The Gift Season is finally here, so for this month’s Staff Picks we’re picking…you guessed it…gifts! From games to tarot sets and even a few books, prepare yourself for some top tips and a stellar list.
Steven is our special orders guy, and besides reading tons, he’s a devoted boardgamer. He loves Meadow, which according to Steven “simulates a refreshing walk in the woods without actually having to go outside.” Meadow is an observation game that can be played with 1 (!) up to 4 people. Or in teams. It’s a short and sweet game, different from most world-domination or shooting games.
Max M. is our games buyer in Amsterdam and he suggests Ticket to Ride: Amsterdam. The original big box Ticket to Ride featured trains all over Europe. The Amsterdam version is smaller and tackles all sorts of the city’s transport. Set in the 17th century, you have to buy as many routes as possible in as many different types of transportation, garnering as many points as you can to be crowned the best Golden Age trader. Of course, you also have to deal with all the canals.
NB.: We don’t have links to most of our games on our website, so if you’re interested in any of these – or other – games, please get in touch with one of our stores.
Simone is our fiction buyer in The Hague, and she really enjoys Japanese fiction and authors, whose writing differs from our Western ways. She recommends Diary of a Void by Emi Yagi. In order to avoid menial tasks, a woman lies to her co-workers about being pregnant. But…what’s going to happen when her due date arrives and there’s no baby?
Reinoud, our fiction buyer in Amsterdam, is also a big reader. He recommends the well-written Dinosaurs by Lydia Millet. After a failed relationship, a wealthy young man walks from New York to Arizona, where he establishes a new kind of relationship with his neighbors.
Bella is the language buyer in Amsterdam and she, too, loves Japanese authors and fiction. She recommends Before the Coffee Gets Cold, Tales from the Café and Before Your Memory Fades. All written by Toshikazu Kawaguchi, the books feature a small back alley café in Tokyo where visitors get a chance to go back in time. But there are a few rules: you can’t change the present; you drink your coffee before it gets cold or turn into a ghost; you have to stay in a certain seat (if you move, you’re forcibly returned to the present); and you can only meet someone who has actually visited the café in the past.
Tom is the travel guide and travel literature buyer in The Hague. He loves to read travelogues and the history of places, so he recommends Into Iraq by Michael Palin. Typical of Palin, this book is not only a travelogue but also a dive into the culture and history of what was once considered the cradle of civilization. It shows the reader that even though Iraq is a country devastated by war, there’s still hope. People keep living their lives. Palin’s observations are always insightful and a bit humorous.
Maarten is our buyer for ecology & nature in Amsterdam and appreciates everything related to creepy crawlers so he just couldn’t pass up the opportunity to recommend Crawly Creatures by Hans Mulder, Jan de Hond and Eric Jorink. This beautifully illustrated book is a companion to the Rijksmusem exhibition, Clara and Crawly creatures, on display through mid-January 2023. The book looks at the history, science and drawings of those creatures we started to better understand after science became more accessible. It’s a wonderful specimen on its own.
Although Natalia is Amsterdam’s romance and fiction buyer, she also loves to read fantasy. She just finished The Shadow of the Gods by Jon Gwynne, and the end is so intense that she started the sequel, The Hunger of the Gods, right away. Says Natalia: “The Shadow of the Gods is a fast-paced, action-packed story based on Norse Mythology. It’s character-driven, with two great ass-kicking women and a man. And the mythology is so well-woven into the story that I now want to read more about it.”
Young Adult (YA)
Maria is the YA buyer in Amsterdam and a YA enthusiast. She recommends The Dragon’s Promise by Elizabeth Lim, the second part of the Six Crimson Cranes duology. Although she really enjoyed Six Crimson Cranes, she considers its sequel even better. The story arc is clearer in the first one, which makes the whole series worth reading.
Body, Mind & Spirit
Iris W. is our buyer for Body, Mind & Spirit (aka New Age) in The Hague and recommends The Phantomwise Tarot by Erin Morgenstern, author of The Night Circus. This tarot set is not based on The Night Circus but has the same magical feeling you find in Morgenstern’s books. And even if you don’t know how to use a tarot set, most come with booklets explaining how they work and what your cards could possibly mean. This set, says Iris W., is lovely and has beautiful illustrations, making it a wonderful gift.
December Gifts List
Finally, we have a list on our website full of great gift ideas for the coming holidays. It features titles we recommend, including special editions, all curated by us as perfect presents!
Check it out: December Gifts 2022