Holiday List Favorites

Here’s the weekly edition of things that excite me, make me think, make me laugh, or just inspire me in any way. It’s full of good books, good food,  fun gifts, and one very bacon-y idea.

Sharing Our Skills

skillshare

Maybe I’m totally slow to the game here, but I just found out this week about Skillshare. It’s an amazing site that allows anyone to offer a miniature online course to share their skills and insights with others. Most of the classes are around $25, but I spotted a few free ones as well. If you’ve ever wished you could learn something like SEO, or hand-lettering, or audio mixing, but never had the big bucks or free time in your schedule to take a class, this is perfect for you. You can watch the classes and do the projects on your own schedule, without investing a boatload of money in something that may just remain a hobby. Since I’m such a book nerd, I’ve always been completely fascinated by typography and wanted to learn more about it, so I signed up for Typography That Works. I’m really excited to geek out over some type this holiday!

Holiday Gift Round-Ups

As always, these are absolutely everywhere. If you’re like me, you might have a hard time thinking of creative gifts (I buy my sister the same exact thing every single year…), so it’s incredibly helpful to have someone else do the searching and curating for you. My favorites so far are Andrew Zimmern’s on Pinterest and the New York Times Dining list. A few fave items:

small-batch-grenadine

Small batch grenadine from Jack Rudy Cocktail Co. The beautiful packaging and artisan quality will make any home mixologist weak in the knees.

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These Short Stack Editions cookbooks! These are such an interesting concept–they’re small-format (about 50 pages), single-subject cookbooks meant for collecting and gifting. It’s all about the package and product story on these, and it seems like they’re really standing out from the crowd of other single-subject gift cookbooks. They’re also such a nice cross between a book and a magazine, and their craftsmanship is fantastic: they’re locally printed on beautiful paper and stitch-bound by hand using baker’s twine.

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A sea salt subscription. Maldon is generally regarded as the very best in luxury salt, so I was surprised to see how affordable it is–only about $6 for an 8.5 ounce box. And as much as I’m iffy on Amazon, they have an awesome subscription service where you can choose how frequently it’s delivered to you. Let’s go ahead and check the once a month box on that one…

wine bag

Reusable, double barrel, ready-to-party wine bag from HeroBags. Completely does away with the frustration of  digging for old paper wine bags to reuse.

Best Books of 2013 Lists

The best book lists at the end of the year are exciting for any agent, editor, or publisher—even if a book you’ve worked on hasn’t been selected, you now have a huge slew of exciting, decidedly worth-it books to keep you reading through the holidays. Here’s the New York Times 10 Best Books of 2013 list:

Fiction:
Americanah by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie
The Flamethrowers by Rachel Kushner
The Goldfinch by Donna Tartt
Life After Life by Kate Atkinson
Tenth of December by George Saunders

Nonfiction:
After the Music Stopped: The Financial Crisis, the Response, and the Work Ahead by Alan S. Blinder
Days of Fire: Bush and Cheney in the White House by Peter Baker
Five Days at Memorial: Life and Death in a Storm Ravaged Hospital by Sheri Fink
The Sleepwalkers: How Europe Went to War in 1914 by Christopher Clark
Wave by Sonali Deraniyagala

Wave sounds especially fascinating: “On the day after Christmas in 2004, Deraniyagala called her husband to the window of their hotel room in Sri Lanka. “I want to show you something odd,” she said. The ocean looked foamy and closer than usual. Within moments, it was upon them. Deraniyagala lost her husband, her parents and two young sons to the Indian Ocean tsunami. Her survival was miraculous, and so too is this memoir — unsentimental, raggedly intimate, full of fury.”

May be a bit heavy for my New Year’s trip to northern Michigan (it’s too dark and at-the-mercy-of-nature there already), but it’s going on my to-read list.

And One Last Thing:

A pretty printable from Emily Jones Design Company:

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