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Stocking Stuffer Guide!

It's that time of year again: making merry at holiday parties, trimming the tree, wearing the ugly Christmas sweater, listening to the dulcet crooning of Nat King Cole or the upbeat melodies of the Boney M Christmas album. Whether your an uber organizer with all the presents bought and wrapped, sitting snugly under the tree (give the rest of us a break, will you?), still scrambling to buy everyone presents (that's more like it), or the person who hasn't even started shopping yet (eeeek), chances are stocking stuffers are the last thing on the list and the last thing on your mind. So, to keep you a) stress free and b) from re-gifting last years sundry trinkets and hotel soaps, we here at Manda have created a rockin' Christmas guide to soothe your stocking stuffer blues. We have something for everyone!

The Hipster

Too cool for traditional stuffers? For even the TRENDIEST hipster: the Great Moustache Magnet Set (The Unemployed Philosophers Guild) is for anyone missing the funny facial hair that was rampant in 'Movember.'

The adorable Little Book of Vintage series carries horror, crime, combat, romance, love, sci-fi, and sauciness titles (Ilex). These authentic vintage comics and old print advertisements are hilarious, awesome, and come in miniature with a rockin' retro fridge magnet in the back!

And for good measure, why not throw in the small format book by Ryan Mecum, Dawn of Zombie Haiku (How Books, 1440312869). It's a short fiction narrative haiku that is ugly-cry in public funny. "Shall I compare thee to a luscious frontal lobe? If so, thou shall LOSE." Good to know zombie. Inspiring. Really.

The Sweet Grandma (Or Gran, Nonna, Oma, etc)

I don't know about your grandma, but mine really likes to knit. I'm planning on rolling up some of D&C's Simple Knits pattern booklets to put in the stocking opening. Cushions & Pillows has some really nice patterns.

Christmas Joy by Susan Branch (Little Brown, 0316106828) is a small book brimming with holiday spirit. It is everything Christmas, and a perfect reminder of what makes the season so special (there might also be a few delicious cookies that my Grandma is sure to want to add to her repertoire.)

A beautiful deck of cards always comes in handy, especially if your grandmother likes to invite friends over for bridge and Bellini nights! Pomegranate makes some beautiful decks, and these ones, modeled after Charley Harpers Under the Sweetgum Tree (9780764960277) are particularly delectable.

Throw in a beautiful art cube puzzle by Made in Museum and you are good to go. The Splendors of Portuguese Ceramics puzzle is really beautiful.

The Adorkable Darling

(aka nerd, gamer, pop-culture fanatic, perpetual child, 0r actual child)

Oh Doctor Who mug. What else can I say?

Oh wait... The tardis will dissappear and transport into deep space when this ingenious Unemployed Philosophers Guild mug has hot liquid in it? NO WAY. All it takes is a cup of coffee for you to become the next time traveling Doctor Who. Now the question is are you a Matt Smith or a David Tennant kind of Doctor?

If your stocking owner hasn't quite reached THAT level of nerd yet, then a great alternative is the Game of Thrones coffee mug that Dark Horse produces. Whether the dork in your family is a fan of the television show, the George R.R. Martin books it is adapted from, or both, the mug will be a big hit.

 MiniMates are another fail proof option. Little kids, big kids, and kids at heart all love to play with these Lego-like figurines. Cult favourites include Spider man, Iron man, Thor, Captain America, the X-men, and even some feature characters from the video game Halo. Diamonds got both comic book aficionados and gamers covered.

 And an adorkable stocking would not be complete without the Marvel Star Wars Millennium Falcon bottle opener produced by Diamond Select Toys.

The Alcohol Enthusiast

Start the stocking off right with Jiggle Shots, a little book by Abrams Image that helps get the party started with delicious and hazardous recipes.

And for the connoisseur?

A 2013 Wine Calendar in extra small by Andrews McMeel Publishing that has a years worth of tips and facts about wine. 

 If you want to top your drinks off with the perfect garnish, try DC's Darth Vader, Batman, or Superman shaped ice cubes. Nothing says your drinking a Darth Vader cocktail like his ice cube likeness floating in your glass.

Last but not least, the hilarious pocket book 50 ways to Cure a Hangover (Octopus Publishing Group, 9781846014055) is the perfect stocking stuffer for the morning after the party is over. Written by Cara Frost-Sharatt and illustrated by Jason Ford this cute little book proves that a little laughter is always the best cure.


Attention all Fanboys and Fangirls!

It's finally here! Yes, yes, the new Batman movie is here, too, but I'm actually talking about Abrams Books' The Art and Making of the Dark Knight Trilogy! It's the perfect companion to celebrate the third and final film in director Christopher Nolan's Batman trilogy.

The book covers all three movies in three sections: Pre-Production, Production and Post-Production.

In Pre-Production, the screenplays, production design, cast, costumes and makeup are discussed for all three films. Likewise, Production covers all aspects of each shoot, including special effects and stunts. The book closes with details of Post-Production including editing, music and sound, visual effects and even marketing. It's everything you wanted to know about the making of the biggest trilogy of recent years in one beautifully put-together package.

