Boing Boing Gift Guide 2013

All books gadgets Media Kids Etc

all mark cory david xeni rob maggie jason dean

Welcome to this year's Boing Boing Gift Guide, a piling-high of our most loved items from 2013 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.

Sound System

The Clash's new 12-disk set is "a 12-disc monstrosity containing remastered versions of the original band’s studio recordings, three full discs of demos, rarities and live tracks and a DVD of all their videos, as well as plenty of bodacious swag"


This is subscription service for wonderful things. I'm one of the curators. Every three months, you'll receive a box containing physical items I've picked out. In past mailings I sent out magic tricks, microscopes, foods that trick your taste buds, and a chip of nice-smelling wood that sells for $25,000 a pound.

Kinetic Sand

Weird sand that breaks and apart and clumps together in a delightfully unexpected way. Watch a video here.

Native Sneakers

Made out of Crocs-like rubber, the Native Unisex Jefferson Slip-On Sneakers are an obnoxious orange-red (they come in a less aggressive colors, too). Each shoe is molded from a single piece of rubber. The off-white sole is painted on. I put the shoes on, and have hardly taken them off since. They are supremely comfortable, waterproof, and unlike my Tom's shoes, they don't get stinky when I wear them without socks. I'd say they are the perfect airport shoe because they slip off and on so easily, but for me they are the perfect everything shoe.

Aeroccino 3

The Aeroccino 3 is a sleekly designed product about the size of a can of peaches that heats and froths milk to super fluffy consistency in about thirty seconds making for perfect cappuccinos, lattes or macchiatos. The frother has a clever frothing mechanism consisting of a ring magnet rotor that fits over a vertical post inside the unit and spins rapidly in the presence of a rotating magnetic field, which is created in the stator coils embedded in its base.

Kikkerland Retro Alarm Clock

This replaced our guest bedroom digital alarm clock, which was ugly and suffered from the "what does this button do?" syndrome that's common in electronic gadgets. I counted five buttons, one 3-position switch, and one 4-position switch. The Kikkerland, on the other hand has one button (the large and intuitive alarm button) and two dials: one to set the time, and one to set the alarm. That's it. With enough training, even Pescovitz will be able to operate it when he spends the night.

Volcano Dust

Volcano Dust is a brand of powdered bhut jolokia chili peppers. Also known as ghost chills, bhut jolokias are mind-bendingly hot. For example, an average jalapeño pepper measures about 5,000 on the Scoville heat scale; a bhut jolokia measures 1,000,000 Scovilles. Here's to blown-out capsaicin receptors!

Blackwing 602 pencils

"Half the pressure, twice the speed." Simply the best pencil in the world.

Resident Alien Volume 1: Welcome to Earth!

An alien who crash lands his spacecraft on Earth and must interact with human beings in a small mountain town. The alien can uses his formidable mental powers to block his appearance so that the townsfolk see him as a human (with one interesting exception). But as readers, we see him as a purple skinned, bug-eyed, pointy-eared spaceman. The alien is friendly. He is fascinated by human behavior, and when the town doctor is murdered, the mayor asks him to step in as a temporary replacement until they can find a permanent doctor. He agrees, somewhat reluctantly, because he is still unaccustomed to the ways of humans, but his curiosity wins out. The story develops into a good old fashioned murder mystery, with the twist that an alien disguised as a doctor is involved.

The Complete Carl Barks Disney Library

Bless Fantagraphics for publishing Carl Barks' duck comics. One of the three original inductees into the Will Eisner Comic Book Hall of Fame (along with Eisner and Jack Kirby), Barks was known for many years only as the nameless "good duck artist" in Walt Disney comic books. His stories read like Indiana Jones adventures, and the art is superb. Just looking at a Barks page make me feel good. My kids and I read Barks' duck comics together, over and over again.


This novel "conceived of" by J.J. Abrams and written by Doug Dorst, looks like an old hardbound novel from a library, and is stuffed between the pages with ephemera, such as postcards, newspaper clippings, and sketches on napkins. Even if you never read it, it's a nice-looking artifact. See my page-turning video here.

Super Scratch Programming Adventure!

Scratch is an excellent and free drag-and-drop programming language for kids developed at MIT. My 10-year-old daughter Jane uses it to create puzzles, games, and interactive cartoons. This terrific introductory book teaches Scratch through game programming.

Cool Tools: A Catalog of Possibilities

An oversized book that reviews over 1,500 different tools, explaining why each one is great, and what its benefits are (Kevin Kelly my partner at the website Cool Tools). Stewart Brand, the creator of The Whole Earth Catalog, calls it "The real deal."

The Talented Mr. Ripley

Written in 1955,The Talented Mr. Ripley is about a twentysomething con artist and social striver named Tom Ripley living in New York. When I sawThe Talented Mr. Ripley movie in 1999, I had no idea it was based on a novel by the same author of the famous Hitchcock movie,Strangers on a Train. I loved both movies. When I finally did learn that, I also learned that the author, Patricia Highsmith, wrote five novels starring the sociopathic anti-hero Tom Ripley. In the same way that Vince Gilligan made Breaking Bad's Walter White an awful person that I took a guilty pleasure in rooting for, Highsmith made the detestable Tom Ripley an intriguing character that I hoped would get away with his crimes. I have four more novels to find out if he ultimately does.

Popeye Classics Volume 1

Bud Sagendorf's incredibly entertaining comic books about Popeye the one-eye sailor, J. Wellington Wimpy, Olive Oyl, Sweepea, and Bluto are the canonical Popeye, with stories on par with Little Lulu and Uncle Scrooge.

