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Happy holidays from all of us at WORD!

Hello! Here we are, ready to help you with your holiday. We've got our Christmas lights up and our personal shopper hats on and a whole long list of damn good books. Read on for some of our recommendations this season. For every book we've listed here, there are five more we love just as much, so if you're still stumped on a good book for somebody, stop by the store and we'll help you out. If you already know which section you'd like to start with, click below to skip down---and remember that each book cover and title link will take you to our website, where all orders over $50 get free shipping:

FICTION: The meat and potatoes of WORD. Hardcovers and paperbacks.

NON-FICTION: Biography, history, NYC, and so on.

GRAPHIC NOVELS: The funny books with the pictures in 'em.

KIDS' BOOKS: From picture books up to young adult.

GIFT BOOKS & COOKBOOKS: Star Wars, trivia, and too many cookies.

AND OTHER FUN STUFF: Capes, sock monsters, pens, postcards.

We'd also like to introduce what could be the perfect gift for the avid readers on your list (or for yourself): a brand-new WORD To Your Mailbox program exclusively for adults. You might be familiar with our program for kids: you subscribe a young reader, and they get a new book from us in the mail every month. Well, now we're doing the same thing for grown-up readers too, and we're going to send subscribers not only the newest and best paperback books, but also a little something extra. Go to our WORD To Your Mailbox page for more information and to sign up.

Just in case these recommendations aren't quite what you needed, we have a whole passel of authors coming in next weekend to be guest booksellers and help us out in the store. Make sure you drop by the store on Saturday, December 11 or Sunday, December 12 to meet our authors, have some nibbles from some local restaurants, and get in the holiday spirit. We've got an all-star list of authors, including Peter Brown, Julie Powell, Rachel Shukert, and many more! Click here for the full list and to see when they'll be coming (and keep an eye on our Facebook and Twitter for last-minute additions).

As a final note, we'd like to remind you about the two charitable organizations WORD supports in the hopes that you'll help them out this holiday season. The first is just down the street from us: the Greenpoint Reformed Church Hunger Program. The soup kitchen and food pantry are very much in need of funds to keep their good works in the neighborhood going. You can donate to their efforts via PayPal using this link, and be sure to drop your extra change in our donation basket when you stop by the store this month.

We've also been happy this year to work with local literacy organization ReadThis to help get classroom sets of books to children and schools in need. We're currently trying to outfit PS 376A in Bushwick with a number of small group reading sets to help boost the number of children in that school reading at grade level. Some of the books are as cheap as $3.99 each--can you help out by buying one or two? You can see and buy the requested books at this link, or drop by the store to buy a book in person.

Best wishes from the entire WORD staff for a happy & book-filled holiday season!

      2011 Best European Fiction   How To Live Safely in a Science Fictional Universe   New Yorker Stories    Dogfight 
Best European Fiction 2011 edited by Aleksander Hemon. Last year's collection was one of our surprise holiday bestsellers and this year's seems poised to do the same thing. For: that friend who has always already read the book you try to tell them about.

How To Live Safely In A Science Fictional Universe by Charles Yu. Are we done telling people to read this book yet? No, we are not. Read it already. Limited signed copies available. For: the sci-fi fan in your life, and also the ABD Ph.D. candidate.

The New Yorker Stories by Ann Beattie. Let Beattie show you or some lucky gift recipient just what a short story can do. For: short story aficionados, lifelong New Yorkers.

Dogfight, A Love Story by Matt Burgess. A solid debut novel that is hilarious and heartwrenching by turns as Alfredo Batista rambles all over Queens looking for a dog to start a dogfight to welcome his brother home from jail (and distract him from the fact that while he was gone, Alfredo knocked up his girlfriend). For: Fans of Richard Price and proud residents of Queens County.

     God On The Rocks  Instructions   Visit From The Goon Squad    Singer's Gun  

God On The Rocks by Jane Gardam. Finally available in the US, Gardam's Booker Prize-nominated 1978 release. For: everybody to whom we already sold a copy of Old Filth and people who like to fake having a British accent sometimes.

The Instructions by Adam Levin. A doorstopper and a half of a novel that is, indeed, worth plowing through. For: cultural Jews, fiction devotees, David Foster Wallace obsessives.

