Writers are readers first, so I’m always looking for awesome gifts (for myself). This year, I thought I’d share some of my finds with you. Click on the thumbnails to see a full-size picture; click the title to go buy these items.

Find a unique, special gift for the reader in your life. Just in time for the holidays! Click To Tweet

Who doesn’t love Alice’s story? It’s a wacky, weird, metaphor-laced journey of self-discovery for us all. For me, it says, “Embrace your own brand of crazy.” I love that.

I can’t even say how much I love these earrings. You must click the link to see them in full-size glory. Sherlock is hot (thank you, Benedict Cumberbatch) and a fun read.

In the Dewey decimal system, that stands for fairy tales. It’s sort of an homage to those dark and twisty stories we loved as kids as well as libraries in general. I really want this one, if my husband happens to be reading this.

This is another one I hope my husband is looking at. As both a reader and writer, I can appreciate these. They say, “I love stories!” loud and clear.

This is from one of my favorite books and one we should all be proud to wear. “Obstinate headstrong girl.” Yep, that’s me. And you.

I hope you’ve enjoyed this little virtual shopping trip and maybe found something for you or the reader in your life.

 

I love my Google Reader.  I can read it anywhere, I can add feeds from anywhere, and I can organize it easily.  But, when I got my iPhone, I wanted to be able to read my fave feeds on my phone.  I didn’t want to find a new reader; I had everything set up exactly the way I wanted it in Google. (I’m somewhat of an organization freak).

First I found Google Reader on Safari, on the phone, and saved the page for easy access.  I am not a fan of the way Safari handled my feeds.  It was too stiff, not intuitive at all, and left me no ability to really manage and move through my feeds.  I looked for an app from Google and was (sort of) surprised to find none existed.  Then I realized that as a major player in the Android movement, that actually made some proprietary sort of sense.

So, I looked in the app store.  Like an idiot, I jumped to some conclusions, and purchased the first one I found.  For 99 cents, this app… opened it in Safari.  I was NOT a happy camper.

Then I found one for free (because I certainly wasn’t paying again).  Actually, I downloaded about five free apps for Google Reader and iReadG Free won out as my favorite.

I like that my folders and everything that makes Google good is there.  It’s easy to move between and read and to mark articles as read and load more.  It will load the full article (for those that feed out partials) with one click and you can use the Instapaper set-up (or others–you decide) to load the page in the reader.  Instapaper, an app I did pay for which we’ll discuss another day, is perfect for reading articles.  It strips away all the pretty we do for web pages and leaves you with content and pictures that still respects the original publication (headers, bullets, etc.).  It’s very easy to add a feed (which will be added to Google for reading in other places).

If you are already a fan of Google Reader, then this app is perfect.  And free.

Update 06/02/2011: Lifehacker.com posted it’s fave Google Reader App for the iPhone a day after this post.  It’s not free, but I defer to the wisdom of Lifehacker.  If they say it’s good–it is.

At least, it has for me. So convenient. Such a dream come true–any book I want to read is at my fingertips and delivered in less than a minute. I’ve probably read more books in the last month than I have in the year before that. And that’s a really satisfying thing. Anyway, you should totally have one.

It’s been a while since I’ve done Material Girl post, so I thought I’d do one huge super post full of etsy goodness.

For the writer who reads (duh):

Both by: TillyBloom

I picked this one because I freaking LOVED Nancy Drew growing up and I have many cherished memories of going to the library with my grandmother to pick out another Nancy Drew mystery.  Also… I’m a purse addict.  Ask anyone.

This by spoonfulofchocolate who has lots of book goodies.

And, just for fun, laptop soap!

By pepperapothecary.

I found Sex and the Single Vampire by Katie MacAlister at the Dollar Store for $1.25! Squee!

One’s To Be Read (TBR) pile can never be too large.  Especially when it’s a favorite author.

Update 03/14/2011–I think I bought this book for my Kindle because I never get in my TBR drawer anymore.  Those books are all heavy and awkward and stuff.