Jack Davis' EC Stories Artist's Edition

Without a doubt, Jack Davis is one of the greatest cartoonists ever, and one of the most highly-recognizable. With a career that started before the early days of EC's MAD and its sci-fi and horror titles, Davis's distinctive work has appeared on movie posters, book covers, and on a famous poster of Frankenstein's monster. IDW's artist's edition is a 176-page, 11-pound monster-sized collection of Davis' comic book work, reprinted at the same size as drawn – the two-page spreads measure 30 x 22 inches!. (Shown above: the variant cover edition).

The Daniel Clowes Reader

I'm relishing all 358 art-laden pages about one of the greatest cartoonists of all time. They include the entireGhost World story (made into a movie directed by Terry Zwigoff) with annotations, plus a number of rarely seen stories. Several of the twelve essays about Clowes' work were new to me, and I enjoyed re-reading Joshua Glenn's sharp interview from a 1990Hermenaut interview. This is an essential book for all serious readers of Clowes' work.

You Are Now Less Dumb

The follow-up to David McRaney's delightful 2011 book, You Are Not So Smart, this book explores the reasons why people behave in irrational ways, including "The Misattribution of Arousal" (environmental factors have a greater affect on our emotional arousal than the person right in front of us),"Sunk Cost Fallacy" (we will engage in something we don’t enjoy just to make the time or money already invested “worth it”) and "Deindividuation" (despite our best intentions, we practically disappear when subsumed by a mob mentality).

Make: Analog Synthesizers

A deep dive into DIY synthesized music, with lots of circuits and information on using electronic components, but it has plenty of introductory material so it's suitable for electronics novices. I admire the author's design aesthetic too — the devices he shows you how to build look neat.

Good Dog

Read this excerpt
that tells the story of a stray dog's life in Depression-era USA.

You Can't Win

Feral House's has a new edition of You Can't Win, one of the most interesting books I've ever read. It's the 1926 memoir of a man named Jack Black, who spent much of his life in the early 20th century as a hobo burglar and robber.

The Hunter

A novel about a professional thief's (named Parker) quest to get revenge on a partner who ripped him off and tried to have him killed right after Parker and his crew robbed a gang of arms smugglers. Parker doesn't let anyone impede his mission, even if it means killing an innocent person who just happens to be in the way. At one point while readingThe Hunter I contemplated abandoning it because I was bothered by Parker's psychotic disregard for human life, but two reasons kept me going. One, the people that Parker is going after are even more despicably inhuman than he is. And two, Westlake is such a terrific writer I couldn't stop myself from reading to find our what happens.

You're All Just Jealous of My Jetpack

Cartoonist Tom Gauld's new book consists of single panels that explore the passage of time, absurdism, and most of the 7 Deadly Sins, all presented with a sense of graceful whimsy that makes his work such a delight to read. Peruse a sampling ofYou're All Just Jealous of My Jetpack here.

Constellation Games: debut sf novel floored me with its brilliance

Leonard Richardson's debut novel, Constellation Games left me literally trembling with excitement. Because Constellation Games IS AN AMAZING BOOK. Here's the plot: Ariel Blum is an Austin-based game-developer with a crappy job making Pony franchise collectible content games for the ten-year-old Brazilian girl market. Then aliens invade the Earth. The Constellation is a coalition of many alien species who have travelled unimaginable distances to invite the Earth to join their loose-knit, non-coercive, freewheeling anarcho-syndicalist collective civilization, which has more than 100 million years' worth of history. Read more

Welcome to your Awesome Robot: instructional robot-making comic

A fantastic book for maker-kids and their grownups. It consists of a charming series of instructional comics showing a little girl and her mom converting a cardboard box into an awesome robot — basically a robot suit that the kid can wear. Read more

Odd Duck: great picture book about eccentricity and ducks

The story of Theodora, "a perfectly normal duck" who likes her routine — swimming, stretching, taking books out of the library, buying duck kibble, doing craft projects (with duck burlap, naturally) and star-gazing. When Chad moves in next door, Theodora can tell she's not going to get along with him. He makes weird abstract sculptures, dyes his feathers funny colors, and talks a mile a minute.Read more

New, cheap edition of Taschen's stupendous "Magic 1400s-1950" book

Taschen's amazing "Magic 1400s-1950s," was $300, now it's a cheaper edition, which'll cost you $42.22 Read more

Leatherbound Sandman omnibus.

Each volume is 1,000 pages, and the two (Book two) complete the set. Read more

Hyperbole and a Half

Hyperbole and a Half, a webcomic that is so funny, manic, and (at times) emotionally wrenching that it deserves its own entire category, has finally spawned a book! The book, subtitled "Unfortunate Situations, Flawed Coping Mechanisms, Mayhem, and Other Things That Happened" reprints many of Allie Brosh's best-loved pieces, and, excitingly, includes some all-new work. Read more

The Coldest Girl in Coldtown: dangerous, bloody vampire YA novel

Holly Black's young adult vampire novel The Coldest Girl in Coldtown is everything a vampire novel should be: scary, angry, exciting and darkly sexy. It's a book that will make parents uneasy and give kids dangerous ideas. Read more