A Visit From the Goon Squad by Jennifer Egan. Look, everyone has their own opinions about the National Book Awards and we're sure it's very hard to only pick five books and that's fine, but Egan WUZ ROBBED by not even being nominated for this masterpiece. This book is her finest yet, which is really saying something. For: you, your mom, anyone who likes a good book.

The Singer's Gun by Emily St. John Mandel. We're huge supporters of Mandel here, mostly because she's one of the clearest new literary voices in fiction. This, her latest, takes a turn for the thriller but retains her beautiful style. For: people for whom it is hard to buy books.

        Melting Season cover   Room   Skippy Dies    Ten Ways To Be Adored When Landing A Lord 

The Melting Season by Jami Attenberg. We love this book. We would say that even if Jami didn't work here. Limited signed copies available (heck, we can probably get her to personalize them, too). For: Midwesterners and road trips.

Room by Emma Donoghue. Haven't met a person yet who didn't devour this book. A very deserving member of the Booker Prize shortlist. Limited signed copies available. For: moms, fans of true crime, folks with a long trip ahead of them.

Skippy Dies by Paul Murray. You've really got to admire a book that gives away its primary plot point in the title, yeah? A gripping novel of teenage love, adult disappointment, and donuts. Limited signed copies will probably be available after his event on 12/5, or order now to have signed on that day. For: twenty-somethings, people who like good book design.

Ten Ways To Be Adored When Landing A Lord by Sarah MacLean. Yeah, yeah, we know, you're too cool to read romance novels. It's a shame for you, because you'll never know the joy of reading this book so eagerly that you turn the pages before you quite finish them. Just in case you change your mind, though, order it before 12/18 so that you can get your copy personalized by the author. For: anyone you know who needs a guilty pleasure this holiday season.


     K Blows Top   Ghosthunting NYC   Bound To Last   Freedarko History

K Blows Top: A Cold War Comic Interlude, Starring Nikita Khrushchev, America's Most Unlikely Tourist
by Peter Carlson. This is one of the most joyfully readable non-fiction books to come out in years, and best of all, it doesn't lean on the author's experience researching the story to tell an engaging tale. Rather, Carlson steps back and lets the all-too-insane, all-too-real experience of Nikita Kkrushchev's three visits to the United States wash over you. For: people who are normally fiction readers who want to try non-fiction, history buffs.

Ghosthunting New York City by L'Aura Hladik. Ghosthunter L'Aura documents the Big Apple's most haunted locations, from the Brooklyn Inn to the White Horse Tavern to Washington Square Park, and not only gives you the skinny on their ghosts but tells you how and when to go yourself. Limited signed copies available. For: visitors and locals alike.

Bound to Last: 30 Writers on Their Most Cherished Book edited by Sean Manning. A who's who of authors (Francine Prose, Nick Flynn, Julia Glass, Jim Shephard, and 26 more) write about their favorite book -- and why a digital version will never replace it. For: all book-lovers, but especially those who want nothing to do with narrative on a screen (NOT THAT THERE'S ANYTHING WRONG WITH THAT).

FreeDarko Presents: The Undisputed Guide to Pro Basketball History. As the only bookstore in the country with its own basketball league, we are contractually obligated to promote this book; luckily, it more than deserves the promotion. For: people who like sports, people who pretend they don't like sports for intellectual insecurity reasons but secretly do.

   And The Pursuit of Happiness  This Is NPR  50 Places to Hike Before You Die  Colonel Roosevelt

Colonel Roosevelt by Edmund Morris. We've all got a presidental biography lover on our gift lists, and this is the book they're craving. The final novel in the Pulitzer-Prize-winning author's trilogy about one of our finest, or at the very least most fascinating, presidents, and chronicling his life after his presidency. For: aforementioned presidental biography lovers.

Fifty Places To Hike Before You Die by Chris Santella and Bob Peixotto. Alternately, if you're not much for hiking, you can just sit in a comfortable chair, look at all the pretty pictures and think about hiking. For: hikers. Duh.

This Is NPR: The First Forty Years. A history of the beloved radio station from the folks who were there. For: judging by the number of questions we get every week that start with "I heard about this book on NPR," pretty much everybody reading this email.

And The Pursuit of Happiness by Maira Kalman. A collection of Kalman's beautiful contemplations on the nature of American democracy, created in the year after the last presidental election. For: history buffs, art buffs, writers, artists, dreamers.

