There is one thing we all have in common. We want a Red Ryder BB rifle. Just admit it, you want one.

A really good hat

I'm bald. Good hats are hard to find. This one is fantastic. I have it in chocolate brown and a blue-ish black they seem to not have listed.

Porsche 911 Carrera GTS

Insanely Fast Convertible: Laissez les bon temps rouler!

Air Horn

Stocking Stuff of Awesomeness: what an awesome stocking stuffer. All the times I've wanted an Air Horn but didn't have one handy. Give everyone in your family a 3-pack.

11" MacBook Air

Because 13" is ENORMOUS. 4GB of RAM and 128 GB SSD is the sweet spot.

Lenovo ThinkPad X1

Thinner and lighter than its stablemates in the ThinkPad lineup, this is a great Ubuntu- or Windows-equipped answer to the Air.

iPad 2

The basic model is still the only $400+ tablet worth buying; if you need more, skip it and wait for next year's model.


Forget the Kindle Fire; glowing screens aren't best for reading at length. The basic and very inexpensive standard Kindle is far better for long articles and books.

Acer Aspire One 11.6" HD Netbook

Don't want to spend more than $300 on a laptop? Just get this one.

Fujifilm X10

Fujifilm's X10 is small, beautiful and half the price of the X100 model that preceded it. It's still pricey, though, so go for the Canon S100 if you just want some pint-size quality without the rangefinder-style frills.

Canon PowerShot S100

Canon's S100 is the best "concealed carry" digital camera, period. At $400, however, it's painful on the pocket in other ways. Nikon's P300 has a smaller sensor, but much to love, for just $250.

iPod shuffle

A ~$35, jogging-friendly iTunes-compatible player with physical controls, the perfect design of the iPod Shuffle really stands out in the touchscreen age. There are good alternatives.

Roku LT

Hits all the basics of streaming TV, including NetFlix and Amazon Prime streaming, for less than $50.

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.

Crossbows and Catapults

Forget the official Angry Birds knock stuff down boardgame. Crossbows and Catapults is the real deal: set up your castles and then blast them to pieces with projectile weapons.

Story Cubes

There is, apparently, some sort of game one can play with story cubes, but I just like to roll them, look, think, and get cracking.

Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim

Bethesda Softworks' expansive sandbox role-playing game is already the hit of the season; I'm more than 20 hours in and the houseplants are dead.


The game of the year; an open world of exploration, discovery, creativity and sudden death.


At $10, this gorgeous Diablo-like action game is exciting and family-friendly, with a touching story and an excellent narration.

Total War: Shogun 2

Shogun 2, available for Windows, is Creative Assembly's most refined pitched battle-sim to date and a huge improvement over its predecessor, Empire. It's currently half-price on Steam, until Nov. 28.

Braun Contour 301 lighter by Dieter Rams

$40 for a classic Dieter Rams design in its original box? Nice Deep pockets have a wider selection at hand.

HP 12c Financial Calculator

HP's 30th anniversary editions of the 12c and 15c Calculators are the most interesting tablet computers it produced this year. Timeless perfection.

Model of the Cray X-MP supercomputer

Someone is selling a 4" promotional model of Cray's X-MP supercomputer. That is all.

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.

Sony NEX-VG20H

Sony's semi-pro camcorder is not without shortcomings, but interchangeable lenses, 1080p 24p video and a sub-$2,000 price tag put the NEX-VG20 in a league of its own. If you don't need a camcorder, though, cheaper DSLRs such as the Canon t3i can also handle short-take HD video and are much better for stills.

Field Notes Northerly

The newest flavor of 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.

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 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. Alas, it isn't shipping until 2012.