21st Century Science Fiction

A 250,000-word anthology of short fiction by writers who came to prominence since the turn of the century, including Vandana Singh, Charles Stross, Paolo Bacigalupi, Neal Asher, Rachel Swirsky, John Scalzi, M. Rickert, Tony Ballantyne, David Levine, Genevieve Valentine, Ian Creasey, Marissa Lingen, Paul Cornell, Elizabeth Bear, David Moles, Mary Robinette Kowal, Madeleine Ashby, Tobias Buckell, Ken Liu, Oliver Morton, Karl Schroeder, Brenda Cooper, Liz Williams, Ted Kosmatka, Catherynne M. Valente, Daryl Gregory, Alaya Dawn Johnson, James Cambias, Yoon Ha Lee, Hannu Rajaniemi, Kage Baker, Peter Watts, Jo Walton, and Cory Doctorow. Read more

Akissi: kids' comic about a mischievous girl in Cote D'Ivoire

A delightful kids' comic about a mischievous little girl in Cote D'Ivoire, translated from the original French. Read more

Detailed artificial cadaver

A surgical simulator; details include: skin with fat and fascia planes, every bone, muscle, tendon, and ligament in the body, fully articulating joints, a functioning respiratory system including trachea, lungs, and diaphragm, a complete digestive tract from the esophagus to rectum, the urinary tract (kidneys, bladder, and urethra), visceral organs (liver, gall bladder, pancreas, spleen), reproductive organs, a circulatory system with heart and coronary arteries, aorta, vena cava, and the primary arterial and venous trunks leading to the extremities. Read more

Fiber Fix

A repair-tape impregnated with fast-curing, moisture-activated resin; the manufacturer claims it hardens to a strength 100 times that of duct-tape, comparable to steel. Baseline room-humidity is generally enough to activate it once it's removed from its airtight pouch, but you can also soak it before applying. It cures to usability in 10 minutes, and fully sets in 24 hours. Read more

"Lifelike" wall-mounted T. Rex head

The 14" high T. Rex replica head gets pretty good reviews from the people who've bought it — sounds like just the thing if you want to create the illusion that you're a time-traveling big game hunter. Read more

Batman Inspired Scalemaille Suit of Armor.

Etsy seller CreationsChristopher has listed a $9500 suit of Batman scalemaille, originally made for a Batfan project called Legends: The Dark Knight. It's handmade, took 350 hours to complete, and weighs 60 lbs. Read more

28-Geared Cube – Fully Assembled

A 3D printed cube with 28 gears, printed fully assembled, lubricated with a PTFE lubricant; sports a motor attachment to allow the geared cube to run autonomously. Read more


Makies are amazingly poseable 10" action dolls created by you. You choose the eyes, nose, mouth, hair, even the width of the smile and the shape of the hands. Read more

Astronaut duvet set

€60 is a lot to spend on your kid's duvet cover, but there's no denying that this astronaut bedding from Snurk is pretty wonderful. Read more

Carved Coin Pendants

London's Thornhill Jewellery takes old British coinage and carves sweet/funny/silly designs into them. Read more

Hand-painted Haunted Mansion shoes

Etsy seller DanOFlorez sells magnificent, handpainted Disneyland-themed Toms, including several Haunted Mansion items. Read more

Socks of Catan

Are these socks for you? Ask yourself: Are my current socks lacking hexagonal tiles? Do I want socks that friends would consider trading all their resource cards for? Read more

Transforming Xenomorph ring/brass knuckles

A $60 Aliens/Xenomorph themed ring that transforms into a set of brass knuckles. Read more

Book-themed lithos/tees with entire text of books

Litographs takes public domain (and otherwise shareable) books and turns them into word-art posters that both illustrate the text and are comprised of it. They also do tees. Read more

Swedish seventies neoretrofuturism: the paintings of Simon Stålenhag

Blending everyday life in Sweden in the 70's with neofuturist structures. Read more

Replica 1920s lightbulb voltage tester with a bar inside it

Restoration Hardware's "1920s German Light Bulb Voltage Tester Bar" sells for $2000. It's a replica of a century-old refitted German lightbulb voltage tester salvaged from a German factory, and it oozes Weimar decadence. It weighs 265lbs. Read more

Junkbots and assemblages: Star Wars Assemblages, Clockwork bugs

Sculptor Justin Gershenson-Gates produces the most amazing and beautiful
clockwork insects and arthropods, which he sells in his Mechanical Mind Etsy shop; This spectacular C3PO junkbot assemblage
was made by junk artist Gabriel Dishaw, and sells for $800. Worth every penny, too. Mr Dishaw's got plenty of other wonderful pieces for sale

Cooking Comically: Recipes So Easy You'll Actually Make Them

Tyler Capps's 2AM Chili recipe blew up on Reddit and he's since followed with amazing comic HOWTOs for Hobo Pies, Trustfall Chicken, Happy Little Hash Browns, and dozens of other noms. Capps' kitchen creativity recently culminated in a killer cookbook, "Cooking Comically: Recipes So Easy You'll Actually Make Them."

Star Wars: Frames

A stunning set of two hardcover books compiling George Lucas's favorite 1,400 images from all six Star Wars films.

The Circus Book: 1870-1950

is a big, bold, beautiful Taschen hardcover in a slipcase that features nearly 1,000 photos, illustrations, poster art, and other ephemera from the heyday of the big top.

Codex Seraphinianus

First published in 1981, this fringe favorite is a bizarre encyclopedia of an imaginary world where surreality reigns supreme. Created by Italian architect/designer/artist Luigi Serafini, first editions go for as high as $2,000. Now though, Rizzoli has republished it in a fresh hardcover edition for a new generation of strange-seekers. Essential for any happy mutant library.

