The 12 books of Christmas 

Retail stores are decking the halls, restaurants are booking parties, and neighbours are balanced precariously on ladders, adorning their homes with strings of lights. With the holiday season right around the corner, it’s time for savvy shoppers to start compiling that all-important shopping list, and instead of resorting to the boring old scarf or gift certificate for your hard-to-buy-for brother or dad, why not offer up a literary gift: a book. We’ve compiled a list of 12 good reads for 12 different people on your shopping list, making two suggestions each week: husbands, wives, crazy uncles and aunts, teenage boys and girls, tiny tots, the boss, your American (pro-Obama) friend, the foodie, the family nature nut and local political junkie. Happy reading!


For the American political junkie – I Am America (And So Can You!) by Stephen Colbert


There is something about making fun of American politics — particularly Republican politics — that is just so enjoyable. Maybe because it is so easy. Americans don’t have any parliamentary, non-confidence safe guards in their government. The U.S.A. is all about being black and white, for or against, left or right, with no ground in between.

I have become engrossed in Canadian culture since moving here seven years ago. Yet, one week till Christmas, I am gleefully flipping through the page of I Am America (And So Can You!) by Stephen Colbert like a six year old kid left alone on Christmas Eve with a pile of presents. Wrapping paper everywhere.

You probably know Stephen Colbert from his T.V. show The Colbert Report , where he plays a Republican talk show host with a big ego. Colbert’s first step into the book world falls along the same lines with outrageous mock-opinions. And while the book is now “old” (it was published in October 2007), it still has a fresh feeling, especially against the backdrop of the recent U.S. presidential elections and McCain-Palin puritan values.

Colbert’s strength is that he oversimplifies. Big time. The book is divided into Spartan topics like Family, Old People, Sports and Sex & Dating (a.k.a. 1001 Abstinence Positions). And don’t expect anything politically correct between the lines. Colbert takes every shot he can get at conservative America, including fake stories from “average American citizens” like old maid Dorothy Grierson who lives alone with her cats.

Here’s a snippet: “At one time America was pure. Men were men, women were women, and gays were ‘confirmed bachelors.’ But somewhere around the late ’60s, it became ‘groovy’ to ‘let it all hang out’ while you ‘kept on truckin’ stopping only to ‘give a hoot.’ And today, Lady Liberty is under attack from cable-channels, the internet blogs, and the Hollywood celebritocracy, out there spewing ‘facts’ like so many locusts descending on America’s crop of ripe, tender values. And as any farmer or biblical scholar will tell you, locusts are damn hard to get rid of.”

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