Tuesday, December 11, 2012
Email today from Monkey's Paw bookstore "Instead of a Holiday Catalogue"
Ten Reasons NOT to Christmas Shop at the Monkey's Paw
1. Their books are old
There's something distinctly macabre about the stock at the Monkey's Paw: dead books on dead subjects, formerly owned by people who are now dead. Are you sure you want to give a gift that's haunted by the ghost of Christmas past?
2. They won't have the book you're looking for
Typical interaction at the Monkey's Paw: a customer, shopping for her husband, asks for Riedman's "Seals, Sea Lions, and Walruses;" the guy at the counter says, "Sorry, we don't have that title... but perhaps we can interest you in a cookbook that contains a mouth-watering recipe for seal-brain fritters..."
3. They have only one copy of each item
In gift-shopping, "unique" really just means extra hassle. Example: your special someone covets an Art Deco guide to interior colour schemes; but by the time you make it to Dundas West, the thing has sold, and your gift plans are dashed. (By contrast, stores that sell scented candles never run out of scented candles.)
4. The prices are too high
For what you'll spend on a mid-century mixology manual at the Monkey's Paw, you could score 750 mL of Canadian Club at the liquor store across the street. And a history of a Parisian cabaret, with gravure photos of showgirls and a nice dustjacket, will set you back as much as a bottle of Pernod.
5. The prices are too low
True, you may find something your sweetheart will really treasure: a mid-'70s photographic survey of hippie denim, or a typography monograph by a renowned Canadian designer. But either of these Monkey's Paw items can be purchased for less than a pair of Ralph Lauren jeans. Is that all your beloved is worth? When it comes to holiday romance, you don't want to look cheap.
6. The atmosphere isn't exactly Christmas-y
You won't hear any Christmas carols at the Monkey's Paw. At best, you might find a package of 1950s Christmas gift tags, or some stereoscopic photos of icicles... but will the 1930s Turkish tango recordings on the sound system really support your holiday mood?
7. You're supposed to be shopping for other people, not yourself
It's a problem: you go to the Monkey's Paw in search of an out-of-the-way gift for Aunt Rhonda, and you end up buying a treat for yourself -- an authoritative book on Satan, or a lurid morsel of paperback smut. If you can't demonstrate some self-restraint, it's probably best to stay away altogether.
8. It sounds like a pinball arcade in there!
With the constant racket from that danged Biblio-Mat -- GRRR-RRRR-RRR-THUNK-DING! -- and all the guffaws from the people who've just acquired some random old book, you can hardly hear yourself think. It's not like you can slip the vending machine "experience" into a Christmas stocking... can you?
9. Browsing is way too time-consuming
Christmas shopping isn't about poring over shelves of old books... it's about checking gifts off the list with maximum efficiency! At the Monkey's Paw you may have to wade through dozens, even hundreds, of obscure titles before you find that 700-page illustrated encyclopedia of kitchen ingredients that your mom is so excited about. Exhausting!
10. Books make impractical gifts anyway
Even in a gigantic country like Canada, there's not enough space to house these bulky, outdated artifacts. Are you really the kind of gift-giver who burdens an innocent victim with a heavy pile of paper?
Happy Holidays from the Monkey's Paw!
The Monkey's Paw
1229 Dundas St. West
Toronto, ON M6J1X6
Extended Holiday Hours:
Open EVERY DAY through Dec. 23, 11 - 6
... and for a few hours on the 24th
Visit Monkeys Paw at http://monkeyspaw.com and http://mo-paw.blogspot.com/