Cabinet of Natural Curiosities

An 18th century wunderkammer in paper form, this gorgeous tome illustrates Albertus Seba's magnificent and legendary collection of animals, plants, and insects from across the planet. The latest Taschen hardcover edition is a more compact size than their massive (and out-of-print) first version yet it remains a stunning window onto the wonder of the world.

Art of Rube Goldberg

In the midst of the Machine Age, Rube Goldberg poked fun at America's seeming obsession with "building a better mousetrap" through intricate diagrams of chain reactions employing gears, pulleys, shirt-eating moths, burning candles, canaries, and even opossums. A beautiful new hardcover collection of his strips, The Art of Rube Goldberg: (A) Inventive (B) Cartoon (C) Genius includes selections and commentary by Goldberg's granddaughter Jennifer George, an intro by Adam Gopnik, essays, rare photos and ephemera, and a paper-engineered cover.

Mark Ryden: Pinxit

This hardcover collection spans the master pop surrealist's major art shows over the last two decades in a gorgeous 360 page, oversized hardcover book. Interspersed with Ryden's exquisite, strange, and often provocative paintings are essays by Yoshitomo Nara, Carlo McCormick, Kirsten Anderson, and others. More than a dozen of the paintings fold-out to 59 inches!

Yeti, Turn Out The Light!

Everyone who has known the wonder of the GAMAGO Yeti from tshirts, toys, and other bric-à-brac has long wished for this mythical (?) beastie to come to life in narrative form. The wait is over with this delightful bedtime tale of shadows, monsters, and magic sure to please all children, and the adults that cuddle them.

Makedo FreePlay Kit

A system of reusable plastic clips and hinges for cardboard construction of curious Rube Goldberg-ian contraptions, palaces for stuffed animals, spaceships, or most anything else with recycled cardboard as the raw material. Of course the shipping box is part of the present!

littleBits Base Kit

Get your kids (or yourself) started with creative electronics using this starter collection of color-coded modules like a motor, buzzer, light sensor, barograph, LED, and other components. Make a light-triggered alarm, drawing robot, three wheeler, and many other projects. And its easily expandable with the entire littleBits open source library of electronic modules.

At Games Atari Flashback 4 Classic Game Console

A trip back in time to the 2600s, the console is loaded with Asteroids, Missile Command, Space Invaders, Jungle Hunt, Centipede and 70 more classics. Joysticks are wireless. PS4? Xbox One? Who needs 'em.

Korg Monotron Delay Analog Ribbon Synthesizer

This battery-powered palm-sized analog synthesizer is an absolutely joy to play, even if you can'treally play. Check out the thousands of demo videos on YouTube. Try one and you'll instantly lose yourself twiddling the knobs and riding the ribbon keyboard into the depths of space. Highly-hackable too.

Nest Protect Smoke + Carbon Monoxide

From Nest Labs, makers of the Nest Learning Thermostat that became the darling of gadget bloggers, Nest Protect is an intelligent, Wi-Fi smoke and carbon monoxide detector. It turns off with a hand wave, gives you a verbal "heads-up" if it smells anything funky, and messages your smartphone if its alarm is triggered or it needs new batteries. Nest CEO (and former Apple exec) Tony Fadell is best known as being "one of the fathers of the iPod."

Philips Hue Personal Wireless Lighting

Mood lighting for the Internet of Things. The Philips Hue starter pack includes three RF (Zigbee)-enabled LED lightbulbs and a bridge that plugs into your WiFi router. Once connected, you use your iOS or Android device to control the color of the bulbs. Numerous third party apps using the Hue API enable you to do lots of fun light tricks, like match the lighting of photos or set the vibe based on your music choice.

Jawbone Mini Jambox Bluetooth Speaker

Very small, minimalist design, quite durable, great battery life. Celebrity designer Yves Béhar gave it a CNC-milled aluminum unibody to keep it svelte. And, most importantly, the sound is surprisingly clear and rich for a speaker this small.

Orbotix Sphero 2.0

It's a robotic ball that you control with your smartphone. Sure, you can use it to play various augmented reality games. But mostly, it's a robotic ball that you control with your smartphone. Delightful! Babies and cats like it too.

Parrott AR Drone 2.0

Drones aren't just for the military! You too can fly your own UAV quadcopter from a smartphone and see what it sees through an onboard HD camera. A thriving online community of drone hackers has congregated around the Parrot. Seek them out and make your personal predator work for you!

Useless Box Kit

You switch it on and it immediately switches itself off. That's all it does. And somehow, it's incredibly compelling. Soothing even, unless this infernal electromechanical contraption pulls you into its own existentialist crisis. Then you're screwed. Here's a video of it in action. Build your own with this satisfying kit.

Lomo Konstruktor DIY camera kit

Build your own plastic 35mm SLR camera and immerse yourself in the alluring lomographic aesthetic. It's kinda like Instagram without the "insta."

In Search Of… The Complete Collection

Lost civilizations, Bigfoot, UFOs, magic, ancient astronauts, high weirdness transmitted directly from the 1970s. And of course, Spock narrates! Guess which Boing Boinger was influenced as a child by this long running TV show. The long-awaited collection includes 21 DVDs with 145 episodes. Fortean TV the way it should be.

