Boyfriends seem to have an endless appetite for comic book heroes. Why not give them The Dark Knight or Hancock on DVD?
Culinary students with a minor in philosophy will revel in Food & Philosophy. Stuffed full of essays from a diverse group of writers, this anthology poses such questions as, “When will we start eating as if our world depends on it?”
D stands for Dysfunctional families. Miriam Toew’s The Flying Troutmans deftly maneuvers between comedy and drama. A tale of a mother coming apart at the seams and a sister fumbling to keep the family together, the novel swims with memorable, quirky characters.
E is for Everyone with Kenny Shopsin’s recent food and life manifesto, Eat Me. Bursting with Shopsin’s recipes, grouchy philosophy and unique thoughts on life – Eat Me may be my favorite book of the year.
Film majors and cinema lovers will delight in David Thomson’s Have You Seen…? This critic’s pithy take on 1,000 movies has the ability to alternately inspire and enrage fellow lovers of celluloid.
G is for Girlfriends. The musically inclined will find Jenny Lewis’ Acid Tongue irresistible.
H is for History students sick of dates and wars. Get ready to be charmed by Sarah Vowell’s insouciantly defiant look at early America in The Wordy Shipmates.
I is for Michael Greenberg’s Intelligent look at his teenage daughter’s struggle with mental illness in the touching Hurry Down Sunshine.
Just about anyone these days would love a gas card with 20 bucks on it.
Grandparents, Knackered by technology will love Txtng: The Gr8 Db8 by David Crystal to help them get up to speed.
L is for Law students. Jeffrey Toobin’s exploration of the Supreme Court, The Nine, provides ample insight into the history of the institution and considerable behind the scenes drama.
Moms of all stripes will enjoy Eat, Memory. A collection of New York Times essays including recipes and reminiscences that sates both body and soul. A mix of writers both culinary and literary – Tom Perrotta, Julia Child and Ann Patchett – provide stories that avoid sentiment.
Nostalgia for the ’90s can be remedied with the DVD collection of Beverly Hills 90210: The Sixth Season. The old “90210” also proves an appropriate gift for those enjoying the new version.
O is for Ornithologists. The beautiful and eclectic The Bedside Book of Birds, by Graeme Gibson provides facts, anecdotes, poems and thoughts on birds and their connection to humans.
P is for Psych majors. In his memoir, Blue Genes, Christopher Lukas delves into a family legacy of suicide and bipolar illness – a road map to survivor guilt and how to navigate it.
Q stands for the Quagmire Middle Eastern Studies majors have waded in. Come Back to Afghanistan, by Said Hyder Akbar, offers a more personal view of the war. Seventeen-year-old Akbar, an American-Afghan, recounts his fascinating return to a country he does not even remember.
Another Really great gift for just about anyone: an In-N-Out Burger gift card.
Sisters of style will delight in a new tome by Isaac Mizrahi, How to Have Style. Mizrahi presents real women and provides them with options on how to improve and enhance their overall look.
Sometimes, a Trashy gift can be the most enjoyable. Britney, Beyoncé and a couple of American Idols named David all have new CDs.
U is for unique. Why not make something yourself? Ritual Adornments (2708 Main St., Santa Monica), a fantastic bead store, carries all the fixins to inspire your inner artisan.
Very special friends will treasure This American Life’s Holiday Stories. A package of three CDs come with various efforts like David Sedaris’ “Santaland Diaries” and David Rakoff’s “Christmas Freud.”
While decadence may be a thing of Christmas past, you can still splurge on the DVD version of a trip to Paris with Paris, Je T’aime. This love letter to the City of Light offers a compilation of shorts from a diverse group of directors that will transport even the scrooge-iest of revelers.
X stands for Xtra special sci-fi lovers who will never forget the gift of Lost – The Complete Fourth Season.
Y is for siblings Young enough to idyll in the world of The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants 2.
Zealous fanatics of musicals and ABBA will swoon over Mamma Mia! the two-disc special edition.