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23 Oddly Specific Literary Christmas Gift Ideas – arkbooks
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23 Oddly Specific Literary Christmas Gift Ideas

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There are already plenty of articles out there that will shower you with advice for what to get for your heteronormative significant other, your step-mother, or your dog this Christmas – instead, here is an exhaustive list to fill in the gaps. You’ll just have to trust me on this one.

For the one with whom you are ‘romantically’ entangled, but both of you are far too indoctrinated by poststructuralism to label anything.
Frank Bidart, Metaphysical Dog (2013)

For the one who insists on bringing up Foucault all the damn time
Michael de Certeau, The Practice of Everyday Life (1984)

For the one who won’t stop talking about the power of community supported agricultural projects.
Tim Jackson, Prosperity Without Growth: Economics for a Finite Planet (2009)

For the one you used to have a crush on until you realised they were emotionally hollow.
Gabriel Garcia Marquez, One Hundred Years of Solitude (1967)

For the one you call your best friend, but really you have kind of drifted apart since college.
Clarice Lispector, A Breath of Life (1978)

For the one who admires neo-classical architecture and period costume dramas without acknowledging their explicit relationships with European colonial violence.
Aimé Césaire, Notebook on a Return to The Native Land (1939)

For the one who shares too many memes on social media to mask their crippling depression.
Sigmund Freud, Jokes and their Relation to the Unconscious (1905)

For the one who says ‘social justice’ like it’s a bad thing.
Ruth Weiss, A Path Through Hard Grass: A Journalist’s Memories of Exile and Apartheid (2014)

For the one who recently finished their dissertation and needs a break.
William Steig, Shrek (1990)

For the one with a specific desire to learn about early 20th century Polish feminist poetry.
Anna Swir, Talking To My Body (1996)

For the one with an interest in Danish maritime history.
Carsten Jensen, We The Drowned (2006)

For the one with an unhealthy interest in the history of the Baltic region.
Michael North, The Baltic: A History (2015)

For the one who is emotionally distant and you are getting kind of worried about
Tennessee Williams, Collected Stories (1994)

For the one who insists that chronic mental illnesses can be treated by a breath of fresh air.
Fyodor Dostoevsky, The Idiot (1869)

For the one who has recently become obsessed with libertarianism.
Slavoj Žižek, In Defence of Lost Causes (2008)

For the one whose employment status you find difficult to discern but they have a lot of spare time.
David Foster Wallace, Infinite Jest (1996)

For the one who identifies as a Nice Guy™
Valerie Solanas, Scum Manifesto (1967)

For the one who is trying to navigate Denmark’s peculiar bureaucracy.
Franz Kafka, The Trial (1925)

For the one who insisted on pursuing graduate studies but is having second thoughts.
Lauren Berlant, Cruel Optimism (2011)

For the one who is insufferably chirpy and cheerful.
David Silkenat, Moments of Despair: Suicide, Divorce, and Debt in Civil War Era North Carolina (2014)

For the one who gave up on their dreams and is now in an unhealthy relationship.
Victoria Benedictsson, Money (1885)

For the one who purports to be a hardcore nihilist when in actuality they are a romantic.
Frederico Garcia Lorca, Selected Poems (1995)

For the one who professes to be an ‘egalitarian’ rather than a feminist.
bell hooks, The Will To Change: Men, Masculinity, and Love (2004)


image: Alan Cleaver

Simon's background is in American history and postcolonial studies. He wrote his dissertation on pirates, the extreme-Right, and the weaponization of historical memory. He now studies migration and displacement at Copenhagen University. Favourite topics: Eastern European and Antipodean literatures, zine making, modernism, and sentimental trash.

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