And let's not forget that it's an Abrams book so, of course, it also contains fantastic photography throughout. In fact, the inside-front cover through the first 24 pages all feature full- (or double-) page spreads which beautifully lay the groundwork for what's to follow. Images of all the principal stars, comic and poster artwork, scene layouts and special effects shots complement the text in every chapter, explaining how and why everything was done before, during and after the shooting of each movie. As a bonus, The Art and Making of The Dark Knight Trilogy starts with a foreword by Christopher Nolan as well as an introduction by Michael Caine.

For Batman fans anywhere, this is the perfect package to remember and revisit this incarnation of The Batman anytime. To rephrase Ra's al Ghul: - If you make yourself more than just a book, if you devote yourself to an ideal and if they can't stop you, you become something else entirely... - What's that? – ...a legend...

Game of Thrones

With the thrilling conclusion to Game of Thrones season 2 now passed, fans everywhere are left in suspense with a long wait ahead for season 3. Want to keep the Game of Thrones vibe alive? Here's how! Publisher: Adams Media ISBN: 9781440538728 CAD $20.99

Eat like a Lannister! Brew spirits to warm you in the coming winter. Treat guests to exotic sweets and alchemy-inspired cocktails. With this collection of hearty meals inspired by George R. R. Martin's A Song of Ice and Fire series, it's all possible! Every dish finds its roots in the pages that brought Westeros to life, including:

* Pentoshi Mushrooms in Butter and Garlic - a seductive and aromatic side dish, perfect for any exotic feast.

* Arya's Lemon Cakes - served warm off the griddle, these sweets are what daydreams are made of.

* Tyrian's Leg of Lamb - garlic, goat cheese, and basil make this a roast worth living for.

And so much more!

Keep Game of Thrones alive with The Unofficial Game of Thrones Cookbook! You don't want to miss it.

Superheroes That didn't Make the Cut

Everyone has their favorite superhero. Maybe it's Superman, the man of steel. Or perhaps it's Batman, the billionaire vigilante. No matter who it is, something about them catches our interest. They just work. But what if they didn't? Publisher: Medallion Press ISBN: 9781605422701 CAD $29.99

Fallen Superheroes is an interesting compilation of superheroes that wouldn't quite work. Imagine a superhero with a fatal flaw that was just a little too much. Take Vane for example. Vane is a fantastic hero that can save lives when he has to. But only when he's not completely distracted by the reflection of his beautiful face! Or Viking Hawk! A hero who can't decide  on what to call himself and is completely OCD to the point where gum on his shoe will stop him in his tracks!

This book strives to show us the vulnerability of life, our embarassing failures, and those colorful people who dare to dream light-years ahead of themselves. Sometimes, those with the most extraordinary abilities are the most ordinary people. And sometimes, it's the heroes who need the rescuing.

So Ye Want to Speak Like A Pirate Do Ye?

Did you ever want to be a pirate when you were younger? From time to time, you can still come across people trying to speak like one. That's probably because it's so much fun! ISBN: 9781582974897 Publisher: F & W Media CAD $17.99

This is one of the more unique books in our collection. The Pirate Primer is the only book that can actually teach you to speak pirate! "Whether you're simply fascinated by the culture of the Brethren of the coast or you fancy yourself a modern-day corsair, The Pirate Primer is your guide to authentic pirate speak."

What you can expect to find inside: - 60 different pirate terms for "woman" - 67 kinds of pirate torture and punishment - 44 distinct definitions of "arrgh"

and so much more!

The Avengers!!!

I hope everyone is really excited because The Avengers movie is coming out tomorrow!I bet you want a sneak preview don't you.

ISBN:  9781423154778 Publisher: Marvel Press CAD $4.50 Marvel, being the great guys that they are, have released an awesome kids book based on the major motion picture! It will fill you in on everything you need to know about The Avengers before anyone else.

Don't want to be caught reading a kids book? Well you won't find a sneak preview anywhere else, so I suggest you get in touch with your childish side!

WARNING! Spoiler Alert!

You know that movie that everyone has seen? Everyone but you? Have no fear! This book is here to solve all of your movie watching problems! ISBN: 9780762773848 Publisher: Globe Pequot CAD $14.50 Spoiler Alert is a great way to catch up on pop culture.  It's also the perfect way to prove to your friends that you know what you're talking when it comes to movies. Robb Pearlman gives away the ending of every movie you can think of to date! Sure, you could always watch the movie and find out. But that's time consuming and a maybe even a waste of time. Don't you just want to know? For example, if you haven't already seen it, at the end of The Fighter, Mark Wahlberg.... Just kidding! We'll let the book tell you all about it.

Don't you just want to know?

Guinness World Records 2012 Available Now!

