Gift Ideas for the Holiday

So it has been awhile since I have made an entry. Mea Culpa, Mea culpa. I will do better, promise. But now I’m here to talk about one of my favorite things – gifts! There is always so much pressure this time of year to get the perfect gift for our special someones, but perfect is boring :p and your perfect may not be their perfect. So here is a list of  5 ideas from me to you of some not-so-ordinary gifts for the season for the  men and women in your life. Merry Chrismakwanzakah to you all!!

5.) Star Wars Han Solo in Carbonite Ice Tray $9.99

Okay, yes, I will admit it – I am a total Star Wars Fan. Just like you cannot equal like Elvis and the Beatles (I prefer the stones actually) You cannot like Star Wars and Star Trek the same (Star Wars!) Everyone is always going on about the light sabers, but how much cooler to have Han Solo as your beverage ice? Because nothing is colder than carbonate. He’ll love it. It’s a win-win, baby.

4.) Magic Wand Salt & Pepper Shakers $15.00

Every little thing she does is magic…. so why not show her by buying her some magic wands so that every time she peppers her eggs she can add a little bippity, boppity, boo!

3.) Put Together A Local Michigan Gift Basket (prices vary)

Yes, the first two things on my list are online stores, but Michigan is where my heart is, so let us celebrate it’s bounty! Eat It Detroit has a great list of places where you can put together amazing gift baskets full of yum. Check out their Facebook page.

2.) A lovely Sweater Creation From Katwise (prices vary)

This artist is one of the most unique and creative people out there designing today. Her sweater creations are amazing and are sure to make the girls squeal with joy.  You definitely need to check out her Facebook page and her Etsy store.

1.) A Gift Certificate To Off The Beaten Path Books And The Top 1oo Sci-Fi/Fantasy Books From NPR (As much as you want!!!)

You knew this was coming. How many of your favorites made it on to this list? Print it out in a pretty font and give it to your special someone. Let them see how many of their favorite reads made it and then give them the means to pick up some old loves and some new ones.

So there it is. Think outside the box this year and breath some holiday surprise back into the season 🙂


KickStarter Project

Hey eveyone,

About a month ago, I started a fundraising project on to fund the last little things for my bookstore/cafe.  I have gotten really good feedback and the pledges are up to over $1600! The thing is I need $5000 more and I only have 5 days to do it.  For those of you out there that want to see a unique and awesomely designed place where you can kick back with your friends, where local artists and authors will be featured and supported, where local bands can be heard and appreciated – please go to my blog and pledge! Even if it is just a dollar it will help out and you will get a reward for it. Please check it out and pass it on to your friends. Thanks!

Book Recommendation – Children’s Books

The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe – C.S. Lewis

*I know, I know, nothing surprising about this being on an all-time favorite list.  All I can say is watching the numerous movies out there will not give you a complete feel for Narnia.  You have got to read the books.

Stone Soup – Marcia Brown

*Man I loved this book when I was a kid!  This is the old 1947 version, but there have been many more since then.  I love reading how the hungry soldiers got the whole village to feed them.  I even made my mom and our neighbors re-create it.  A wonderful, wonderful tale and nicely illustrated, too.

The Princess Bride – William Goldman

*What can I say – I’m a big ole girly girl.  I find it fascinating that a man could create a book that resonated so my with my feminine side, but still not lose the adventure story core that boys (and I) love so much about the book, too. It truly is a book for children, no matter the gender. And man do those one liners stick in your head! “no more rhyming I mean it!” “Anybodt want a peanut?” Classic.

Okay, so that is my recommendation list to start you all off if you are new to the world of speculative fiction.  I look forward to hearing what you thought of them, so drop me a line.  There will be more reviews every month and staff picks of our tried and true favorites and new books we are excited about.  Enjoy and start reading!

Book Recommendations – Thrillers

The Da Vinci Code – Dan Brown

* When I picked this book up from the bookstore, I took it home and promptly read it cover to cover. And then again.  What a smack upside of the head this book was, huh? I had always been interested in Templar myths and myths about the Merovingian Kings and the line of Jesus. To have it woven so elegantly and tightly into a novel was delicious.  I want Robert Langdon’s job (a job which unfortunately doesn’t exist!) I love puzzles and riddles and this just did it for me.  A very satisfying, thought provoking read.

Foucault’s Pendulum –Umberto Eco

*I had to read this book with a dictionary – no joke. There were words in here that I didn’t even know existed and I consider myself pretty educated.  The novel was written in Italian and translated into English.  If you are looking for a challenging, thrilling, mind opening, and word-gasm inducing read – this is it.  This book blew me away and after I was done reading it I had a notebook page full of secret societies and religions that I wanted to do more research on.  A serious commitment to read, but one worth the time.

Patriot Games – Tom Clancy

*This was before Clancy just started signing his name to blank pages and let other people write his novels. This may not literally be what he did, but that is how I feel about some of his later stuff.  But this is Jack Ryan in his prime.  Nobody sets the pace like Clancy and just when you think everything is right with the world the actions starts all over again at a nail biting pace.  I like that Jack Ryan is a family man and a reluctant hero in some aspects.  Everything a modern day military/spy thriller should be.

