From a perfectly nice person doing a holiday feature at a newspaper: “I’m asking local authors to suggest a good book or two for holiday giving. If you’re willing to participate, I’d need the title(s) and a line or two about why you think the book’s a worthy holiday gift. And, of course, I’ll mention that /One Hundred Apocalypses and Other Apocalypses/ would make a lovely gift as well.”
Of course, this immediately creeps me out, yet I want everyone in the universe to give one another apocalypses for the holidays. So here is what I sent in response– trying really hard to balance being myself with participating in good spirit:
I recommend beautiful new edition of Heart of Darkness illustrated by Matt Kish from Tin House. Why this is a good gift: 1. Holidays are all about packages. I think when you are buying something as personal as a book for someone, it should at least look stunning in the home, and a person should not have to read it to get pleasure from it. 2. But really, truly, this thing is incredibly beautiful. The illustrations manage to be playful and colorful without diminishing anything about darkness. 3. If your person DOES read it — or reads it for the first time since high school– or gets to read this edition for an assignment in high school if they still let you read it in high school– you know it’s gonna be an extraordinary experience you have initiated. It might push some PC buttons– but it’s important for people to have those buttons pushed and really think. Even or especially in relation to holidays. 4. The horror. For many people holidays are really hard. They are hard in big ways and small ways. This is what books are for. They are a place to go with the complexities of being alive. They are for recognition and perspective.