Velvet Undergroud's White Light/White Heat: 45th Anniversary Super Deluxe Edition

RIP, Lou Reed. The definitive edition of this remastered 1967 album is laden with stereo and mono mixes, bonus material, outtakes, and the first official release of the classic live show at The Gymnasium, including five unreleased performances from John Cale's personal recording of the night. Plus a hardcover book. A worthy complement to last year's The Velvet Underground & Nico: 45th Anniversary Super Deluxe Edition.

Rise & Fall of Paramount Records 1917-1932 Vol. 1

Perhaps one of the most beautifully packaged music collections ever. The music is stellar old timey blues, jazz, gospel from the likes of Louis Armstrong, Jelly Roll Morton, Skip James, Ma Rainey, Papa Charlie Jackson, and on and on. This magnificent "wonder cabinet" contains 800 digital tracks on a USB drive, 6 vinyl LPs on brown wax with embossed gold-leaf labels, a 250 page hardcover book, 360 page "field guide" and additional ephemera inside an oak cainet with velvet upholstery and metal hardware. Breathtaking.

LifeSpan Fitness Treadmill Desk TR1200-DT5

This tool changed my life, by transforming my work time from sedentary time to active time. You could build your own from scratch for less, or buy cheaper versions, but I have test-driven a number of treadmill desks and have settled on this one for my home. It is an excellent product, and the best investment I have made in a long time for my health and happiness. Much has been written about treadmill desks helping with weight management, and reducing cancer and cardiovascular disease risks, but one great bonus for me: uplifted mood, and clarity of thinking. It’s a kick-ass productivity tool, and I believe these should be the norm, not sit-down desks.

Isa Does It: Amazingly Easy, Wildly Delicious Vegan Recipes for Every Day of the Week

You don’t have to be a vegan to enjoy vegan cookbook queen Isa Chandra Moskowitz’s latest, which focuses on tips and strategies for making home-cooked, plant-based, nutritious and yummy meals in 30 minutes or less. 150 recipes for weeknight delights. It's easy.

Everyday Raw Detox

I first got turned on to raw vegan chef Matthew Kenney through Instagram, which should tell you something about how beautiful his creations are. What I love about this 2013 cookbook, co-authored with Meredith Baird, is its focus on the rich aesthetic joy of healthy, simple, natural plant-based foods. Soups, main dishes, blended fruit or veggie tonics, 100 recipes and more. If you have a chance, visit Matthew Kenney’s wonderful restaurant in Santa Monica — or, take a class at the adjacent cooking academy, to learn the art of this cuisine in person.

An Astronaut's Guide to Life on Earth: What Going to Space Taught Me About Ingenuity, Determination, and Being Prepared for Anything

Through tweets and videos shared from space, astronaut Chris Hadfield has become a powerful force in the repopularization of space exploration. He’s a wonderful storyteller, and this book is an instant classic for all who wonder what lies out in the great blue yonder.

Excalibur EXD500W 5 Tray Dehydrator

I love my dehydrator, and my only regret about it is that I didn’t splurge and buy one years ago. I use it to make grain-less raw vegan flatbreads, dried fruit snacks, energy bars, salt-soaked and re-dried raw nuts, and homemade yogurt. There are a number of models in the Excalibur line; this 5-tray model was right for me, but larger, smaller, simpler, and fancier ones are available. Best use of all: homemade kale chips. They’re so expensive in the store and I can eat so many in one sitting– I figure I have already produced enough to justify the cost of my dehydrator in just a few months.

Vitamix 5200s

If I could have just one gadget in my kitchen, it’d be my Vitamix. I use it every day to prepare fruit and veggie smoothies, soups, hummus, whole grain and pseudograin (buckwheat, quinoa) flours, even nut butters and coconut milk. Total life-changer gadget. This is the higher-end model that is useful for more sophisticated cooks; there are simpler models in the Vitamix line with only two speed settings. If money’s tight or you don’t need infinitely variable speed settings, they’re a fine option, too.

Yeh Yeh-Psychedelic Rock from Singapore

A compilation of psychedelic pop music from
'60s and '70s Malaysia, lovingly researched and assembled by my
brother Carl Hamm. This is the definitive beginner's guide to a
fantastically obscure genre of Asian pop music, and a must-have for
all explorers of global music. CD availability is limited; if it's sold out, don't worry — a vinyl edition with all 26 tracks spread out over 2 LPs is coming out in early 2014.

Omega J8004 Masticating Juicer

I never knew how much I needed this juicer until I had one. I use it to make green juice every day, as part of a plant-centric, health-promoting diet. I love fresh juice, and I love picking out fresh local ingredients to juice at my neighborhood weekly farmer’s market: herbs, lettuce, kale, chard, carrot tops, apples, cucumbers, celery, and citrus fruits generally end up in my daily blend. I’m also a fan of not paying $12 a glass for the stuff at a juice bar. This juicer allows you to include more pulp and fiber, which I believe is healthier than more strained, pure-liquid juice.

Organic Buckwheat Pillow

Form-fitting and an amazing solution for side sleepers. I find that I sleep more soundly and my chronic neck and shoulder pain is much more manageable when I sleep on a buckwheat pillow. You can pour out some of the hulls until you get the volume just right. Also, if you have this heavy thing? You’ll win every single pillow fight.

Fitbit Flex

This was one of the gadgets that really helped me transform my life and my approach to health and fitness this year. I bought one for several loved ones, too. The Fitbit One is great, but I kept losing mine. The Fitbit Force has more features, but it feels too bulky to me. The Flex is just right for tracking steps and sleep. Tip for treadmill desk users: Just stick it in a pocket or around your belt while you’re on the treadmill, to more accurately capture steps while at your treadmill desk.

