Ready or not, the gift-giving season is upon us! Whether you celebrate Sinterklaas, Christmas, Kwanzaa, Hanukkah or any other opportunity to give presents during the dark days of the winter solstice, we’ve got ideas aplenty. As in previous years, the ABC Staff has looked through their sections and hand-picked various choice literary jewels for your gift-giving pleasure.
We will present these titles in a series of blog posts and recommendation lists throughout the coming month. We hope you will find some inspiration in them, but please remember that these titles only represent a tiny fraction of the books on offer in our stores. Be sure to stop by to see what else there is in the area of your interest!
Since such a significant percentage of the ABC Staff falls into the ‘Geek’ category, it’s no surprise this post is filled to bursting with possible presents. We’ve put together some suggestions from the Science & Math sections, Humor, Comics & Graphic Novels, Manga and – of course – Science Fiction & Fantasy.
Science & Mathematics
Ebook available for The Simpsons and Their Mathematical Secrets.
“Can’t get enough of Neil Patrick Harris? Already own a copy of The Bro Code and The Playbook? This book also has the most hilarious book trailer for an autobiography ever! I just love this guy…” - ABC’s Marketing Director Karin on Choose Your Own Autobiography.
“When you have a 13-year old teenage daughter you have to pay attention to what she is doing online and this guy has over 3 million followers on YouTube and is just hilarious…. With this book (and app) he challenges you to complete your book of pointlessness and do virtually nothing with pride. Fully illustrated and packed with a host of games, activities and pranks, this book might also work for boys who don’t want to be seen with one of Keri Smith’s books.” – Karin on The Pointless Book.
Graphic Novels / Comics
If you love comics and graphic novels, be sure to read journalist Michael Minneboo’s regular book reviews on this blog!
“Corrina Park is stuck in the same job for the past five years since she got out of college, her dreams and aspirations of becoming a writer lost in the daily grind. She shoplifts magazines out of her local supermarket to break the dullness of her life. A story about life’s questions on life, happiness and fulfillment told at an easy pace.” - ABC Amsterdam’s Comics and Graphic Novels buyer Jitse on Shoplifter.
“The epic story of Wagner’s The Ring of the Nibelung was written and drawn by Eisner award winner P. Craig Russell, but was unavailable for years. Now at last the complete story is published in one beautiful hardcover collection. Giants plot against gods, while mortal humans are torn between their love for each other and their love for gold. Heroes are ruined, kings fall, lovers die. A wonderful gift for those who love epic fantasy and mythology.” - Jitse on The Ring of the Nibelung.
“The X-Men from the past have been taken to the now by time travel to see what they will become. But they don’t want to return so the X-Men from the future travel back in time to save them from making a terrible mistake and endangering the future earth. All the while the mutants of earth are attacked by giant sentinels that are out to destroy as many of them as possible, sent out by an unknown menace. A great story with lots of action, time travel and awesome illustrations. This is X-Men at their best.” - Jitse on X-Men: Battle of the Atom.
“Hana falls in love with a young interloper she encounters in her college class, only to find out her lover is part wolf. As their relationship blooms they expect their first child, but family bliss is soon destroyed when her lover is tragically taken from Hana. Now she must face life as a single mother with two children that are both man and beast. An endearing fantasy story about love and life’s tough choices.” - ABC Amsterdam’s Manga buyer Jitse, also on Wolf Children: AME & Yuki.
“The newest box set in this ever-popular series.” – Ester on Pokemon Adventures Ruby & Sapphire Box Set.
“The first book of this year’s hit series!” - Ester on Attack on Titan 1.
“Soma Yukihira is hell-bent on one day surpassing his father’s culinary skills and take over the small family restaurant in the less savory end of town. Then one day his father decides to close the restaurant and Soma enrolls in a classy culinary school with a 10% graduation rate. Can he cut it with his culinary skills, and can he convince the beautiful Erina Nakiri that he belongs there at all? An entertaining and saucy story about challengers and cooking, sure to whet your appetite for more.” - Jitse on Food Wars! 1.
