Malvern’s Christmas Gift Guide

Only fifteen shopping days till Christmas, my dears—and here at Malvern Books we’re doing the decent, festive thing and staying open every day until the 25th (with an early-ish 5pm closing on Christmas Eve, because even dedicated booksellers have trees to tinsel and eggs to nog). If you’ve left your shopping till the last minute, fear not, as all your essential Yuletide pressies can be found at yonder Malvern. Here are a few suggestions…

For the world traveler….

The PIP Anthologies of World Poetry of the 20th Century. Published by the wonderful Green Integer, these anthologies showcase major international poetry figures whose work might be unfamiliar to American readers. The series’ editor, Douglas Messerli, writes:

In an interview with a Brazilian journal, I was recently asked to comment if I felt Americans, and by extension American poets, knew of the poetry in other countries. My conclusion was a bleak one: most Americans don’t even know a poet in this country, I quipped; and, even more disturbing, is my guess that most American poets could name, perhaps, twenty poets from other countries. . . . My fear is that precisely this lack of knowledge of the writing and experiences of other cultures underlies the American arrogance and beliefs that not only is our culture superior to others, but that it should be the culture of others.

Put an end to cultural smugness: give the gift of international poetry! (It’s also the perfect present for your wretched cousin Tanner, who talks of nothing but the Green Bay Packers and BBQ ribs and how America, like, invented freedom.) Each volume has a different theme, from Dutch poets of the ’50s to contemporary Brazilian poetry, so there really is something for everyone. (I recommend you get Tanner the entire set.)

Gift Ideas

For the J.G. Ballard fan…

The revised edition of The History of Luminous Motion, Scott Bradfield’s 1989 cult classic. Described as “Blue Velvet meets Oedipus Rex,” Luminous Motion is a sad, strange, visceral novel set amidst the sticky strip malls of suburban Southern California and narrated by eight-year-old Phillip, a nutso drifter genius who makes Holden Caulfield look like a phoney. Dazzling, disturbing, and utterly brilliant:

The body, I have often thought, is like a promise. You keep things in it. Those things are covert, immediate, yours. There is something lustrous about them. They emit energy, like radium or appliances. They can be replaced, repaired or simply discarded. The promise of the body is very firm and intact. It’s the only promise we can count on, and we can’t really count on it very much.

For the lover of cats and/or comics and/or noir…

We have a few graphic novels by the prolific Norwegian artist Jason, and Lost Cat is my favorite. It’s a classic detective story that somehow morphs into a fable about loneliness. If you want to give a graphic novel but Jason is not your (gift) bag, be sure to check out the rest of our mighty selection, which includes classics like Ghost World and assorted Crumbs and Love and Rockets, as well as newer titles like Linda Medley’s Castle Waiting: Vol II and Lilli Carré’s charming Heads or Tails.

Gift Ideas

For the Francophile…

What could be better than a tub of Brie and a stylish edition of Satre’s Nausea? Or if you’d prefer to gift less existential fare, how about Return to Calm, a gently contemplative poetry collection from Parisian flâneur Jacques Réda? Or how about a little Evguénie Sokolov (new in store!), the only novel ever written by the legendary Serge Gainsbourg? Also new in store and sure to appeal to your French-loving friend (assuming they like racy, hard-boiled detective novels): I Spit on Your Graves by Boris Vian.

For absolutely everyone…

Don’t forget our smashing sidelines! We have cards, t-shirts, mugs, bookmarks, and lovely Leuchtturm notebooks. And if you feel overwhelmed by choice (we don’t blame you!), we have gift cards, too.