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153: Bookish Gifts - Our 2020 Recommendations


In this episode of the Unabridged Podcast, we share some recommendations for bookish gifts for the upcoming holidays. After our Bookish Check-in, we offer our recs, covering options from snarky to sweet, with plenty of ways to support independent and local businesses. Then, we each share an item from our own wishlist.







Bookish Check-in

Ashley - Alyssa Cole’s When No One Is Watching

Jen - Toni Morrison’s A Mercy

Sara - Rachel Joyce’s Miss Benson’s Beetle


Our Bookish Gifts Recommendations

Bookshop.org

Free as a Bird Books (@freeasabirdbooks) (@jeanellnicolereads) - Jeanell curates books to amplify authors of color.

A Fine Quotation - watercolor items with favorite characters and fandoms - thanks to listener Jody for this recommendation!

Libro.fm

Emily McDowell and Friends - snarky cards, witty bags, plenty of profanity

The Lady Jane - cute gifts for every one with a special section of literary gifts (local)

Emily Cromwell Designs - happy, whimsical designs for every booklover

Bookshelf Tees - cute bookish tees (woman-owned)

Inkwell Threads - bookish tees and other bookish items


Other Info

Check out our bookish gifts episodes from previous years, #100 from 2019 and #49 from 2018, and be on the lookout for our upcoming annual giveaway with The Mountain Thread Company!


Give Me One - An Item on Your Wishlist

Ashley - bullet journal accessories

Jen - Subscription Box - Book Riot’s TBR: Tailored Book Recommendations

Sara - Libro FM subscription


Holiday Gift Guide: The Long List


#shownotes #bookishgifts

(A note to our readers: click on the hashtags above to see our other blog posts with the same hashtag.)


Interested in what else we're reading? Check out our Featured Books page.

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Bookish Check-in

book cover of Alyssa Cole's When No One Is Watching

Ashley said, "I started Alyssa Cole's When No One Is Watching. This is the story of Sydney who is living in a Brooklyn brownstone house and loves the community. She is experiencing all of the changes are taking place in the neighborhood. There are these somewhat vulture-like realtors who are around all the time trying to convince her to sell her mom's house so that they can turn it over and make a profit. She's very aware of how there's sale signs going up everywhere. All this gentrification is happening, and it's changing the neighborhood dynamics and the community that she has always loved. So she's experiencing that change. And then it's also the story of Theo, who is a new neighbor, and seemingly from Sydney's side, it seems like he and his girlfriend or wife who are white have moved into the neighborhood.


"You start to see, I didn't expect this, but you do get his perspective as well, and things are not exactly what they seem. The relationship is really on the rocks, but they're in that situation where they've paid for the house. So he's basically living this miserable existence up in the attic space of that property, and he's always watching what's happening in the neighborhood. So it is really fascinating. I love the way that Cole is exploring the way that race relations and socioeconomic situations, change neighborhoods, and how that can be really negatively impactful to the people who have been in the community and who have always lived there. I also just love Sydney as a character. So it is really interesting. I've gotten to the part where Theo kind of enters the story as a narrator as well. There are a lot of interesting things happening. I'm curious to see how the thriller part evolves. . . .


"Anyway, I am loving it. Alyssa Cole is a brilliant writer and I love Sydney's character. And like I said, I was surprised about seeing Theo's side as well, but he had a very different voice from her. But it's also really interesting to see. So I am loving it so far."


book cover of Toni Morrison's A Mercy

Jen said, "I am reading Toni Morrison's, A Mercy. A Mercy is really short. It's not even 200 pages. It is, as many Toni Morrison books are, a bit of a puzzle to put together. It's a weird experience, because I've been reading all of the judgments without having finished the book. So, I know some things that are going to happen that haven't happened yet. But at its heart, it is looking at the role of women.


"It focuses on this man, Jacob Barks, the women in his life. So he is an Anglo Dutch trader, and he has a wife, and he has a slave who he did not want, but he basically accepted. He saw it as an act of mercy to take her away from her owner. He has another servant, not a slave, but a servant, actually to other servants. He's surrounded by these women who are there to serve him, but even though their roles are quite different from each other, because they are women, they all have that in common.


"It's very much looking at the role of slavery, but also at the implications of gender in the lives of these women and the way they relate to each other because of their position to Jacob Bark. I mean, it's Toni Morrison. So you know, it's brilliantly written, on the sentence level. I'm marking things just because they're written so beautifully. And as Toni Morrison always is, it's thought provoking."


book cover of Rachel Joyce's Miss Benson's Beetle

Sara said, "I am reading a book that just came out at the beginning of November that Random House sent me so thanks to them for it. It is called Miss Benson's Beetle, and it is by Rachel Joyce. This book starts out when the main character is very young in 1914, and her name is Marjorie Benson. There's this little brief snippet in the beginning of her childhood where her dad is showing her this book filled with all these outrageous creatures. She wants to know if the creatures are real. And he says, 'Well, some people have seen them, but they we don't know, there's no proof.' So, she's just fascinated by that, and then some things happen.


"Then we kind of flash forward to 1950. She's a schoolteacher, and kind of a spinster. She decides that she is going to go on an expedition to look for this golden beetle that she had seen in this book, and she needs an assistant. So she gets this assistant, who is totally not like her, she like dresses in this pink suit, and it's just, it's a story of friendship.


"I mean, I'm not too far in it yet. But it's a story of friendship. And then this epic expedition adventure of these ladies in the 1950s. And it just got me at the beginning. And I mean, I was hooked, which I needed. I'm just so grateful to have it. Because I was like, 'You have to read a book that is not a holiday book, Sara.' Because I've read four or five in a row, and so this book came along. I love books about female friendship, and things that center around females not looking for love. I like the female bonding and all that. So I think this book is going to give me that and I'm just really enjoying it."


Main Discussion: Bookish Gifts Recommendations

Ashley, Jen, and Sara discussed the following recommendations:


Bookshop.org - a website dedicated to supporting independent bookstore

Free As a Bird Books (@freeasabirdbooks) (@jeanellnicolereads) - Jeanell curates books to amplify authors of color.

A Fine Quotation - gorgeous watercolor items with favorite characters and fandoms - thanks to listener Jody for this recommendation!

Libro FM - a podcast favorite for all your audiobook needs, and they support independent bookstores!

Emily McDowell and Friends - snarky cards, witty bags, plenty of profanity for your bookish friends with a sense of humor

The Lady Jane - cute gifts for every one with a special section of literary gifts (local)

Emily Cromwell Designs - happy, whimsical designs for every booklover

Bookshelf Tees - cute bookish tees (woman-owned)

Inkwell Threads - bookish tees and other bookish items


Give Me One - Item on Your Wishlist

Don't miss our Give Me One segment, where each of us share a an item on our holiday wishlist!

Please note that we a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for us to earn fees by linking to Amazon.com and affiliated sites.

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