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Kari Luna: What I’m Giving

In this special series, we asked writers we admire to share a book they're giving to their friends and family this holiday season. Check back daily to see the books your favorite authors are gifting.

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I adore giving books as gifts. I give them on official holidays and unofficial ones, like Redheads Day! Or, you know, Wednesdays. But there's no better time than the holidays to give books. And while some books belong to specific people, others belong to everyone. The Color Master by Aimee Bender is in the latter category.

In this delicious collection of short stories, Bender brings us an ogre husband. Tigers who burst out of their stripes! And a young boy who can't discern facial expressions. It's all camp and curiosity, myth and magic. And as she slips in and out of the supernatural — like it's perfectly natural — she brings us with her, following along on our magic carpets. These stories aren't all fairytale and fantasy, though. Ms. Bender delves into important topics, so while whimsical, this isn't a book for the kids in your life — just for the kids within.

I've always thought that opening a gift is like walking through a sparkly, new door and into the place of possibility. Anything could happen. Anything could be in there! Even if it's a sweater with cats on it — which wouldn't be a bad thing — the delight felt prior to opening is one of the best feelings in the entire world. It's also how I feel every time I get a new Aimee Bender book. It started with The Girl in the Flammable Skirt and has continued with every other book since.

The stories in The Color Master are the Silly Putty in the pile of oranges — and the confetti-filled corner of your mind that's always having a dance party. If you've already gifted all of the Maira Kalman books, bubble wands, and The Royal Tenenbaums DVD, Criterion edition, this book is truly your next logical choice. So give — and enjoy — with abandon. Just don't forget to put a tiny unicorn on top.

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Kari Luna is the author of The Theory of Everything. She writes stories, teaches yoga, and eats apricots. She also covets cashmere sweaters, collects toys from the '60s, and thinks soul music is the cure for everything. She lives in Portland, Oregon.


Books mentioned in this post

  1. The Theory of Everything
    Used Hardcover $9.95
  2. The Color Master: Stories Used Hardcover $14.00
  3. The Girl in the Flammable Skirt: Stories
    Used Trade Paper $8.00


Kari Luna is the author of The Theory of Everything

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