Posts Tagged ‘gifts’
December 8, 2011 | by Sadie Stein
We’ve been waiting with bated breath for these limited-edition Paris Review Moleskine notebooks to arrive at White Street, and now they have! It’s the iconic notebook we all know and love, stamped with our original logo and featuring a quote on the frontispiece from Dorothy Parker’s 1956 interview. Can you imagine a better stocking stuffer? Neither can we. And we’d be lying if we said we hadn’t already snatched a few for our own personal use! Get ’em while they’re hot—with a year of The Paris Review, it’s a wonderful gift.
May 24, 2011 | by Sadie Stein
We named him Manticore, after the Robertson Davies novel (he was, after all, Canadian) and generally assumed he would be a whimsical addition to the household. How wrong we were. Manticore, it soon turned out, was a dreary and oppressive presence. Somehow, he became indelibly endowed, in our minds, with a humorless earnestness. It started as a joke but quickly took on a life of its own. We imagined him policing our conversations, interjecting superior opinions, and staring down judgmentally with his glassy eyes. Manticore, we somehow sensed, had strong and implacable opinions on matters like universal healthcare and, possibly, 9/11 conspiracies. He disapproved of levity. He would have been heavily involved in experimental theater, if he hadn’t been a stuffed goose. I grew to hate Manticore.
Initially, I’d thought Manticore would be an integral part of decorating schemes, gamely donning scarves and garlands as the season dictated. When I knew him better, this was out of the question—say what one will about the goose, he had a certain dignity. We might strip him of life, we might force him into unwilling cohabitation, but somehow he would maintain the autonomy of the wild.
When the relationship ended, Manticore took up residence in my former boyfriend’s new bachelor pad, where—since it was a studio—he loomed large. I took a certain petty pleasure in imagining the chilling effect his self-righteousness would exact on any romantic prospects. Or perhaps he’d find another woman more to his liking. Manticore, I sensed, had disapproved of me.
May 6, 2011 | by Lorin Stein
This Mother’s Day, I’d like to give my mom a thoughtful gift as a gesture of my deep love and respect for her. I’d like to give her a book with a strong, wise female character whom she might resemble. Do you have any suggestions?
Yes, I made that mistake once: I gave my mother To the Lighthouse—and told her that Mrs. Ramsay reminded me of her. She didn’t much like the comparison. Mrs. Ramsay is certainly strong and wise, and we want our mothers to be strong and wise, but so often our mothers have ideas of their own. I suggest Lydia Davis’s Collected Stories, which contains not only tributes to strong and wise mothers (including Mrs. D) but also funny and sympathetic stories about mothers under pressure.
My mother has an etiquette question: is it impolite to say when being seated in a restaurant “Away from children please,” given that she has four children (but they are adults and she didn’t take them to restaurants until they had manners). —A friend
This one I checked with my own mother, who managed a restaurant when my sister and I were children, and has pronounced views on restaurant etiquette. Her view: away from children, by all means! I feel the same. It is always depressing to see adult conversation sacrificed to the whims of some little psycho in a high chair, playing fort-da with its knife and fork. I think our mothers were absolutely right to leave us at home (even if, in my case, this has left me with an unslakable and expensive weakness for eating in restaurants, and for eating late, and generally for the company of grownups ... )
Happy Mother’s Day to all!
Have a question for The Paris Review? E-mail us.
December 23, 2010 | by Nicole Rudick
In 1939, Neiman Marcus published their first Christmas book, a catalogue of extravagant, humorous, astonishing, and often jewel-encrusted gifts. Over the Top: 50 Years of Fantasy Gifts from the Neiman Marcus Christmas Book, recently published by Assouline, celebrates the Chinese junks, minisubs, urban windmills, bags of diamonds, sailplanes, animal-shaped desks, Warhol portraits, and Jack Nicklaus custom backyard golf courses that only the top 1 percent could comfortably afford.
The first cover, in 1951, featured artwork by Saul Steinberg, with subsequent covers created by a host of notables, such as Robert Indiana, Ludwig Bemelmans, Al Hirschfeld, Victor Vassarely, Chuck Jones, and Ben Shahn. His & Hers gifts became a frequent staple of outrageous indulgence beginning in 1960 with His & Hers Beechcraft Airplanes ($176,000). Ensuing examples rivaled for the title of most ostentatious: His & Hers Camels (1967; $4,125), His & Hers Hot Air Balloons (1964; $6,850 each), His & Hers Authentic Mummy Cases (1971; $16,000), His & Hers Robots (2003; $400,000), and His & Hers Name Your Own Jewels (1985; $2,000,000).
July 16, 2010 | by Lorin Stein
I'm looking for good books about New York to give as host/hostess gifts. What would you recommend? —Elizabeth P., New York City
There is always E. B. White's little classic Here Is New York. The old edition is the one to buy for its beautiful jacket. Ten years ago I gave a copy to my friend Matteo Pericoli, a native Italian in love with the plain style in American prose. Matteo then turned around and created an even more beautiful book: Manhattan Unfurled. This unique object, which unfolds like an accordion, consists of two thirty-seven-foot pen-and-ink drawings. One portrays the western shore of Manhattan, the other the east. Matteo also made a children's version, See the City, with pencilled annotations, e.g. "This is a power plant"; "United Nations (I drew more than 3000 little lines!)"; "This is a not-so-famous building, but I like it." I don't know which version I prefer, loving them both as I do. If your hosts lives downtown, you may also want to give them Luc Sante's Low Life, with its haunting history of the tenement city New York used to be. Then, if your hosts are unemployed, you can always give them Gotham. Once, as a house-sitter in Greenwich Village, I spent the better part of a week in a gigantic Adirondack chair reading Gotham from cover to cover. I mention the chair because you need a big sturdy comfortable one, or a book stand. There is no question of reading the book in bed.