Five Non-Book Gifts For The Writer In Your Life, Plus a Giveaway


The Walt Whitman shirt from Novel-Ts employs a bit of cleverness. Photo: Novel-Ts

The Walt Whitman shirt from Novel-Ts employs a bit of cleverness. Photo: Novel-Ts

The writer in your life probably needs to be constantly and unrelentingly reminded of how much you adore them. This holiday season is the perfect time to let them know how much you care and if somewhere within your gift to them is the message, “I think you’re brilliant and your work will change the world,” you’ve succeed in locking them down into your life forever

Obviously the perfect gift is a cabin in upstate New York with a perpetually babbling brook running behind it that’s stocked with a capricious kitten and a case of Glenlivet. Follow me on Twitter for more dream gift suggestions. In the meantime, if a cabin isn’t in your price range, here are five gift ideas to keep your scribbler happy and inspired this holiday season–with a chance to win one of them.

The Gift of Ego–$24.95
If you don’t look good, you don’t feel good.  If you don’t look like a writer, you don’t feel like a writer. Why do you think Hank Moody is always having sex and never actually writing?  Because he looks like a gigolo who robbed a Kenneth Cole store.  Point is you’ve got to look the part. Quality tweed and outdoorsy Pendleton shirts are always a good bet.

Another, more affordable option, is to go with a clever literary tee, and course there’s a whole line of them made right here in Brooklyn called Novel-T’s. They’ve imagined great writers as a sort of literary fantasy baseball league, and make jerseys bearing the names, as well visual references to, your favorite writers, and some of their more illustrious characters. The collection pays special attention to writers with a Brooklyn footprint of some sort, like Walt Whitman. Jonathan Ames and this Dave Eggers.

Novel-T’s and Brooklyn Based are in the giving spirit and so we are going set three of you up with Novel-T gear for the holidays.  All you have to do is browse the Novel-Ts website and come up with a literary shirt suggestion that isn’t already in the roster. Leave your suggestion in the comments below and the crew at Novel-Ts will pick their favorites. Go on!

The Gift of Space–$225
The cost of renting a workspace can add up but it’s better to rent a high-quality workspace for a short period of time than to spend a year somewhere where no work will get done. Brooklyn Creative League is a serious space for serious work and it’s also a nice networking spot.  If your writer friend has a singular project they’d like to finish in a month or so, BCL is a great place for them to do it.  For $225/mo you can rent a part-time (40 hours) workspace  at Brooklyn Creative League where everything is taken care of, from wifi to printing to the occasional salad.

 The Gift of Consciousness–$39
There’s probably no need to explain why coffee is important to the writing equation, and if you are a regular Brooklyn Based reader you may be aware that I am an expert on this topic. Having set out to find the best coffee shop to sit inside and try to get some work done, I found myself drinking six or seven cups of coffee a day for as long it it took to sample the wares of every prominent Brooklyn coffee shop.  One day, when I’m screaming in pain waiting for the kidney stones to pass, I’ll let the knowledge that I can now say with authority that Gimme has Brooklyn’s best coffee beans, soothe the pain.  Whether you’re a Stumptown loyalist, a Dunkin Donuts lifer or even a Cafe Bustelo dabbler, Gimme will convert you. For a smooth strong cup, try the Fracktivist. For a sweeter, calmer blend go with Mocha Java. This gift box includes three blends of Gimme’s best beans.

The Gift of Inspiration–$45
For me, the difference between being blocked and being in the zone is the voice in my head.  The voice is always doing one of three things: It’s either making up totally inaccurate and nonsensical lyrics for that song “Royals.” It’s completely silent thus forcing me to listen to Howard Stern or This American Life. Or, it’s narrating my every move as if I’m Holden Caulfield in my own little Bushwick internet baby version of The Catcher in the Rye. Once I start narrating it’s go-time.  But the only way to get me there is to read a great book. Unfortunately since I’m always either on the L-train or walking to Gimme Coffee, I have less time to sit down and read than I’d like. Audible is the best way to make those long walks count.   For $45 you can give your loved one three full months of zone-time.

 The Gift of Conversation–$31
If there’s one part of the job that most of us dislike the most, it’s networking. If you tend toward social self-pulverization as I do, it can help to come up with a few topics to discuss ahead of time. At book and publishing events, folks talk about the most recent article they read in Slate, the New Yorker, and so on, but in a world of media outlets that come and go there is something comforting about a magazine that’s been around since the days when Wyatt Earp was hunting Billy the Kid.  Since then, Harper’s hasn’t really gone anywhere. For only $31 you can snag a two-year subscription to Harper’s with full access to the archives, which means stories from back in the days when the Pinkertons were breaking up union strikes.

21 Responses

  1. Brad Wagner -

    I’d buy a Charles Bukowski Novel-T. With a purple onion graphic on the front (CB’s nickname for his junk), or maybe an empty bottle of cheap red wine.

  2. James Brown -

    Also, as far as Brooklyn writers go, Sarah Langan should have a shirt! She’s a horror writer that’s super under appreciated.

  3. AF -

    Are multiple entries allowed? Disregard if not, but how about Nabokov w/ a butterfly on front? Or, more w/ the Brooklyn theme, Capote on back w/ glasses on front?

  4. Chatsworth Larchmont -

    Eugenides with a picture of his vest as team logo.
    Murakami with a picture of Cutty Sark bottle as team logo.
    Bataille with a picture of a bull as team logo.

  5. Hallie -

    Pictures of all those polydactyl cats’ paws that hang around the Hemingway Museum.

  6. Hallie -

    Dr. Phil with a moth coming out of his zipper. Shakespeare catching it with a butterfly net

  7. Sarah -

    There should be an option for drama lovers – like Sophocles with two little naked, bloody eyeballs at the bottom of the shirt.

  8. Sarah -

    You know everyone would buy the shit out of a Shel Silverstein jersey. I’d buy 2. Garcia Marquez, #100? Is that a reach? I’ll go back to watching cartoons now.


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