What were you up to at 6am this morning, love-a-doves? I’ll venture some deductive reasoning (whoa, nelly!) and fan out some sound options for us, here:
Perhaps you were safe and snuggled in your bed-and-nest-place with a tummy still making little gurgle noises. This is a good place to be. Beds are soft and warm and – if you’re very fortunate indeed – full of Other Person/People that make bed-place oh-so-extra soft and warm. You should be happy if this was you at 6am. You do life right.
Perhaps this: Your shoes are weightless. You are a sprite. You are a gazelle. A wind of purpose. Anything with the knees that bend and the soul that shoots into the air above the sidewalk, the asphalt, the blackened spots of gum. Your majestic breath steaming like a war horse in the ice night of the November dark. You NEED that effing Nespresso machine, fool.
Simplified: You went shopping. Fine.
I was doing neither – in case you want to know because I’m so special. I was dancing in my loft to Flo Rida. This is a true account. I’m just cool.
No matter how you broke the dawn this the monikered slash of day known in the First World as “Black Friday”, the Holiday shopping season is officially fresh out in the field and ready for whatever monetary arrows you have to pierce its quivering deer hide of festive flesh. That was an overwrought hunting metaphor for shopping.
So what’s a big spender like you gonna do with a pocket fulla clang and a whole lotta love to give? You already know the drill, my friend – cool kids shop at Carmichael’s! Grab your shades (because that’s important for maximum effect. Sunglasses are a product I endorse) and step out with both your street cred and your credit cards; the Holiday Catalogue from Carmichael’s Bookstore has got your covered for the literary lovers on your list. You should also be listening to Flo Rida. I will endorse this, too.
FOR THE WEE ONE: Unbored by Elizabeth Larson and Joshua Glenn $25
Description: Unbored is the guide and activity book every modern kid needs. Vibrantly designed, lavishly illustrated, brilliantly walking the linebetween cool and constructive, it’s crammed with activities that are not only fun and doable but also designed to get kids engaged with the wider world. With contributions from a diverse crowd of experts, the book provides kids (and parents) with information to round out their worldview and inspire them to learn more. Unbored is exciting to read, easy to use, and appealing to young and old, girl and boy. Parents will find it user-friendly, kids will just think it’s awesome
FOR THE NERD: The Joy of X: A Guided Tour of Math, From One to Infinity by Steven Strogatz $27
Description: A world-class mathematician and regular contributor to the New York Times hosts a delightful tour of the greatest ideas of math, revealing how they connect to literature, philosophy, law, medicine, art, business, even pop culture, in ways we never imagined. Showing why he has won awards as a professor at Cornell and garnered extensive praise for his articles about math for the New York Times, Strogatz presumes of his readers only curiosity and common sense. And he rewards them with clear, ingenious, and often funny explanations of the most vital and exciting principles of his discipline.
FOR THE FOODIE: 101 Classic Cookbooks by Fales Library $50
Description: This hefty 688-page book is a beautiful and utiltarian work, and deserves a place on every cook’s shelf. A group of known leaders in the food world (people like Alice Waters, Michael Pollan, and Betty Fussell) teamed up with the Fales Library at New York University to select the 101 most important cookbooks of the 20th century. They have scoured these classics and selected 501 recipes to highlight. There are examples from a wide range of favorites— from The Alice B. Toklas Cookbook to Chez Panisse Vegetables, from The Cuisines of Mexico to The Tassahara Bread Book to The Moosewood Cookbook, it’s all here.
FOR THE HIPSTER: Portlandia: A Guide For Visitors by Fred Armisen and Carrie Brownstein $16.99
Description: Thinking of visiting Portlandia? Discover all that this magical, dreamy city has to offer with Portlandia: A Guide for Visitors. Inside you’ll find: a comprehensive guide to all restaurants and food carts, including extensive use of symbols to signify Vegan, Freegan, Sea-gan, Wheelchair-Accessible, Skateboard-Accessible, Segway-Accessible, Clothing Optional, Polyamorous, LGBTQ, Dog-Friendly (No cats), Cat-Friendly (No dogs or mice), Mouse-Friendly (No cats or elephants), For Dogs (only), Regionally-Sourced Food, Regionally-Sourced Waitstaff, and House-Sourced Food (Born/dies on plate). Need we say more to describe the weird hipness of Portlandia?
FOR THE UN-HIPSTER (you know who you are): The Global Model Village by Slinkachu $17.95
Description: There’s no real way to describe what the artist Slinkachu does, but take a look at any of his books and you will see that what he does is both amazing and amusing. His “Little People Project,” abandoning tiny model people throughout the world, is an international phenomenon— photographs of miniature scenes, that reflect the larger versions of the same scene. These little dramas of hope and tragedy, loneliness and humor are not only strangely affecting, but they are also very, very cool.
FOR EVERYONE WHO WAS EVER BORN EVER: Joseph Anton: A Memoir by Salman Rushdie (!) $30
Description: Imagine a movie where a famous writer must go into hiding because he has a bounty put on his head by a nutty religious cleric. Well, for Salman Rushdie, an internationally acclaimed novelist, this was his life beginning February 14, 1989, when he was “sentenced to death” by the Ayatollah Khomeini. How does one hide, what does one do, who do you trust, how do the days pass when you are subject to a death sentence? It’s the stuff of fiction, but in Joseph Anton (the name he assumed in hiding), Salman Rushdie gives us a true story of living a life of fear and paranoia that reads like fiction, but is terribly true.
FOR ME (because I already own Joseph Anton): Etymologicon by Mark Forsyth $16
Description: Inky Fool blogger Forsyth debuts with a breezy, amusing stroll through the uncommon histories of some common English words. The British author settled on a clever device to arrange his material—the end of each entry provides a link to the beginning of the next. Forsyth is interested (obsessed?) with words—how they began and how they’ve journeyed to where they now are. He shows us the connection between sausage and Botox, how an expression like point-blank wandered into everyday usage from archery, that poppycock has a scatological history, that Thomas Crapper manufactured a popular brand of toilet, and how Thomas Edison was the first to use bug as a term for something causing a device to malfunction.
So. There’s a rich and thick and delicious slice of my personal picks from Carmichaels’ personal picks to top off whatever food hangover you are burning in whatever ways best suit your fancy. That was a good sentence for reading.
Check out the full catalogue  and check off names on your list with local and literary flair. Small Business Saturday is tomorrow (November 24th) don’t ya know, so point your kicks the heck outta Walmart (you shouldn’t be in there, anyway. Gross.), and let Carmichael’s Bookstore manage your Christmas cool. Don’t forget to pick the right groovin' jams, too, for the ride. Jams are important.
Carmichael’s Bookstore has two area locations: 1295 Bardstown Road and 2720 Frankfort Avenue.
Image: Courtesy of Carmichael’s Bookstore website www.carmichaelsbookstore.com