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Project Fandom Holiday Gift Guide 2013: Books

We’re back with more of our Holiday Gift Guide, an attempt to help you shop for the geeks and fans in your life (including yourself). Today, we’re focusing on some of the best books we couldn’t put down this year. These page-turners are sure to be a hit with whomever you gift them to this holiday season.

We’ve got novels, art collections, and ebooks; bestsellers, self-published gems, and even some older titles we just discovered in 2013. No matter what person you’re shopping for, we’ve got just the book for them.

Crazy4Cult: Cult Movie Art 2 from Gallery 1988

Crazy 4 Cult - Cult Movie Art | Cover

Crazy 4 Cult: Cult Movie Art 2, if it’s not obvious, is a follow-up to Crazy4Cult – Cult Movie Art, a collection which was released in 2011. The first book collected some of the best artwork from the first four years of Gallery 1988’s Crazy4Cult series–an art show which displays art inspired by cult films–and was very well-received. This second book includes even more phenomenal artwork inspired by not only the films you might expect–like: Back to the Future, Robocop, Ghostbusters, and Alien–but also some unexpected films like Harold and Maude, The Hudsucker Proxy, The Room, and so many more. Any film fan in your life will love this book and the fantastic art found within its pages. – ProFan John

RELATED: John’s ProFan Review: Crazy4Cult – Cult Movie Art 2


The Devil in the White City: Murder, Magic, and Madness at the Fair that Changed America by Erik Larson; published in 2003

The Devil in the White City

Do you love: a) non-fiction that reads like a novel, b) life-altering inventions, c) history-defining events, d) serial killers, or e) the 1893 Chicago World’s Fair? Step right up—The Devil in the White City was written just for you! Follow architect Daniel H. Burnham as he crafts the Expo from a gleam in his eye to a full blown (albeit temporary) national monument. Impress your friends with your limitless knowledge of the Fair’s never before seen offerings (Zippers! Braille! The Ferris Wheel! PBR!!). Walk in the shadows with H. H. Holmes as he crafts his murderous city-block mansion, then follow behind him as he lures dozens of unsuspecting women to his homemade crematorium. Bump into historical figures like Buffalo Bill Cody, Little Egypt, and Nicola Tesla as you stroll the Midway. All this for the low, low price of 447 pages that practically turn themselves. – ProFan Robyn

Doctor Sleep: A Novel by Stephen King

Doctor Sleep

I don’t know how many people in 1977 were thinking about a possible sequel to Stephen King’s The Shining; the ending of that classic book doesn’t really encourage or discourage such thoughts. However, in 2009, King got everyone thinking about a sequel, when he casually announced that he had been working on it. From then on, Doctor Sleep: A Novel has been eagerly anticipated. After finally being released in September, the book proved to be a towering success. This sequel is not only a return for King fans to the world of one of the prolific author’s most revered works but also a return for King to truly frightening horror. Any fan of King, any fan of The Shining, and any fan of horror should love to receive this gift. – ProFan John

Game, Set, Match by Nana Malone

Game, Set, Match

I got this book as a free Kindle download, intrigued by the interracial couple on the cover. I would have gladly paid for this book. Izzy Connors is a successful photographer on the brink of the biggest show of her career. She’s also desperately hoping to regain custody of her foster son. Despite her success, the court still has reservations because she’s black and her son is white. It doesn’t help matters that the birth mother, Izzy’s ex-best friend, keeps popping in and out the picture. The last thing she needs is a romantic complication, but she finds one in her old college flame, Jason Cartwright, a sexy pro tennis player who still makes Izzy crazy in all the right places. Warning: This book gets steamy fast. – ProFan Nina

The Girl Who Circumnavigated Fairyland in a Ship of Her Own Making by Catherynne M. Valente; published in 2011

The Girl Who Circumnavigated Fairyland in a Ship of Her Own Making

This one is for the kiddos—more specifically for the girls. Most specifically, for any girl over the age of 10 and under the age of dead. The Girl Who Circumnavigated Fairyland in a Ship of Her Own Making is the story of September, a girl bored and lonely and a little bit rebellious in WWII-era Omaha, who is whisked away by the gentlemanly Green Wind to Fairyland. Everything about this story is extraordinary; the plot is inventive and interesting without being nonsensical (or worse, trite), and the vocabulary is excellent with plenty of new words to explore (widdershins, wyvern, marid). But the heroine…the heroine! THIS is the girl you want your daughters and nieces and friends’ children to want to be. She is brave and endearing, but also stubborn and “somewhat heartless”. The writing is beautiful, sometimes fantastically lavish, sometimes painfully real, but always magical. It’s the perfect fairy tale for girls—and adults—who know fairy tales aren’t real but need to believe in them anyway. – ProFan Robyn