Logitech UE 984-000298 Mobile Boombox Bluetooth Speaker and Speakerphone

It’s everything I wanted in a speaker set for travel: light, powerful, and doubles as a speakerphone. I have a compact work space at home, too, and it’s my primary source for laptop audio there.

Bonavita Electric Gooseneck Kettle

I’m one of those people who burns out stove-top kettles and pots of boiling water all the time. No more. This model of Bonavita’s electric kettle offers variable temperature controls for coffee and tea connoisseurs who want precision. There’s a cheaper model for about half the price without that feature, which may suit you just as well. Both are recommended.

Lodge L9OG3 Pre-Seasoned Round Griddle, 10.5-inch

I use my cast-iron griddle for everything from oven-baked flatbreads to stove-top pancakes to slow-fried tofu. Best $15 I ever spent. If it loses its lustre, coat it in coconut oil and bake for an hour or so at 350º, and it’ll out-fry any teflon pan with no weird synthetic particles degrading into your food over time.

’Fanfare,’ Jonathan Wilson

As described in this Boing Boing post, unquestionably one of the best rock albums of 2013.

Mikael Jorgensen & Greg O'Keeffe

Synth-o-licious electronic experimentalism from Wilco’s keyboardist, who joined Boing Boing for an edition of our in-flight entertainment channel on Virgin America this year.

’Amok,’ Atoms for Peace

"Trance-y, ethereal, hypnotic grooves and taut, muscular jams; afrobeat-inspired droning rhythm meets electroglitch meets merciless funk." Don’t miss them live.

Breaking Bad: The Complete Series

Yes, it’s a pricey, ostentatious, indulgent collection marketed to helplessly addicted fans, but it’s also available at ⅔ the original price now, and if you’re a true Breaking Bad junkie, no price is too high for that 99% pure blue stuff. Tight, tight, tight, yeah!

eBags Mother Lode TLS Mini 21" Wheeled Duffel

Best value luggage I’ve ever owned, OCD heaven. Available with zip-up “packing cubes” you can roll and stuff garments or electronics into, to further compress items and make the best use of space. Tons of pockets and flaps to organize your stuff. No matter how long my trip, I tend to carry only this bag now, and it easily stuffs into overhead compartments on most commercial flights. All this for about $150.

Check It Out: Season 1 & 2

Outsider comedy from Tim Heidecker and Eric Wareheim (Tim and Eric’s Awesome Show Great Job), starring John C. Reilly. I have watched every episode many times and each time I watch them again, I ROFL.

A subscription to The Hearts of Space

Slow music for fast times: Hearts of Space, the long-running, pioneering ambient electronic music radio show from Stephen Hill, now online. This is my daily work background music.

The Tri-State Gang in Richmond: Murder and Robbery in the Great Depression (VA) (The History Press)

“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.” A riveting historical tale of one of the most bloody, ruthless gangs in early 20th-century American history, researched and written by Selden Richardson and edited by my mom.

Oddly Normal

New York Times reporter John Schwartz tells the story of how his family struggled to help their teen son come to terms with his sexual identity. It’s a beautiful tale, told candidly and with love by a great storyteller — and his son. Here's an excerpt.

Walter Koessler 1914-1918

For the military or history buff, my book of my great-grandfather's World War I photos will be shipping shortly after Christmas. The advance copies just came in and they look incredible! It's a real intimate and deep look into life and war a hundred years ago told through the huge collection of an excellent photographer. Previously: Trench photosChurch photos

Pebble e-paper watch for iPhone and Android

I was an early backer of the Pebble smartwatch on Kickstarter, and it's immediately become indispensable in my daily life. Just getting texts and call info without fiddling with my phone has lifted the weight of endless modern-day communication.

Merrell's waterproof boots

These boots will change your life. Once they're worn in you'll feel like you're wearing slippers all the time, even hours into a strenuous hike. It's ridiculous.

Patagonia Capilene 1 silkweight t-shirt

Patagonia made some kind of magic space material that keeps you warm, dry, and not too hot or sweaty in a silky smooth shirt. Grab the long sleeve in the lightest Capilene 1 weight if you can find it. Feels like I'm wearing nothing at all!

Macbook Pro 15" with Retina Display

The latest Macbook Pro is the heavy duty workhorse you'll expect from a high-end computer, but the real surprise is the new retina display. Having just spent months staring closely at fine photo prints, I was blown away when I loaded up a scan for the first time. You're missing a lot on less detailed screens.

Bittercube Bitters

Fruit juice with a dash of bitters was a favorite drink of mine while I was pregnant. I love Bittercube because of the variety of flavors available. (And it's a local Minneapolis product!) Try pineapple juice with the Jamaican #1.

Balasana Baby Carrier

Stretchy cotton wrap-style baby carriers are amazing things. Moby is the well-known brand, and will run you upwards of $50 a pop. Head over to Etsy, where you can get roughly the same thing (and some great variations on it, including cool gauze wraps for summer) for half the price. I bought the Balasana wrap and it's been amazing. We use it to attach our baby to my husband's chest, then he puts his jacket on over both of them and, voila … we're ready for a chilly fall walk. It's also great for multitasking. At just a few days old, Althea sat in the wrap while my husband walked at a treadmill desk and participated in a conference call.