 Zinester's Guide to NYC Skeptic's Guide to Writers' Houses  Emperor of All Maladies  Earth From Above

Zinester's Guide to New York City by Ayun Halliday. We would adore this lively guide to New York even if we weren't mentioned in it! As good a guide for locals to rediscover their city as we've ever seen, but just as good to hand to friends just visiting for the weekend. For: anyone in New York, or dreaming of being in New York.

A Skeptic's Guide to Writers' Houses by Anne Trubek. What makes us travel across the country to see where Mark Twain used to live? Trubek takes us on a tour of writers' houses across the country (including the many haunts of the peripatetic Poe). For: anyone who has actually structured a vacation around stopping by a writers' house.

The Emperor of All Maladies: A Biography of Cancer by Siddartha Mukerjee. Oncologist Mukerjee tells the history of cancer and humans with intelligence and grace, starting in ancient Egypt and winging across the globe and forward in time. For: your family's resident doctor and/or ER fan.

Earth From Above by Yann Arthus-Bertrand. This tenth anniversary edition of the classic book of beautiful photographs of our planet is accompanied by a number of essays from leading environmentalists. For: the good people of the world who never forget to bring their reusable bags to the grocery store.


                           How to Understand Israel in 60 Days or Less  Drinking at the Movies      
              Make Me A Woman  Asterios Polyp Alec: The Years Have Pants
How to Understand Israel in 60 Days or Less by Sarah Glidden. Williamsburg resident Glidden, a bright, inquisitive young woman, explores Israel through a birthright tour, in this thoughtful graphic novel debut. For: a Hannakuh gift for those interested in better understanding the nuanced history of Israel from a fresh perspective.

Drinking at the Movies by Julia Wertz. Whip-smart cartoonist Wertz, best known for her hilarious The Fart Party collections, moved to Greenpoint from San Francisco and spent a year documenting her new life here, in this bittersweet, funny, and substantive graphic novel. For: Greenpoint residents who want to play "hey, I know where that is!"

Make Me A Woman by Vanessa Davis. This gorgeously designed and illustrated (in both watercolor and pencil) collection of comic strips details the coming-of-age of Davis, the talented author of cult favorite Spaniel Rage. The book spans from her bat mitzvah, to her single life in Brooklyn where she ill-advisedly dates stand-up comedians, to her new life on the West Coast. For: fans of autobiographical comix and/or R. Crumb.

Asterios Polyp by David Mazzucchelli. We probably mentioned this in last year's gift guide, but even more WORD staffers have discovered it since then, so we're mentioning it again. It's still brilliant. For: anyone who still hasn't read it, for heaven's sake.

Alec: The Years Have Pants (a Life-Sized Omnibus) by Eddie Campbell. Finally, all of the Alec comics are collected in one, beautiful, mind-blowing, masterpiece of a book. Not recommended for commuting. Highly recommended for aspiring artists of all genres. Truly. "How To Be An Artist," included in this collection, is itself worth the price of admission. For: writers, artists, people who don't like how fast they blow through graphic novels.

Mad at MommySubway 10 Little PenguinsLlama Llama Holiday Drama

Mad at Mommy
by Kamako Sakai. Some moms are really mean! They always want to sleep in on the weekends and they never have your favorite shirt ready and they talk on the phone too much. For: any kid who has to put up with such an insensitive mother.

Subway by Christoph Niemann. There are a lot of kids' books about the subway, but this one, with its fantastic paintings, perfectly captures the excitement of moving around underground, minus the trash and the weekend service changes. For: people for whom getting on the G is still a thrilling experience.

10 Little Penguins: A Pop-Up Book by Joelle Jolivet and Jean-Luc Fromental. From the creators of WORD favorite 365 Penguins. This book doesn't have quite so many penguins as the other, but it has a lot more drama, and is a great introduction to numbers for the younger set. For: penguin lovers, anyone who needs a refresher on how to count.

Llama Llama Holiday Drama by Anna Dewdney. The star of Llama Llama Red Pajama in a story about how looooooooooooooooooooooooong it takes for Christmas to get here. For a limited time, we have cute little Llama Llama plushie dolls (just $5.50) to go with the book. For: llamas and their fans.