“William Twining is a young aristocrat in 19th century England. His family is bankrupt and when looking for something to sell in his family’s basement he accidentally summons the demon Dantalion, a Grand Duke of Hell, who informs him that he is chosen to be the ‘Elector’, destined to choose the next ruler of Hell. As a scientific realist, William does not believe in such superstition, even as more powerful demons come to plea for his favours. Soon he finds himself at the center of a war between Hell and Heaven as he discovers the mysterious past. A great read for those who love mysteries, intrigue and the supernatural.” - Jitse on Devils and Realist 1.
Science Fiction & Fantasy
“This is the best zombie movie I’ve ever read. Carey brings a nice twist to the by now pretty exhausted zombie-genre. This would be a fantastic last hurrah. A great gift for fans of The Walking Dead and The Last of Us.” - ABC The Hague’s Science Fiction & Fantasy buyer JeroenW on The Girl with All the Gifts.
“Patrick Rothfuss fans have it rough; it’s been three years since the release of The Wise Man’s Fear, and there’s still no word on when the third part of the Kingkiller Chronicles will be out. Well, this holiday season will at least see the publication of a small amount of prose which managed to escape Rothfuss’s brain (it is said he sieves his stories from the air using his beard, like a blue whale extracting krill from sea-water). It’s only 176 pages, but that’s 176 pages more than doodley-squat. It goes without saying that this is the perfect gift for Rothfuss fans.” – JeroenW on The Slow Regard of Silent Things.
“After four years we finally get another William Gibson novel – and it looks like it might be a good one. Gibson seems to have set his sights on online gaming and Global Warming, and it remains to be seen what he’ll make of these modern blights, since at the time of writing this, it hasn’t been released yet, but I’ll find out along with you because The Peripheral will be my gift to myself this Christmas.” - JeroenW on The Peripheral.
“Did you hear that sound? That’s Kameron Hurley raising the bar for epic fantasy. Hurley takes traditional fantasy tropes and transforms them with a deft hand into something astonishing new. Bored with the standard kingdom threatened by ancient evil? Try genocidal invasion on the multiverse scale. Plus giant carnivorous plants.” - ABC Amsterdam’s Science Fiction & Fantasy buyer Tiemen on The Mirror Empire.
“It doesn’t matter which genre Scalzi writes in, the result is always an entertaining and witty novel. This time the story is set in the near future in which a global disease has resulted in large parts of the population being locked in their own bodies. With no cure available millions of people use mind controlled robots to interact with the outside world. And this is all the background of a complicated murder mystery in which it soon turns out to be that robots are not the only things that can be controlled from afar.” – Tiemen on Lock In.
“The ultimate feel good book of 2014. The Goblin Emperor is a well-crafted court intrigue fantasy with a refreshingly honest and decent protagonist. It’s a smart novel about politics, responsibility and doing the right thing. Ever wondered what it would be like if you are suddenly thrust into the role of emperor? Then The Goblin Emperor is the book for you.” - Tiemen on The Goblin Emperor.
“This is a funny story and a sad story. This is a complicated novel about empire and culture, but also a straightforward whodunnit murder mystery. This is epic fantasy, but also an almost literary story about the past, present and future. But above all, this is a story about a giant secretary named Sigrud, who is just the coolest character since Tyrion the Imp.” - Tiemen on City of Stairs.
“This is portal fantasy with a very clever twist. Trust me, while reading this book you are going to be aware how many times you blink with your eyes at any moment. It’s an intelligent story which weaves complex issues like disability, class issues and power dynamics into a thrilling plot.” - Tiemen on Otherbound.
“Octavia Butler is one of the great names of science-fiction, but until recently I had never read anything by her. Having now read Lilith’s Brood I can say that I should have read her sooner. The story, which spans over three books, is a sad but beautiful tale about the human condition viewed from an alien perspective. It is a sensual novel about hope and despair and the painful but vibrant effort of trying to rebuild after humanity has almost destroyed itself.” – Tiemen on Lilith’s Brood.