Cool cheap(ish) gifts!

--some neat stuff I've bookmarked over the past few months. Not a wishlist--though I'm pretty in love with that chupacabra--just finds I wanted to share. All $30 or under.

Nifty blackboard globe-- about $20 from Muji (overseas order)

Fabric maps--perfect for someone like me who'd rather stuff a map in her back pocket than even attempt to fold it up. $5.95 apiece from Rand McNally. Might also make funky bandanna, tourniquet, etc.

Guitar pick customized with any image--
$11 at the Guthrie Thomas Company

Rubik's cube with 6 images you choose (advertised for "family photos", but I bet they'd let you use 6 images of different Shakespeare sonnets, or the same word in different fonts, or...)--$30 at gifts.com

"Prove You're Not a Robot" Captcha T-Shirt, $22 at crush3r.com

Loch Ness Monster or Chupacabra Magnet--$6 at PearsonMaron at Etsy.


Wild Nights! Stories About the Last Days of...

I haven't read a new Joyce Carol Oates in years, but her forthcoming (April 2008) looks interesting: Wild Nights! Stories About the Last Days of Poe, Dickinson, Twain, James, and Hemingway. From Booklist's starred review: "Protean and intrepid Oates not only pays homage to five American writers by brilliantly emulating their styles, but also…plays fast and loose with biography to imagine their final days or, in the case of Emily Dickinson, resurrection. Oates is by turns mischieviously witty, superbly macabre, and exquisitely sensitive as she parlays bravado literary criticism into shivery stories that undermine iconic figures…Oates envisions [Poe] living on as a lighthouse keeper in the South Pacific…[she] is diabolical in her satirical portrait of…Mark Twain as a pedophile."

Resurrection! Pedophilia! Best of all: she didn't choose Plath.

Some UK libraries to start placing ads in library books...

"Libraries to be 'new channel' for direct marketing" at Guardian Unlimited