Marvel Comics: The Untold Story by Sean Howe

Marvel: The Untold Story

Marvel Comics: The Untold Story, by Sean Howe, offers a very detailed look at the people and creative processes that made Marvel the #1 comic book/entertainment company it is today. – ProFan Rivka

Megan: Breadcrumbs for the Nasties Book One by Steven Novak

Megan Book Cover

If Blade, The Walking Dead, and The Road had a baby, it would be this book. Dark, brutal, and unapologetic, Megan is a helluva read. And don’t worry. As Novak’s friend, I will make sure he stays on task to get book two in our hands. Especially considering Megan: Breadcrumbs For The Nasties Book One (Volume 1) had an ending I didn’t see coming and you won’t either. – ProFan Nina

RELATED: Megan: Breadcrumbs for the Nasties Book One


Reconstructing Amelia: A Novel by Kimberly McCreight

Reconstructing Amelia

Kate is shocked when her teenage daughter, Amelia, commits suicide at school. In the midst of her grief she receives a text message: Amelia didn’t jump. As Kate investigates the details of her daughter’s life– and wrestles the guilt she feels for never having enough time for her daughter– she learns that she didn’t really know Amelia at all. Was it suicide? Murder? I won’t spoil it for you, but I will say this: Reconstructing Amelia was probably the best book I’ve read in 2013 and I will never read it again. By the end of the book I was doing the straight-up ugly cry with snot and all. I had to sob into my pillow so as not to wake my husband. It is beautifully written and it will break your heart. Read it. – ProFan Nina

Sherlock Holmes: The Will of the Dead by George Mann

Sherlock Holmes: The Will of the Dead | Cover

At first, I was hesitant to read a Sherlock Holmes book not written by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, but I do love a good murder mystery (and I also love any chance I can get to picture Robert Downey Jr. in my head), so I decided to give this one a chance. I’m glad I did. Sherlock Holmes: The Will of the Dead is fast-paced and thoroughly enjoyable. It’s well written–by George Mann–with the dialogue and language reflecting the time and place of 19th century London. – ProFan Patti

RELATED: Patti’s ProFan Review: Sherlock Holmes: The Will of the Dead


Star Trek Federation: The First 150 Years by David A. Goodman


Although presented almost as a history textbook, Star Trek Federation: The First 150 Years still features Goodman’s trademark sense of humor.  SF media fans will find chuckle-worthy sideways references to other shows.  Portions of newspaper articles, scientific reports, Captain’s Logs and the like are presented as sidebars and they’re all worthy of attention to spot the Easter Eggs.  For example, both Doctor Who and Space: 1999 get references with an article titled MYSTERY COMMANDOES STEAL ADVANCED SPACESHIP by one Sarah Jane Smith, featuring a quote from Victor Bergman, chief astronomer at the Anderson Space Command:  “It’s left Earth’s orbit, we’re sure of that.”  You can almost imagine the brief Family Guy cut-scene featuring the joke. Star Trek Federation: The First 150 Years is a delight and should provide hours of happy browsing for Trek fans who long for the era when the best ship in the universe was just the U.S.S. Enterprise, NCC-1701, “No bloody A, B, C, or D!” – ProFan Ben

RELATED: Ben’s ProFan Review: Star Trek Federation: The First 150 Years


The Steel Seraglio by Mike Carey, Linda Carey, and Louise Carey; published in 2012

The Steel Seraglio

Prolific writer of books and comics, Mike Carey is joined by his wife and daughter in crafting an exciting historical novel. Set at the time of the sultans and “Arabian Nights”, The Steel Seraglio is the story of a group of women, a seraglio, exiled into the desert, and condemned to death, who not only survive, but become an army determined to free their city from the rule of a religious zealot. – ProFan Rivka

The Vampire Cookbook: A Novel by MJ Heiser

The Vampire Cookbook

The Vampire Cookbook: A Novel is a fast read because you’ll constantly tell yourself, “Just one more chapter,” whenever you must step away from it. The sexy situations, life or death encounters, and laugh-out-loud dialogue make this book the perfect summer read. – ProFan Nina.

RELATED: The Vampire Cookbook


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