Mamaroo Chair

My husband and I made fun of this overly complicated, space-pod looking baby chair … right up until the day we bought one. Our daughter loves to bounce. She also loves car rides. The Mamaroo chair can mimic the motion of both for hours — something our knees and backs and interest level in driving can't tolerate. It's got a built in white noise generator and a nifty little mobile that can flip from newborn-friendly, high-contrast black-and-white shapes to colorful images as your kid's brain starts to improve its ability to distinguish one color from another.

Expecting Better

Buy this for all the pregnant or soon-to-be pregnant science nerds on your holiday shopping list. Author Emily Oster tackles the evidence (and lack thereof) behind some of the biggest questions people have about their pregnancies. Not only does she do a great job of clearing up confusion and dispelling myths, but Oster also spends time showing you how data gets translated (and sometimes mistranslated) into medical advice … and how that advice morphs into frequently inaccurate "common sense". Beyond the basic Q&A, it's that information that will help you figure out when it's best to question what your friends and family and doctor are telling you.

Hospital Slipper Socks

No-slip grip means they're better for wearing around on hardwood, tile, and linoleum. Sock styling means they're more comfortable to just wear around all day than the average solid slipper (at least from my perspective). Great gift for anybody who works from home and likes to keep their feet toasty in the winter.


Glittens combine the warming power of a mitten with the finger dexterity of a glove. They're so awesome, I wrote a whole post about them earlier this year.

Cozy Classics

Adorable series of board books that turn the works of great literature into something suitable for the teething set. Illustrated with beautiful photos of felted dolls, the series takes books like War and Peace down to something that can be told in 10 words paired with pictures.

Crime Against Nature

Gorgeously illustrated by artist Gwen Seemel, this kids' book is about the diversity of gender expression, sex, reproduction, and child-rearing found in nature. It's lovely, non-preachy, and will teach kids about science as well as teaching them that "normal" is a very relative concept.

My Beloved Brontosaurus

Dino-blogger Brian Switek explores how new science has changed the beloved dinosaurs of our childhoods into very different creatures.

Five Billion Years of Solitude

I just started reading this, but it's shaping up to be an absolutely amazing look at life (and the potential for life) on other planets.

Medical Apartheid

Not the most upbeat read, but a necessary one, all about the horrible history of doctors and scientists exploiting black Americans for research. A good follow up if you want to understand the historical context behind the best selling Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks.

Tom's River

THE book to read if you want to understand why the links between pollution and cancer aren't as neat and tidy in real life as they are in the movies. Dan Fagin tells the heartbreaking story of a New Jersey town that may or may not have become a hotbed of childhood cancers, which (if there really are more cancers than average) may or may not be linked to a local dye factory. Nuanced, fantastically written, and illuminating.

American Vampire

After five volumes, this sometimes cheesy (but in a fun way) guilty pleasure is starting to draw together all the different threads of its narrative into something big. I'm looking forward to seeing where it goes next. In the meantime, it's a good read with fast pacing, strong characters, and lots of gratuitous comic book sex and violence.

Hawkeye: My Life as a Weapon

I honestly didn't know I cared about Hawkeye as a character until I read this book. I'm not even a big Avengers fan, but this drew me in and now I'm hooked.

PetSafe Busy Buddy Kibble Nibble Meal Dispensing Dog Toy

This durable, giant purple alien egg takes a beating and occasionally dishes out a treat. My super huge Great Pyrenees, Nemo, batters it about. My tiny Cavalier, Pretzel, also loves it.

Roku 3

The Roku 3 has taken over my home. Beating out my DirecTivo and the AppleTV there is now an Roku 3 attached to every TV in the house.

Blue Yeti USB Mic, Silver edition

So you wanna be a podcaster? This excellent USB microphone is great for everything from Hanging out, Google style, to skype or recording your own podcast.

Creepy Snowman knit cap for kids

Relative have a kid you don't much care for? This hat looks like it should be cute but will likely ensure the child gets 3-5 for petty larceny.

Ames Lettering Guide

Lines getting too crowded? This Ames lettering guide by Alvin will keep them straight, for lines up to 1 1/2" apart!

'Shades of Grey' Jasper Fforde

Want to gift a great book about a dystopian society where the social structure is based on color perception, but instead have everyone think you're handing out mommy porn? Shades of Grey, minus the 50, is the book for you!

Adventure Time's BMO

"When bad things happen, I know you want to believe they are a joke, but sometimes life is scary and dark. That is why we must find the light." –BMO

LEGO Star Wars 2013 Advent Calendar

Now witness the power of this fully ARMED and OPERATIONAL advent calendar by LEGO

Pilot Vanishing Point Fountain Pen

The Pilot/Namiki Vanishing Point fountain pen is my favorite every day pen. I reviewed it back in March
and love it every bit as much today!

Rainbow Loom

My 6 year old daughter spends countless hours making bracelets for her friends. If your kid doesn't have enough friends, or they just like simple creative projects, this gift is a hit!

Fotodiox DIY Twin Lens Reflex Camera Kit (Uses 35mm 24 Film)

This 68 piece, assemble it yourself (with a small phillips head), TLR (twin lens reflex) camera is a fantastic gift for a budding photographer or long time photo enthusiast. Shooting with a TLR is one of my favorite things, this do-it-yourself kit is certainly a great place to start!


Can't figure out what to get the Number 6 in your life? Ensure no one gets out of line this holiday season.

The head piece to the Staff of Ra

Abner may have left it with Marion, but now it can be yours. Remember, to take back one Kadam for the lord of Judah and the Macabees.

