When it comes to the holidays, books are my go-to gift. (All of the small children in my family know that Aunt Casey is trying to force them to read whether they like it or not.) Of course, it can sometimes be difficult to know exactly what someone’s tastes are, or even more difficult if they’re a serious bibliophile, what they’ve already read. But still, there are always the off-the-beaten path choices for the geeky reader in your life, and here are a few suggestions!
Cooking for Geeks
This book promises “real science, great hacks, and good food” – it’s a cookbook for someone who wants to be a little more creative rather than just following recipes, not to mention cultivating an interest in the science behind the process. Plus, learn how to calibrate your kitchen tools and read some interviews with researchers and food scientists! (I recommend the butternut squash soup.)
Star Trek: The Original Series 360
This recently released book is the “definitive, authorized” guide to Star Trek TOS. It covers the entire series in detail, including synopses and behind-the-scenes info. The reviews are good and the price is great for a coffee-table-ish book. This might be a great gift especially for someone who is discovering (or rediscovering) the original series because of the reboot.
Geek Dad: Awesomely Geeky Projects and Activities for Dads and Kids to Share
Written by Ken Denmead over at Wired’s GeekDad, this book is filled with ideas and instructions for DIY projects for “techie dads raising kids in their own geeky image.” So if you know someone who’s interested in making their own slip ‘n slide, or cyborg jack-o’-lanterns, or a lamp out of LEGOs, this might be an awesomely geeky present.
Threadless: Ten Years of T-shirts from the World’s Most Inspiring Online Design Community
It’s pretty common lately for popular blogs to end up with in print (like Awkward Family Photos or The Book of “Unnecessary” Quotation Marks or of course Threadless is something of a different beast, being part T-Shirt shop, part design community, and all geeky win. The sample spreads look very neat, and this book might be a great gift for both the Threadless fan or graphic designer in your life.
DC Comics Encyclopedia and Marvel Encyclopedia
In the great tradition of pop culture encyclopedias, both of these cover the A-Z of comics heroes and villains, from Acrata and Agent Liberty to Zuggernaut and Zoom; and from Abomination and Absorbing Man to Zodiac and Zzzax. The books are giant and pretty (and heavy) and great coffee table fodder. Because though you can certainly get all of the minute detailed info on the web, these are a lot more fun to look at.
Scott Pilgrim’s Precious Little Box Set
Did you see the Scott Pilgrim movie? If you loved it, you’ll probably also like the books. If you hated it… well, you might still like the books, depending on why you hated it. But either way, they’re good fun for a certain geeky generation. Though they’re black-and-white manga-style paperbacks rather than glossy graphic novels, the art is great and so is the story.
Packing for Mars
Mary Roach is a fantastic, engaging author, and this is the latest in a number of nonfiction page-turners that both entertain and educate (my personal favorite is Stiff). This one is about a great classic of geeky interests – astronauts! Just what does go into preparing to go into space? And why aren’t we going to Mars yet? Particularly if you’ve ever been curious about how one goes to the bathroom in space, this is something you need to read.
So this is apparently a “lavishly produced, full-color celebration of the geeks girls love to love.” Okay then! Sure, why not? They had me at Bret and Jemaine on the Tiger Beat-ish cover. I don’t even think it matters much what’s inside; this one is going to be a conversation starter on the coffee table. (Even if you’re just having serious arguments about who is the dreamiest geek ever.)
The Zombie Survival Guide
Can’t forget the classics. Because sometimes the best gift you can give to the geek in your life is the knowledge they need to fight the oncoming zombie apocalypse. Gear up!
And of course, if you’re looking for fiction ideas for the speculative fiction fan in your life, maybe you can start them off on a series they haven’t read yet – check out our lists of 5 epic science fiction book series and 5 epic fantasy book series.