The Daily

Posts Tagged ‘gifts’

Enter Caption Here

December 8, 2015 | by

Here at the Review, we don’t run a “gift guide,” as such—though we do have our special holiday offers. Even so, I’m here to solve all your holiday present questions. I’m out of ideas! You say. What do I do? Where do I go? How do I live? All these questions have a single answer.

The answer is this image of a dog in a fez and lounging pajamas, reading a newspaper. Read More »

Making Cameos

December 7, 2015 | by

Not a good gift.

There was this shop in the neighborhood where I’d sometimes go. It was a good spot to find inexpensive gifts: small vases, lacquered boxes, a decorative dish where you could leave your spare change—noncommittal things just north of impersonal. I’d have gone there more, but for the saleslady.

She was sour. I mean, really puckered—the sort of acerbic person whose life needs an injection of sunshine from a Rebecca of Sunnybrook Farm or an Anne of Green Gables or a Pollyanna. The requisite plucky orphan never seems to have come into her life. The first time I visited her shop, there were some other customers there. “Can I buy these individually?” one asked her. 

“No, just as a set,” she said curtly. After the shoppers left, she turned to me. “Can you believe what assholes people are?” she demanded balefully. “This is what I deal with all day.” Read More »

Points of Sale

November 30, 2015 | by

Notes on shopping and giving.

Christo, Red Store Front (Project), collage, 1965, 40" x 48" x 2”, pencil, charcoal, enamel paint, wax crayon, wood, fabric, Plexiglas, and electric light. Image courtesy Craig F. Starr Gallery

I used to get coffee at Pret a Manger almost every morning. It’s a noisy and bustling shop in Union Square, the sort of high-impact environment that teaches people how to shout at one another without sounding unfriendly. (“No, I said I would not like cream cheese!” he yelled at the cashier, smiling with his eyes.) The staff there has been rigorously trained, and no matter how large the crowds are, you can expect to get in and out in just a few minutes. Obviously this is because you’re gently shepherded through the stages of a scripted consumer experience, with the store’s layout, color scheme, music, temperature, and copywriting all doing their part to vectorize you. Later I would learn that Pret, which has more than 350 locations worldwide, holds its employees to stringent standards of affective labor, demanding that they touch one another frequently and display signs of authentic happiness, but I was only intermittently aware of this when I visited regularly. Usually I emerged (my coffee cup snug in its cardboard sleeve, to keep my hand from burning) with the prideful sense that I’d mastered the form of the transaction, with its nested sets of thank yous and predetermined courtesies. I knew the questions the cashier would ask, always with a brittle rictus of corporate-mandate cheer, and I knew the exact order of the questions, and how to answer them. The only bumpiness came at the end of the script, after I’d declined a receipt and the cashier had said, “Thank you, have a great day.” For a while, I responded, “Thanks—you, too,” and the transaction ended there. But I discovered that a slight tweak to this response could advance the dialogue to a third, hidden stage. If I said “You, too—thanks,” the cashier would say, “You’re welcome. Come see us again.”

I tried for several months to find some rejoinder to this, something to elicit some unscripted reaction. “Count on it!” Or, “Don’t mind if I do!” Or, “You know I will, you see me here every morning, five days a week!” Even my best efforts got me nothing but canned laughter (very lifelike canned laughter, it must be said) or another perfunctory exchange of thank-yous. But I was after a human moment. I wanted to parry one rote cordiality against another until the cashier, at last, gave in and acknowledged the ruse. “Look at us,” he’d whisper, “dragooned day after day into this hollow pas de deux of late capitalism.” Then we’d go rob a bank together. Read More »

Holiday Sale: Gift Subscriptions Get a Free Copy of The Unprofessionals

November 27, 2015 | by

They were made for each other.

Starting today, if you give your favorite reader a subscription to The Paris Review, we’ll include a free copy of our new anthologyThe Unprofessionals: New American Writing from The Paris Review—a $16 value.

Elle calls The Unprofessionals “a cri de coeur against literary credentialism, mixing short stories, essays, and poems by established writers such as Zadie Smith, Brenda Shaughnessy, and John Jeremiah Sullivan with work by lesser-known scribes ranging from their midtwenties to midforties.” The Atlantic calls it “a dispatch from the front lines of literature.” We call it the best stocking stuffer of 2015.

Gift subscriptions for a year of The Paris Review—the best in fiction, poetry, essays, and art—are only $40. Buy yours before December 10 to guarantee arrival before Christmas! (And don’t be afraid to get one for yourself.)

One Week Left to Order Our Commencement Gift Box

June 22, 2015 | by

 GRadbox

It’s mid-June. Summer is in full swing. All the young people in your life have graduated; they’re preparing to embark on new journeys, to begin new lives, and by now they’ve received lavish, thoughtful presents from everyone in the family. But not you. Every day, they’re checking the mail, anxiously awaiting your gift. Where is your gift?

Maybe you’ve been holding out for something perfect, something that isn’t cash, or booze, or an ill-fitting hand-me-down wool blazer the mere sight of which causes itching. The best gifts are practical and inspirational. That’s why we’ve put together The Paris Review Commencement Gift Box. It includes a one-year subscription, a limited-edition Paris Review tote, and a trusty no. 2 Paris Review pencil. It also features two of the most inspiring issues from our archive—156 and 158—in which Hunter S. ThompsonLorrie MooreRick MoodyGeorge Saunders, and Dave Eggers discuss graduation, writing, and life beyond the classroom.

The boxes are available for only seven more days, through June 30. They make a great present for aspiring writers, who should, in the words of William Kennedy, “read the entire canon of literature that precedes them, back to the Greeks, up to the current issue of The Paris Review.” You’ll find all the details here—order now.

Available Now: The Paris Review Commencement Gift Box

May 5, 2015 | by

“There happen to be whole large parts of adult American life,” David Foster Wallace said, “that nobody talks about in commencement speeches”—but too many graduation gifts hint at these parts. Real Simple, for instance, recommends a leather mousepad (succumb to carpal tunnel syndrome in style!); Esquire recommends booze.

The best gifts are practical and inspirational. That’s why we’ve put together The Paris Review Commencement Gift Box, including a one-year subscription, a limited-edition Paris Review tote, and a trusty no. 2 Paris Review pencil. It also features two of the most inspiring issues from our archive—156 and 158—in which Hunter S. ThompsonLorrie MooreRick MoodyGeorge Saunders, and Dave Eggers discuss graduation, writing, and life beyond the classroom.

The boxes are available from now through the end of June. They make a great present for aspiring writers, who should, in the words of William Kennedy, “read the entire canon of literature that precedes them, back to the Greeks, up to the current issue of The Paris Review.” You’ll find all the details here—order now.