Perfect Piggies Children Make Terrible PetsSocksquatch Unsinkable Walker Bean

Perfect Piggies! Book and Plush Set by Sandra Boynton. The Boynton, the Boynton, she can do no wrong. Super cute; includes a free download of the song. For: anybody who noticed that the last two sentences there rhymed! (You can hang out at the bookstore any old time.)

Children Make Terrible Pets by Peter Brown. It's true, they do. They make a mess all over everything and they're super loud, and the worst part is, the pound won't ever take them back. Another fantastic book from WORD crush object Peter Brown. For: a great bedtime read-aloud.

Socksquatch by Frank W. Dormer. Jenn loves this book so much that if you come in and ask nicely, she'll read it aloud to you just to prove how fantastic it is. Try it! For: even the youngest listeners, and kids just learning to read to themselves.

The Unsinkable Walker Bean by Aaron Reiner. One of our favorite graphic novels for kids of the year (though it's equally good for adults). Anybody who's ever become a pirate by accident in order to defend his or her family and life as they know it will be able to identify. For: pirate wannabees, lovers of old-school comix.

         Archvillain  Forge  Herbert's Wormhole  Penny Dreadful

Archvillain by Barry Lyga. Another great book from Lyga about a kid who has to become a villain to save his town. Limited signed copies available. For: boys who swear they don't like to read.

Forge by Laurie Halse Anderson. Anderson's sequel to National Book Award-nominated Chains, set primarily in the 1777 winter at Valley Forge in the heart of the American Revolution, is just the right levels of scary and captivating. Limited signed copies available. For: historical fiction and thriller lovers.

Herbert's Wormhole by Peter Nelson and Rohitash Rao. A joy of a story in which two video-game addicted kids use their skills after finding a wormhole that allows them to go through time. Great illustrations. For: kids who get impatient waiting for the next Wimpy Kid book.

Penny Dreadful by Laurel Snyder. One of our favorite new chapter books of the year! After Penny wishes for something interesting to happen, her dad quits his job, and her family runs out of money and loses their house. Can Penny make more wishes to make things right? Penny's strong voice and Snyder's writing carry this delightful story. For: smart young readers who aren't quite ready for teen books but want something a little meatier.
 Mostly Good GirlsLast Summer of the Death WarriorsPretty MonstersPlease Ignore Vera DietzZombies vs Unicorns

Mostly Good Girls by Leila Sales. A great new YA author along the lines of one of WORD's patron saints of YA fiction, E. Lockhart. The funny and thoughtful story of what happens when your best friend changes and you don't change, or even want to. For: teenage girls and women still recovering from being teenage girls.

Last Summer of the Death Warriors by Francisco X. Stork. This book, much like Stork's first book, Marcelo in the Real World, is true and awe-inspiring. The next time someone tells you YA fiction can't ever be as good as fiction for adults, smack them in the jaw with this. For: boys who read, boys who don't read, adults who should read more.

Pretty Monsters by Kelly Link. Finally, a quick and easy way to expose the teens in your life to Link's post-modern reality-bending fever dreams of short stories. For: those who are weary of paranormal in their fiction but that doesn't mean they just want to read about real life all the time.

Please Ignore Vera Dietz by A.S. King. Dark, funny, and not at all what you think it's going to be. King is quickly becoming one of the most surprising authors in YA lit. For: teens, their teachers, and aspiring writers (King will be leading a writing workshop here in 2011, so read her book now so you can suck up properly!)

Zombies vs. Unicorns edited by Holly Black and Justine Larbalestier. It's a question for the ages, right? And finally, in this collection, authors like Meg Cabot, Libba Bray, and Scott Westerfeld take sides and go at it. For: members of Team Zombie AND Team Unicorn.


Sounds of Star WarsApples I Have EatenSilhouette Art Quadrivium

Sounds of Star Wars
by J. W. Rinzler and Ben Burtt. Look, we know you all want this, because we have heard you not-so-secretly playing with it in the back of the store. This is just a reminder to put it on your list for Santa. For: NERDS. (We kid, we kid.) (Sort of.)

Apples I Have Eaten by Jonathan Gerken. A beautiful little stocking stuffer that is just pictures of pretty apples. That's it. Sometimes simple is best. For: farmers' market devotees, apple lovers, photographers, chefs.

