Standup comic and book designer Doogie Horner answers important questions, such as ‘How is the world going to end?’, ‘What’s the best way to win an argument?’, and ‘Which heavy metal band is right for you?’ with Everything Explained Through Flowcharts. Filled with irreverent essays and hilarious charts on Chain Restaurants, Ghosts, and Drinks Only College Students Order, this book makes navigating through life just that much easier.
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If you have a friend with a lot of time on their hands whose main interests are music, video games and beer, than the 1001 series is just the gift for them. The series includes 1001 Songs You Must Hear Before You Die, 1001 Beers You Must Taste Before You Die, and 1001 Video Games You Must Play Before You Die. Each colossal book is packed with all the essential details and facts about games, songs, and beers you didn’t even know existed. The video game edition covers everything from Pong to Rock Band with a little Sims and DDR in the mix, as well. The beer version looks at beers brewed all over the globe to bring you the best, while the song volume gives fun facts like, influences, covers and alternate versions of the songs you need to know.
It’s hard to imagine an Xbox 360-owning shooter fan that doesn’t own Halo: Reach at this point. Reach is the latest entry in the franchise that’s all but synonymous with the format, and it’s refined to the point where it is as Halo as a Halo game could possibly get. The campaign is appropriately epic even given its futility, and the multiplayer is as smooth an experience as can be had on the Xbox 360. Find a group to play through some of the newest multiplayer modes, and there simply isn’t a more fun first-person Xbox experience for a teenage gamer.
For the favorite history buff on your list comes the gorgeous tome The Classical Tradition. While many people know we get certain modern words from the ancient civilizations (e.g., from polis to police), few realize how much of our culture is so directly connected to the ancient Greeks and Romans. The Classical Tradition collects 563 articles from 339 distinguished authors to look at the way ancient ideas, practices and artistry have influenced Western culture. From art to government, math to medicine, legal theory to popular culture, the influence of the classic traditions can still be felt today, if you know what you’re looking for.
It’s nearly impossible to get a really good cocktail these days. Unless you’re the kind who can afford to leave your cashmere with coat check and raise nary an eyebrow at a meal with drinks that costs hundreds—for one—you’re stuck with the average over-sweetened, maraschino cherry accented, two-ingredients schlock that passes for ‘cocktails’ at the average bar and restaurant.
For those who refuse to sip such things and say, “Mmm, this is good,” comes this delightful challenge to one’s refined tastes and cultivated snobbery—and it’s priced for the average Joe’s budget. With a wit that might make you spill your Manhattan, mixed with a keen storytelling approach that might make you confuse this for literature, The Hour is a delightful lesson in the proper way to make a proper cocktail. Think of it as a Henry Higgins approach to an aspiring Eliza Doolittle; that is, as an instruction booklet that will slap your hand one moment, then gently take that hand and lead you down to your own basement distillery wherein miracles—providing each step is properly executed—will happen.
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