Perplexus Epic

Perplexus Epic is as cool, and complex, as it looks. An incredible puzzle that'll keep anyone busy for hours. Requiring both physical mastery and mental puzzle solving skill, this is one great gift!

Star Trek: Communicator and Phasers (Type 1 and 2)

I love having a Type 1 phaser that snaps into the Type 2. Makes me feel legit.

4 Channel, 6 Axis RC Drone with Camera

Want to track supporters at an opposition rally? Want to record people recording people? This 4 channel drone captures video in 640×480 and is a pleasure to fly!

The Christmas Story Leg Lamp

Give someone you love a Major Award! I hope it ships in a crate marked Fragile.


Which Voltron is the Voltron to own? Vehicle Voltron. You know it, I know it: Cat Voltron lacks gravitas.

Johnny Sokko and his Flying Robot: the complete series

Johnny isn't like the other kids. He has a giant flying robot. He uses it to great effect.

Round Bread Proofing Basket

Have a loved one who likes to bake? A proofing basket helps a baker turn out beautifully patterned loaves! Add a sourdough starter
and you can't miss…

Panasonic SD-YD250 Automatic Bread Maker

This bread machine never fails. Programmable and excellently customizable, I do not think it has ever turned out anything less than excellent bread.

Glow-in-the-dark condoms, 12 pack

Sigmund Freud considered fear of the dark to be a separation anxiety disorder, I just like it when my junk lights up. Sometimes a glow stick is just a glow stick, but not this holiday season.

'Licensed to Ill' the Beastie Boys

Everyone seems to be talking about the B-boys 'Licensed to Ill' right now. Man, I love this album!

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 the heftier Merlin.

Lumix GM1

Though as small as a point-and-shoot, Panasonic's Lumix GM1 accepts Micro Four-Thirds lenses and uses the same sensor as its flagship sibling, the Lumix GX7. Released just this month, critics are already hailing it the camera of the year.

Sony RX100 mkII

Sony's RX100 mkII is the best consumer point-and-shoot camera, period. A miracle of miniaturization and image quality, it stands practically alone in its class. At $750, however, it's as pricey as the Lumix GM1, which has a larger sensor and interchangeable lenses.

Blackmagic Pocket Camera

Another startling feat of miniaturization in camera-land, Blackmagic's Pocket Cinema Camera offers a filmic 13 stops of dynamic range, saves RAW CinemaDNG and Apple ProRes video, and stashes a Super 16-size sensor behind its Micro Four Thirds mount. No stills, though: this is for movie-makers only.

MacBook Air

Apple's lightest remains a great ultraportable laptop, though the lack of a high-resolution display makes competition such as the Lenovo IdeaPad Yoga 2 easier to drift to. Don't skimp on RAM, as it cannot be upgraded.

Lenovo Yoga 2

Lenovo's latest ultraportable is the first to truly make Apple's MacBook Air look out of breath. Its amazing 3200×1800 display and powerful hardware make it the best option for Windows users, though it pays for it all with relatively poor battery life.

iPad Air and iPad mini

Apple's two models of iPad are now essentially the same thing in different sizes, both featuring retina displays, a 64-bit A7 CPU and the same storage and connectivity options. Nothing else is quite in the same league, this holiday season; Android users should wait for next year's crop.

Martin Traditional Recurve 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.

Bone: The Complete Cartoon Epic in One Volume

Jeff Smith's 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.

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. Apple are going to stop making these sooner or later: better buy five of them now.

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.


Called "one of the most important works in American Fantasy" by the American Library Association, Elfquest is back in print after an online run here at Boing Boing. DC Comics' hardcopy archive editions are among the best.


In Zack Giallongo's fantasy debut Zora, a barbarian princess, meets Broxo, the half-feral last survivor of a mysteriously vanished tribe. Together, the two explore the desolate, draugr-infested Peryton Peak and uncover the mountain's secrets. Read more

Kindle Paperwhite

For long-form reading on the road, there's still nothing better than Kindle's Paperwhite–it comes down to the gentle, even backlighting. Be sure to get the slightly pricier version which doesn't come with "Special Offers"–Amazon's odd way of describing pervasive in-Kindle ads. Note that the giant Kindle DX is now on clearance at just $170.

Cards Against Humanity

Cards Against Humanity is "a party game for horrible people", challenging you to be the most evil and despicable person you can find within you. Don't miss the expansion packs. Read More

PlayStation 4

Sony's new game console is the best option for those of us want to, well, play games. Small, sleek and beautiful, it's $100 cheaper than the Xbox One and less fuss to set up.


A combination wall-charger and external battery for USB gadgets. Small and perfect and $50.


A tiny, cheap keychain with 5 useful tools: a box cutter, a bottle opener, a ruler, a screwdriver and a wrench.

Novation Mininova

My favorite little synthesizer, Novation's 37=key MiniNova picks up where the MicroKorg left off. It has 256 onboard sound patches, a vocoder with autotune, and full USB Midi in-out—it handles everything I enjoy doing in my home studio. Looks fantastic, too.

King Cube Ice

Look no futher: this is The One.

ShengShou 7x7x7 Speed Cube

For lunatics and the criminally brilliant, just having one around will enchant and intimidate your friends. The 3x3x3 Mirror Cube is more my own speed.

Pappy Van Winkle's Bourbon

A damned fine drink, if you can find it. Made even scarcer by recent and somewhat relentless media coverage, you'll probably have to settle for a clock made from an empty.

Bacon Soap

Why buy mass-produced Bacon-scented soap when you can get it deliciously hand-made?