Fiction: 'Mephisto the Unruly' by George Sandison
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Friday Fifteen: 15 Great and Bookish Gifts for the Holidays

Crime WritersTis the season! What follows are fifteen bookish things that make lovely gifts. Books that are more than their (very good) text, but are also pleasing to the eye, charming on the shelf, and even have a wee bit of distinction about them. A signature, a slipcase - maybe even a bookplate or two: all help make excellent books into extraordinary presents.

(And, also, as always - we're not paid, we're not prompted and we don't take affiliate links, etc. etc. These recommendations are from the heart, not the wallet.)


For lovers of crime and the classics, Sarah Weinman has carefully edited the spectacular Women Crime Writers: Eight Suspense Novels of the 1940s and 1950s. This is an absolutely gorgeous boxed set from the Library of America, containing recognisable writers such as Patricia Highsmith and also lost (brilliant) authors such as Margaret Millar. 

Of course, few writers are more recognisable than Stephen King. And with Joyland, he hit a return to form - a coming of age story / murder mystery - and a terrific crowd-pleaser. Joyland (Illustrated Edition) is even more impressive. Not only a good read in its own right, this illustrated hardcover edition has lovely original art by Robert McGinnis, Glen Orbik and others. Also suspiciously cheap at £11 on the FP website. Perfect for the King lover in all of us.

Speaking of Robert McGinnis, the limited edition of The Art of Robert McGinnis is a gorgeous volume, complete with slipcase and signed print. Not cheap, but the print alone is worth the price - much less this stunning volume from one of the greatest 'pulp' artists of all time. If you buy it through the Titan site, use the checkout code XMAS2015 before 30 November to get 35% off.

Get CarterThis Get Carter print by legendary comics artist Darwyn Cooke (New Frontier!) is limited to 100 copies, and a nice gift for your film-loving friend.

Tillie Walden's The End of Summer is a beautiful, gothic stand-alone graphic novel - an ethereal and surreal fantasy, perfect for fans of Gormenghast, Gene Wolfe and Kirsty Logan. The limited, signed bookplated edition is extra-special.

On a similar note, Jillian Tamaki's SuperMutant Magic Academy is for your super-cool friend who secretly (or not so secretly) loves fanfiction or just misses Calvin and Hobbes. A collection of webcomic strips, it is delightfully edgy and snarky, but has a lot of heart to it. Again, go bookplate.

Still not geeky (or gothy) enough? How about Dave McKean's photography collection based on the occult - The Particle Tarot: The Minor Arcana? Forbidden Planet have signed copies, making it especially perfect for the cat-loving, Sandman-missing friend in your life.

In a completely different sort of daring, why not give Adrian Tomine's glorious Killing & Dying to your literary friend? The one that secretly wanted a McSweeney's subscription and talks way too much about David Foster Wallace? Killing & Dying is about as hard-hitting as 'kichen-sink' literature ever gets, it just happens to be a graphic novel. And, of course, there's a signed, bookplated edition for bonus specialness.

OlympicsFor sports fans, the V&A's A Century of Olympics Posters is a stunning collection of some of the world's very best design. Not much else to say, except, ... is it just me or have they gotten worse with time?

For the family member who is a 'big reader' but only really reads bestsellers and is still harping on about The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo... grab them one of the limited/numbered editions of The Girl in the Spider's Web, and watch it become the start of their new book collection.

For that other family member, the who only reads literary fiction - the annoying aunt or uncle that not-so-secretly judges you for only reading SF/F? Grab them a signed copy of Slade House and then, after they love it, explain that Mitchell is a huge nerd. Then pull them rest of the way into genre fiction so they become one of us. #geeks4eva

There's always someone in your life that could use a signed Margaret Atwood - The Heart Goes Last. Or perhaps the heart goes not at all, if you choose to keep the book for yourself instead.

Rest of UsWaterstones have an exclusive edition of Patrick Ness's The Rest of Us Just Live Here. Signed, limited, with a different cover from the 'ordinary' (psst - still extraordinary) hardcover, this is a lovely gift for fans of YA, Buffy, or books that punch you in your delicate feelz. A perfect balance of character-focused fantasy, you can give this to geeks and non-geeks without a worry.

The Second Book of Nicolette Giganti. A lost 17th century tome of fencing instruction. Beautifully restored and reprinted, at that. An excellent present for your friends that are into historical re-enactment, secretly writing their own fantasy masterpieces or just want a coffee table book that's extremely eye-catching.

And for the book lover that has everything (except, probably, space?) - why not give them the best bookshelf ever? The London Transport Museum is selling the luggage racks from the old Metropolitan line cars. They're sturdy, weirdly attractive, and achieve the infinitely worthwhile goal of getting books off the floor.

Spot any other literary rarities that'd make a nice gift? Let us know in the comments!