Silhouette Art by Vana Chupp. Silhouettes are going to be the new knitting, people. Get on board while you still can. For: artists, people who want to do DIY holiday gifts this year but can't figure out anything cool enough.

Quadrivium: The Four Classical Liberal Arts of Number, Geometry, Music & Cosmology. You might have gotten a 1600 (or a 2400) on your SAT, but do you know about cosmology's relationship to time? Hmmmm? For: smarty-pantses, trivia contest addicts.

    Take 100 Fanzines Frankies Spuntino Essential NYT Cookbook

Take 100: The Future of Film: 100 New Directors. A big beautiful coffee table book curated by the directors of some of the world's most prominent film festivals. For: film dorks, trivia contest addicts.

Fanzines by Teal Triggs. Because, though it is nearly impossible to imagine, there was a time before blogs, and people still had opinions about bands back then, and needed to distribute them somehow. For: design freaks, paper lovers, music lovers, people with opinions.

The Frankies Spuntino Kitchen Companion & Cooking Manual by Frank Falcinelli, Frank Castronovo, and Peter Meehan. It's our bestselling cookbook of the year, and with good reason. Not only is it gorgeous, but you can finally learn how to make their meatballs (that alone is worth getting this book). For: chefs, cooks, Italians, someone who you wish would make dinner more often.

The Essential New York Times Cookbook by Amanda Hesser. Recipes from the entire history of the paper, thankfully updated with modern measurements and a little bit of context. Helpful meal planners and very detailed index in the back. For: the history buff/foodie combo.
Old Man DrinksBaked ExplorationsAlice's Tea CupNew Brooklyn Cookbook

Old Man Drinks by Robert Schnakenberg and Michael E. Reali. Actual old men probably won't need this book, but plenty of old-men-in-training probably do. For: those in need of an Old Fashioned recipe, basic life advice, or both.

Baked Explorations: Classic American Desserts Reinvented by Matt Lewis, Renato Poliafito, and Tina Rupp. Not that the whoopie pie needed much in the way of renovation, as it is one of God's chosen foods, but if anybody should be allowed to do it, it's these geniuses. For: bakers, your mom.

Chewy Gooey Crispy Crunchy Melt-In-Your-Mouth Cookies by Alice Medrich. WORD's official winner in the Book Title Most Likely To Make You Drool On Yourself category! For: those faced regularly with bake sales and/or dinner parties.

Alice's Tea Cup: Delectable Recipes for Scones, Cakes, Sandwiches, and More from New York's Most Whimsical Tea Spot by Haley Fox and Lauren Fox. We think all the reasons to buy this book are pretty clearly stated in the title, there. Limited signed copies available. For: anyone who needs more things to put jam on.

The New Brooklyn Cookbook by Melissa Vaughan, Brendan Vaughan, and Michael Harlan Turkell. Including the recipe for Dumont's Dumac and Cheese AND Five Leaves' Five Leaves Burger AND a Q&A with Annie Novak of Greenpoint's own Eagle Street Rooftop Farms. For: all Brooklyn cooks.

Sock crittersNow, there are a bunch of things you will have to come into the bookstore to check out and buy, like our brand new line of Kameco pens, our table full of boxes of holiday cards, a line of capes for your favorite mini-superhero, and most importantly, our new favorite sock critters. We've also still got our silly line of post-it notes (including these rude fellows), our exclusive totebag, and Greenpoint's beloved Bananagrams. But we've also got a few other cool things that aren't books:

Pin-Up CalendarPostcards outsideFor starters, there's the sexy, fun 2011 I Heart Brooklyn Girls calendar: twelve months of photos in the style of mid-century queer pulp fiction novels, shot here in Brooklyn of some gorgeous Brooklyn dames. (To the left, see February's image from the calendar). We've got practically every Moleskine 2011 planner that they printed this year, along with some wall and box calendars. We also love the Postcards From Penguin set: 100 postcards printed with classic Penguin bookcovers.

Of course, for the pickiest of readers, we have gift certificates in any amount. But the greatest gift of all for the book lover in your life is a membership in our WORD To Your Mailbox program. Don't forget to check out all the details on how you can sign up your favorite name on the list for months of reading bliss. We're taking what we do best--introducing you to your new favorite book--and delivering it straight to your front door. (Of course, you can always send the link to Santa on your behalf and hope for the best...)

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