English buffs are a breed apart from just plain readers. True lovers of language relish wordplay. They’ve alienated all but the most accomplished Scrabble players from their circle of friends. Finding a typo in a bestseller (misspelled words in newspapers constitute child’s play for these grammar goons) leaves them feeling both superior and a little lost … alone in a world that cares less and less about whether there’s a “there there” versus a “their they’re.”
To celebrate English buffs’ passion for the written word—and show you forgive them for playing QUIZ on a triple—here are a few holiday gift ideas:
- Trivial Pursuit: Book Lover’s Edition. No more grappling with “Sports and Leisure” stats. This special edition is all about what the literati love: “Children’s,” “Classics,” “Authors” … you get the idea. If you buy for yourself, consider keeping a box of TP cards on your coffee table as a conversation starter; $77 (www.amazon.com).
- Elements of Style Illustrated Edition. A slick re-do of Strunk and White’s classic, with robust illustrations by Maira Kalman, who turns concepts such as “sentence fragments” into color-punched visuals. Updated text complements the updated look; $17 (hardcover, www.amazon.com).
- Arguably. A vast collection of essays (exercises in pure wit) by the late Christopher Hitchens, the literary world’s favorite intellectual curmudgeon. Described by one reviewer as “a brilliant intro for new fans and a ‘best of’’ for old”; $20 (hardcover, www.amazon.com).
- Chicago Manual of Style Minibook. Download a “decorative minibook” of the 16th edition of the Chicago Manual of Style and use it as a gift tag for something fabulous (reservation to a writers retreat?). Some assembly required (easier if your hands are tiny). Or use it as CM intended, as an ornament; free (www.chicagoreader.com).
- “I’m So Adjective” Hoodie. Marketed as outerwear one might choose to ‘dress to impress at the mall’ (!) I see this as playing better at a public library or independent bookstore … but either way, it’s clever; $45 (www.cafepress.com).
- Powell’s Oregon Mug. Serious wordsmiths will know about this famous bookstore in Portland, Oregon, or they’ll thank you for making the introduction. The graphic is a clever twist on I ♥ NY. Embellish with coffee beans and a Powell’s gift card; $6 (www.powells.com).
- Trip to Costa Rica. Treat tu amigo to a two-week language immersion program that will leave them feeling linguistically pumped up, even as they wind down. Any tropical and remote locale will do. Invite yourself to go along to serve as muse! $Priceless