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Because Kindle, Amazon's electronic library-in-a-box, is out of stock and won't be available before Dec. 25, you may have to buy books or magazines one at a time. But there are items out there that the iPod-for-bookworms can't generate anyway. Here's a list of tangible gifts to please even the choosiest literature aficionado.
What book lover wouldn't covet a beautiful home for their most prized possessions? Customize a bookcase with your choice of wood, finish, stain, paint, size and shape -- or select a ready-made bookcase from The Bookcase Place of Richmond, Inc. (5910 W. Broad St.).
Adorn that case with a rare book from the Black Swan Bookstore (2601 W. Main St.). How about a signed copy of the "The Bonfire of the Vanities" by Tom Wolfe, dedicated to "the Ladies of Ginter Park," for $35? For the curious tippler, "Richmond Beers," a lavishly illustrated book about Richmond's breweries by Danny Morris and Jeff Johnson for $50. For the Civil War buff with lots of free time, the three-volume, first edition signed biography "R.E. Lee" by Douglas Southall Freeman for $300 or, for the armchair astronaut, a 1951 first edition signed copy of "The Green Hills of Earth" by Robert A. Heinlein for $750.
Because people do judge books by their covers, seeking protection from nosy onlookers, the elements and the regular wear and tear of life. Select a Hidden Secret Book Cover from a variety of sizes and designs, from flora and fauna to flags or plaid, priced between $12 and $25. Available at The Book Room (5468 W. Broad St.) or at www.hiddensecretscovers.com.
Miniature readers might enjoy a Bad Kitty doll to accompany the newly released "Bad Kitty" book by Nick Bruel or a stuffed "Walter the Farting Dog," William Kotzwinkle's classic, replete with two realistic sound effects. Find all of these kiddy goodies at Fountain Bookstore (1312 E. Cary St.) in Shockoe Bottom or visit www.fountainbookstore.com on the Web.
To make reading more pleasant for eyes ranging from myopic to 20/20, select from a variety of magnifying glasses, reading glasses and book lights from your local Barnes & Noble. The Ultra Optix hand-held magnifier ($9.95), the Ultra Dome self-focus, light-gathering magnifier ($19.95) or the Great Point Light pocket magnifier ($9.95) are a few options.
Make your literature lover happy every season of the year with a subscription to the "Virginia Quarterly Review," U.Va.'s "National Journal of Literature and Discussion." Give the gift of poetry, fiction, photography, essays, comics and more. Subscribe at www.vqronline.org for $25.
Encourage your spouse or best buddy to explore their dark side with local playwright Douglas Jones' two-month class, "Writing the Shadow," beginning Feb. 4, or treat your teenager to a three-hour Cartooning & Manga workshop Feb. 9 at the Virginia Museum Studio School. Call 340-1400 or visit www.vmfa.state.va.us for a complete listing of schedules and classes.
Delve deep with a Mystery Writing Workshop led by local private investigator (and Style Weekly Fiction Contest winner) Meriah Crawford, beginning Jan. 23. Hone your creative nonfiction skills with journalist Nicole Anderson Ellis beginning Jan. 30, both at the Visual Arts Center of Richmond. Call 353-0094 or visit www.visarts.org for a complete listing of schedules and classes. SClick here for more Arts & Culture