Sunday, December 16, 2012

Meandering Mouse Gift Guide (Part 2)

Photo credit: Microsoft Clip Art

In my last post, I wrote about where to find three gifts that make for a cozy bathtime. Now I will top it off by suggesting reading material to go along with it.

Except for the times when I bathe with Two Dogs, I always bring reading material with me when I bathe. I have been known to delay a bath until a new magazine appears in the mailbox (usually Marie Claire or More).

Bathtub reading, in my opinion, should stay on the lighter side – nothing too maudlin, scary, political, or mood-depleting. (In other words, no George Orwell, no Sun magazine, no newspapers, and no Oprah Book Club picks.)

Also, it should be made of real paper. True, the pages of books and magazines might get a little wet, even if you’re as scrupulously careful as I am. However, that is nowhere near as disastrous as dropping an expensive electronic device in the tub. So no Kindles, Nooks, Kobos, iPads, or tablets of any kind, please.

I have known many a book which would qualify as great bathroom reading – but I can’t list them all because you have just eight shopping days left. Here, though, are the ones which jumped to mind first:

Penny Stallings – Flesh & Fantasy, Rock N’ Roll Confidential, and Forbidden Channels. These three books, rich in both photos and trivia, take on Hollywood, rock music, and television respectively. Unlike current tabloids, these are stories about people with actual talent.

Kenneth Anger – Hollywood Babylon and Hollywood Babylon II. Reader discretion is advised: both books contain full-page photos which are startling, shocking, and sometimes horrifying. And some of the stories may have a casual acquaintance – at best – with the truth. But these are the kinds of books that will keep you in the tub until the water gets cold. (I hope you add more warm water if that happens!)

Then, we have zines. Specifically, K/S zines.

K/S as in Kirk/Spock, as in the original Star Trek’s Kirk and Spock.

The best way I can describe K/S is that it’s Star Trek fiction with a bonus – namely, Kirk and Spock are, ahem, more than just good friends.

Some of the best K/S zines live at Fanzines Plus. This is classic K/S – not just typed out and sent to a fan fiction site, but edited, typeset, printed, and bound – and with terrific illustrations as a bonus. These zines were made to last – and unlike online material, you can take it with you to the bath.

You’ll find anthologies like Naked Times, Daring Attempt, and The 25th Year (one of my personal favorites), and full K/S novels with titles like The Prince, Year of the Ram, and Covert Action. Yummy!

Of course, you get what you pay for. Items at Fanzines Plus range from $18 to $35 (tax and postage included). You may think that’s a lot to pay for fan fiction when you can find it for free on the web. But, once again, these are professional-quality stories, not the jottings of the semi-literate. And haven’t you spent much more than $35 on a gift that didn’t work out – a tacky sequined sweater, a gadget that broke down too soon, an oversized, hard-to-clean tchotchke that was regifted faster than you can say “I don’t think so.”

K/S zines are gifts for your besties – if your besties have no problem with Kirk and Spock kissing and, ahem, other things.

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