Update 08/26/2011–I gave this paperback to my daughter’s best friend’s because she loves vamps and I love Katie MacAlister.

Ask me how much I love this necklace.  Yeah, it’s a little clunky, but if you’re a dedicated reader and you agree that censorship is a dirty whore, it makes quite a statement.

I Read Banned Books Necklace.

It’s like the opposite of Write Or Die, but I think it would work just as well.  I can’t tell you, because my fabulous Mac is down and out.  But I’d recommend.  OmmWriter.  Try it.

A review from MakeUseOf.com.

When I came across OmmWriter, I was intrigued. The concept took writing productivity, mixed in some solitude and added a dash of zen. The results? A beeeautiful and calming full-screen, distraction-free writing application with its own soundtrack.

Today, I’m going to recommend a book that I don’t even own (yet).  So ordering it today.  Anyway, this book:

was recommended by Jennifer Crusie in her essay “Emotionally Speaking: Romance Fiction in the Twenty-First Century”.

The psychology of the characters will dictate how and why they fall in love, and their growth as human beings will dictate whether or not the reader believes they’ll stay in love. That’s why, along with researching the genre, it’s a good idea to research the psychology, anthropology, and biology of romantic love (a good place to start is Erich Fromm’s The Art of Loving ).

The product description reads:

The renowned psychoanalyst Erich Fromm has helped millions of men and women achieve rich, productive lives by developing their hidden capacities for love. In this astonishly frank and candid book, he explores the ways in which this extraordinary emotion can alter the whole course of your life.

Most of us are unable to develop our capacities for love on the only level that really counts––a love that is compounded of maturity, self–knowledge, and courage. Learning to love, like other arts, demands practice and concentration. Even more than any other art it demands genuine insight and understanding. In this startling book, Fromm discusses love in all its aspects; not only romantic love, so surrounded by conceptions, but also love of parents for children, brotherly love, erotic love, self–love, and love of God.

I think she’s right.  This is an excellent place to start.  And Crusie writes smart books.  I’m all about that. I’ll write a review, or at least hit the high points, after I’ve read it.

Want the awesomest “writing” program I have ever encountered?  Then you need Write or Die – Desktop Edition.  It’s rocks so hard, rock stars are jealous.  First, let me tell you, you can use or try it online, for free.  (I love free).  It took me one session, in which I wrote over a thousand words in half an hour to know I wanted to own this genius piece of software.

It motivates in three ways: gentle mode-a box comes up reminding you to get back to writing, normal-annoying sounds start playing (it’s incredibly maddening), and kamikaze-your words start untyping themselves.  In all three, the screen starts turning red.  You can also set a word goal, a time goal, or both.  I have to tell you, basic as it may sound, watching those words add up at the bottom of the screen and avoiding the red screen of badness is powerful.

At least give it a try, if you’re like any writer I know, and struggle to meet your goals.  Make it work for you.

P.S. Thank you, Dr. Wicked!

I just ordered some books for my daughter because she’s become hooked on Nora Roberts and somehow I’ve managed to keep one or two books of a trilogy and be short the rest.  So I rounded out about four trilogies for her and placed my order.

So you know, I’m a clicker.  I’m one of those people that will totally start out on a page about, say, rabbits and end up on a page about how to make a quilt out of old t-shirts.  That being said, I innocently clicked on the recommendations for me link.  And I saw this. (Digital How to Write a Great Query Letter–no longer available.)

I thought.  You’re mocking me, Amazon.  You know I’m working on that damned synopsis / query letter stuff and you put this up right after I just made one of many purchases.  Screw you, Amazon.  No.  Really.  I mean it this time.  We’re so over.

And then I looked again.  It’s a free download.  Why?  Because the writer is awesome and wants to give back to the writing community.  I downloaded it.  Amazon and I agreed to never speak of this little misunderstanding again.  I’m still reading, but it looks pretty good.  So…. go download it!