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BESTOWING BOOKS: We’re going out on a limb today

*UPDATE: As of noon, the only book on this list still available is “The Hollows Insider.”

Still looking for a special gift for the unicorn-hater on your list? Or that co-worker who’s always talking about farm tools? Or the neighbor who’s obsessed with psychotic elves?

We’ve got you covered.

Publishers far and wide send us copies of books in the fervent hope that we’ll review them. The books on this list didn’t make the cut, but we think they deserve good homes.

If you see one you like, email me at egross@freelancestar.com. The books are free to the first readers I hear from, though we implore you not to hoard. You can pick them up at 616 Amelia St., in Fredericksburg.

—Edie Gross

‘AWKWARD FAMILY PET PHOTOS’ BY MIKE BENDER AND DOUG CHERNACK

From the makers of AwkwardFamilyPhotos.com and the book by the same name comes an equally awkward collection of portraits featuring people and their unfortunate pets: dogs, cats, snakes, rabbits, the occasional skunk and hedgehog, and, on page 127, an animal that can be described only as a prehistoric, pony-size guinea pig wearing a blue bandana.

If the animal kingdom ever rises up against us, it will be because we do stuff like this.

‘UNICORN BEING A JERK’ BY C.W. MOSS

If you’ve long suspected that unicorns are not the loveable, majestic creatures the Fantasy Animal Lobby has made them out to be, this is the book for you.

It’s full of color illustrations of unicorns doing obnoxious things, like ignoring the “10 items or less sign” at the grocery checkout or bringing a guitar to a party—the kind of juvenile stunts that krakens, Minotaurs and chupacabras wouldn’t be caught dead pulling.

‘LET THERE BE FACEBOOK’ BY TRAVIS HARMON AND JONATHAN SHOCKLEY

In the beginning, God posted status updates and communicated with His followers via Facebook. So did Genghis Khan, Joan of Arc, Shakespeare and Henry VIII.

Now, their historical posts and friend requests are collected in this handy little volume, which, in a nod to ancient history, is printed on a thing called paper.

‘CHRISTMAS EXPOSED’ BY THE STAFF OF THE ONION

From perhaps the world’s finest source of satirical and often eerily accurate news comes a collection of more than 100 holiday-related stories with headlines like “Vatican Employees Unable to Relax at Holiday Party With Pope Around” and “Attempt to Buy Gift for Boyfriend Results in Hatred of Boyfriend.” Perfect for the loved one who takes the holiday way too seriously.

‘THE TEA PARTY GUIDE TO BEING A REAL AMERICAN: ARMING YOURSELF AGAINST GODLESS LIBERALS, DIRTY SOCIALISTS & SEXY IDEAS’ BY ROLAND BOYLE

I’m pretty sure this is a parody, but given the nasty tone of political rhetoric these days, it’s honestly hard to tell. This book includes a state-by-state guide of where to find “the real Americans” and an analysis of the Tea Party’s alleged stance on key issues such as the second amendment, the lame-stream media, sex and Britney Spears.

‘THE HOLLOWS INSIDER’ BY KIM HARRISON

I know even less about the “Hollows” series than I do about the “Twilight” series, which is to say virtually nothing. A quick Google search indicates that the tales focus on a witch detective who partners with a vampire and a pixy to solve crimes. Col. Mustard did it in the study with a lead pipe and a magical broomstick?

Anyway, fans might appreciate this hard-cover volume, which includes helpful chapters on banshees and demons (no, they’re not the same), spells and charms, and a recipe for Brimstone Cookies.

‘THE ELF OFF THE SHELF: A CHRISTMAS TRADITION GONE BAD’ BY HORACE THE ELF

You might be familiar with “The Elf on the Shelf,” a family-friendly book that comes with an elf who sits on a shelf and reports back to Santa who’s being naughty and nice. This is not that elf.

This is his evil twin, Horace, who raids the refrigerator, gets drunk on spiked eggnog and tries to hook up with Barbie in Ken’s absence. For the disgruntled loved one on your list.

‘FARM ANATOMY’ BY JULIA ROTHMAN

If you ever wanted to know how to milk a cow or understand the anatomy of a chain saw, this is the book for you. With illustrations worthy of a children’s book, Rothman teaches readers about all things farm. And we mean all: comb styles for roosters, prime cuts of pork, common barn doors, bee parts and the evolution of tractors.

When you’ve finished mowing the back 40, you can try out some of her recipes, including dandelion wine and buckwheat pancakes.

‘I’M NEW AT BEING OLD’ BY LUCY ROSE FISCHER

This is written from the point of view of a woman coming to terms with aging—with creaky knees, wrinkles, forgetfulness and sleepless nights—and ultimately embracing her new life and all the beauty it holds.

Sweet and sort of poetic, it’s written by an award-winning researcher who, at the age of 60, decided to pursue a second career as an artist. Probably not a great gift for a man, unless you want to rip out the page about the hot flashes.

‘TRUST ME, I’M DR. OZZY’ BY OZZY OSBOURNE

In this book, an extension of his Rolling Stone column, death-defying rock star Ozzy Osbourne dolls out medical advice to folks who, lacking access to a doctor or the Internet, are crazy enough to ask him for it.

The book starts with several disclaimers urging readers not to follow Osbourne’s advice, which covers everything from hangover and heartburn remedies to how best to cope with tongue bumps and armpit hair. But if you’re foolish enough to ignore the disclaimers and you survive the experience, you qualify as a medical miracle and, like Osbourne himself, can probably score a book contract.

Not recommended for anyone without life insurance.

‘WHEN ELVES ATTACK’ BY TIM DORSEY

I’m not entirely sure what this book is about, but it’s got a there’s-no-insanity-like-Florida-insanity feel about it, a la Carl Hiaasen, and there are tiny elves marching across the cover, which seems like a good sign.

Also, it’s written by a guy who used to work at the Tampa Tribune, which was kind enough to give me my first internship, so I’d like to deliver the book to a good home.

‘THEODORE ROOSEVELT’S SUMMER WHITE HOUSE’

BY LAWRENCE KNUTSON

This paperback, published by the White House Historical Association, is only 25 pages long and focuses on the 26th president and his summer home, Sagamore Hill, in Oyster Bay, N.Y.

It comes with a Christmas ornament honoring Roosevelt and a historical association catalog featuring everything from American eagle cufflinks to a White House Lego set.

‘CHRISTMAS A TO Z’ BY THOMAS NELSON INC.

With cultural and religious entries in ABC order, this book covers everything from Christ and Holy Spirit to Bowl Full of Jelly and—my personal favorite—You’ll Shoot Your Eye Out.

Every few pages, there’s a quiz about traditional Christmas food in Greenland, the National Christmas Tree or some other holiday trivia.

The best part? No assembly required.

GIRLS IN DRESSES (AND ONE IN A PUFFY SHIRT)

BY VARIOUS AUTHORS

Through no fault of my own, I ended up with four paperbacks on my desk featuring women in dresses on the covers: Two have their backs to the reader, one shows us her right profile from the elbow down, and the fourth looks seductively forward while a giant prairie fire rages in the background.

They appear to be about demons, witches, fairies, shape-shifters and the like. The last book has a girl on the cover wearing some sort of amulet and a puffy shirt, and she’s standing uncomfortably close to a dragon. So that one’s probably nonfiction.

Edie Gross: 540/374-5428

egross@freelancestar.com

Permalink: http://news.fredericksburg.com/features/2011/12/16/bestowing-books-we%e2%80%99re-going-out-on-a-limb-today/

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