Book Recommendations – Mystery

The List of 7 – Mark Frost

* Not only was he co-creator of the “Twin Peaks” TV series, but he is an outstanding novelist.  He is another writer that creates a world so real, you can feel the cobblestones under your feet.  He also presents us with a dynamic and different view of Sherlock Holmes in this one.  A page turner.

The Stephanie Plum Series – Janet Evanovich

*Ok, ok…yes, this one is a guilty pleasure. Every time a new one comes out I devour it as if it’s been dipped in milk chocolate and caramel.  I love this character, I love the supporting characters, and the pace is great. Totally fun.

Murder on the Orient Express – Agatha Christie

* An Oldie (realllllll oldie), but still a goodie.  Nobody beats Dame Christie at cozy mysteries.  Great with a cup of tea on a rainy day.

Book Recommendations – Horror

The Great and Secret Show – Clive Barker

* This man does gross like no one else.  Poppy Z. Brite doesn’t even hold a candle to him.  He revels in blood, feces, bile, sweat, etc.  You can practical smell the stench as you turn the page.  But when he is sublime, angelic choruses sound in your head while you read. There is an elegance to his work that almost gives it a sense of delicacy – and then someone cuts out your tongue.  His worlds are so perfectly realized that you are completely submersed and lose contact with the real world which makes the scares all the more potent.  I can never put his stuff down.

The Shining/Salem’s Lot (tie) – Stephen King is to horror what MacDonald’s is to fast food – freakin’ ubiquitous! I could not have a favorite horror list without the Man in Black on it.  Stephen King has written the book on horror (no really, he literally has) and many, many, many books later is still going.  These are two of my all-time favorites.  Hail to the king, baby.

The Call of Cthulu and Other Weird Tales – H.P. Lovecraft

*I have always had a thing for tentacles.  Not the hentai kind! The “that is not dead which can eternal lie” kind.  I love the claustrophobic world of Lovecraft.  You know you are dealing with forces way beyond your ken.  The best you can hope for in a Lovecraftian story is insanity.  If they start the story reading your diary or letters found stuffed between arcane histories in the library you have been made a minion or eaten.  And the elder gods are not in the business of interceding to often for mankind.  Great stuff.  Very epic.

A call for extraordinary talent

Hello Everyone,

Off the Beaten Path Books plans to host workshops, classes, musical acts, performers of all ilks, etc.  every week at the store and that is where you talented people come in.  I have posted a listed of categories with some example breakdowns of areas I want people.  Please take a look and email me if you ar interested in sharing your talent in the store! We are creating something great!

Book Recommedations – Science Fiction

Stranger in a Strange Land – Robert Heinlein

* I’m just going to say it – Heinlein is the s**t. When I think of sci-fi, his is the first name that pops into my head. Some of this book has become outmoded and outdated, but it still surprises me every time I read it.  There is always something to grok.

Ender’s Game – Orson Scott Card

* Sci-fi does not make me cry, but this story did.  Maybe it’s because the main character is a child and I’m a mother, I don’t know.  It makes you think, it makes your adrenaline pump, and it makes you love that little genius, Ender.

-Snow Crash – Neal Stephenson

* I don’t think you could have three more different books in the same category. Neal Stephenson is so I-don’t-give-a-f**k cool he named his main character Hero Protagonist and I still loved this book.  Anyone who can mix Jewish mysticism, computer viruses for the mind, and being a pizza delivery man together and make it work has my vote…for anything. Watch out for obsidian knives!

Survey Questions

So, to make my bookstore the best it can be, I have a couple of discussion topics posted on the Book store’s Facebook page and I need people to go there and leave some feedback.  I want to make sure that when you come to the store you really feel like you are in a home away from home…minus the pizza boxes and dirty laundry 😉

Book Recommendations – Fantasy

Since I am opening a book store I thought it would be fun to share some of my all-time favorite books in the genres that I am going to carry in the store.  These are by no means the extent of my favorites they are just the ones that came to mind first.  If you have read any of them, drop a comment and let me know what you thought about them.

The Fionavar Trilogy (The Summer Tree, the Wandering Fire, and the Darkest Road) – Guy Gavriel Kay

* Everyone I recommend this series to ends up adding it to their list of all-time favorite books. This is almost more Tolkien then Tolkien.  In fact they used this author to finish Tolkien’s work.  This is just gorgeously, beautifully written. If you like high fantasy you will LOVE this series,

 Anubis Gates – Tim Powers

* I think this is the book that really turned me on to steampunk.  What a trippy, crazy, wonderfully imagined ride.  Tim Powers really is a master of this genre. 

 Tales from the Flat Earth Series (Night’s Master, Death’s Master, and Delirium’s Master) – Tanith Lee

*She had me at hello.  This series features stories written in the incredibly detailed world of this master word crafter.  She has a mind like a steel trap as characters ( some of them minor characters) that you meet in the first book resurface again and again through to the last book.  Exquisite. I return to this series again and again.

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