A&E » Arts

The 12 books of Christmas


Retail stores are decking the halls, restaurants are booking parties, and neighbours are balanced precariously on ladders, adorning their homes with strings of lights. With the holiday season right around the corner, it’s time for savvy shoppers to start compiling that all-important shopping list, and instead of resorting to the boring old scarf or gift certificate for your hard-to-buy-for brother or dad, why not offer up a literary gift: a book. We’ve compiled a list of 12 good reads for 12 different people on your shopping list, making two suggestions each week: husbands, wives, crazy uncles and aunts, teenage boys and girls, tiny tots, the boss, your American (pro-Obama) friend, the foodie, the family nature nut and local political junkie. Happy reading!


For the boss – How to Lose Friends and Alienate People, By Toby Young

As a gift for your boss, How to Lose Friends and Alienate People works best simply by leaving it on your superior’s desk.

The book itself isn’t necessarily a kick in your boss’s stomach, but it chronicles all the ways one can do that if they wish to assume an underling’s position at a major New York magazine.

The book is a memoir by Toby Young, a British journalist with the dubious distinction of having been fired by the Times of London, the Guardian, the Independent and Vanity Fair. Besides these publications he was also the editor of the Modern Review, a London magazine published every other month whose motto was “low culture for highbrows.”

Articles included near-academic treatments of philistine culture such as the Porky’s films and the collected works of Stephen King.

Beyond his experience as an editor, Young is quite possibly the most obnoxious man who ever hit the industry. But he at least deserves credit for being honest about it.

How to Lose Friends and Alienate People picks up as Young has been commissioned as a contributing editor to Vanity Fair, one of North America’s top cultural publications. There he finds himself trying to fit into the “hoighty-toighty” atmosphere of Conde Nast, a publishing company that also owns Vogue, Glamour and GQ.

Before coming to America he thinks his English accent will take him a long way with his female co-workers and those he meets in NY’s exclusive nightclubs. It isn’t long before he figures out that it takes more than an accent — he’s also lacking in money, a Greenwich Village home and abs you could grate cheese on.