Winter Guide: Holiday Gift Books for Any Kind of Troublesome Friend

Frenemies? Self-important hipsters? No literary problem.

For Black Culture Buffs
The Anthology of Rap, edited by Adam Bradley and Andrew DuBois, will lay to rest for your giftee one of hip-hop’s most enduring questions—whatthehelltheysayin’? It consists of almost 900 pages of rap lyrics, plus essays by Common, Henry Louis Gates Jr., and Chuck D. This will re-energize that collection fa shizzure. If your person is more likely to want to know where the rappers’ parents came from, there’s Isabel Wilkerson’s The Warmth of Other Suns, a distillation of stories from the Great Migration down to three true narratives.

For Frenemies
You need a book that says both “I love you” and “I underestimate the crap out of you.” Perhaps no book will say, “You’ve heard of the Big Bang, right?” quite like Bill Bryson’s revamped Special Illustrated Edition (ooh, pictures!) of A Short History of Nearly Everything, in which bestselling middlebrower Bryson middlebrows the entire universe.

For Co-Workers You’d Like to Fuck After the Christmas Party
It’s a no-brainer: Giving Churchill Defiant: Fighting On: 1945–1955 by Barbara Leaming as a gift will definitely clue in your Secret Santa sex object as to what an ordeal it has become for you to repress your lust, though the fractured fables of David Sedaris’s Squirrel Seeks Chipmunk might promise a better time in the sack. What the heck, make it utterly obvious with Donald W. Pfaff’s scientific rhapsody of gender, Man and Woman: An Inside Story—the holidays can get pretty lonely.

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