The 2012 edition of Guinness World Records is now available everywhere books are sold! Highlights include Most Dogs Skipping, Biggest Afro, Tightest Parallel Park, updated new records on classics like Longest Fingernails, and over 4000 more. In addition to 900 eye-popping photos, this year's edition offers hidden augmented reality technology: see the pictures come alive! Visit the GWR website for more details and a sneak peek...

Darth Paper Instructional Video!

book announcement
Tom Angleberger
author of Darth Paper Stikes Back

 Tom Angleberger’s Strange Case of Origami Yoda was hailed as “delightful” by the New York Times and called “the most original novel of the year” by the Boston Globe.  This fall Abrams is releasing the sequel Darth Paper Strikes Back (9781419700279), a hilarious exploration of the intrigues, fads and dramas of middle school.   The author recently posted a helpful instructional video on how to fold Darth Paper. Check out the video here! You can also visit his website at



Twitter and publishing: a marriage made in heaven

Twitter and publishing"New research conducted by the Social Media Usability Group shows that 83% of publishing professionals, given a straight choice between Twitter and their partners, would choose Twitter. One enthusiastic editor confirmed the sentiment 'Twitter is like the good old days of publishing; great fun and no one really knows what's going on' and goes on to say 'my wife tweeted to me that she'd like to talk IRL, TBH I thought's caused quite a #rift'." Read the rest of this story at



Scott Pilgrim Autograph Session in Toronto!!!

Scott Pilgrim's Precious Little Box SetCalling all Scott Pilgrim Fans. To celebrate the release of Scott Pilgrim vs. The World on DVD, HMV is hosting an exclusive meet & greet with Scott Pilgrim creator Bryan Lee O’Malley, as well as director Edgar Wright and cast member Ellen Wong. Head down to 333 Yonge Street this Friday, November 5th at 12:30pm to meet the Scott Pilgrim crew and have them autograph one, two, or the whole series of graphic novels! The first 75 people in line will also receive a double pass to the Fan Screening and Q&A at Bloor Cinema.

For more info on all things Scott Pilgrim click HERE.

Scott Pilgrim HMV Signing



Total global annihilation!...almost.

So, according to The Daily Galaxy, our planet narrowly avoided total destruction yesterday – the latest installment in a 70-million-year lucky streak, without which we would not exist. Kinda makes the so-called death of print sound like a minor issue, eh? To ease my panic, I called upon one of our national heroes, who has plenty of experience with foreign objects from outer space. That's right – William Shatner. According to Star Trek: The Original Series 365 (Abrams, hardcover, ISBN 978-0-8109-9172-9, $38.95 CDN), he "hoped to wrestle" (p. 97) a live rented tiger to the ground during the production of classic episode "Shore Leave," although the idea didn't fly with the crew. Sounds to me like a guy who can shoot a couple of asteroids out of the sky – a far cry from the peacenik approach of Jean-Luc Picard. In a quote from "This Side of Paradise," the memorable episode in which Spock, under the influence of alien spores, succumbs to human emotion, Captain James Kirk says, "We weren't meant for [Paradise]. None of us. Man stagnates if he has no ambition, no desire to be more than he is." (p. 131)

A thick, widescreen-proportioned hardcover, Star Trek 365 consists of over 700 pages of beautiful photographs and long lost lore from all 79 episodes of the original Star Trek series. Publisher Abrams describes it as "the definitive, authorized guide (...) for old and new fans alike."

Although Star Trek barely survived the entirety of its original run from 1966-1969 – extended into a third season largely because of a massive fan-driven letter writing campaign (p. 263), and, um, Lucille Ball – it became a hit in reruns during the 1970s, which was when I, and many others of my generation, started watching it as a kid. The original series has of course spawned several spinoff series and movies, merchandise, and of course books and comics. So far, this particular book stands out for me as a very effective memory aid – just flipping through, I've pleasantly recalled some of the weirdest episodes of the show, including "This Side of Paradise" mentioned above, which I will forever remember as the "Spock laughing" episode.

Another example: there was the one where Kirk, Spock, McCoy and Yeoman Janice Rand – with a very complex wicker-like hairdo in many of these photos – visit a planet identical to 1960s earth populated only by filthy, feral children.

SPOCK: Guards! Cover me. CHILDREN [OC]: Nyah na nyah. (stones are dropped from above) Nyah na nyah. Nyah na nyah. Nyah na nyah. Nyah na nyah. Nyah na nyah. Nyah na nyah. Nyah na nyah. Nyah na nyah. Nyah na nyah! [...] SPOCK: Children, Captain. Lots of them. We couldn't begin to get close to them. They just seemed to scurry away, like animals. Only children. [from Chrissie's Transcripts Site]

Brilliant stuff, for sure. But even stranger than this episode is the fact that one of these children was played by actor Phil Morris, a seven-year-old at the time. He has since held many roles in moves and TV, but you'll probably know him best as lawyer Jackie Chiles in Seinfeld. (p. 77)

This is a fun book about what has become a very popular fictional universe. It's definitely more fun than thinking about the real universe – or specifically, how close we often are to global annihilation.

Do you have any fondly remembered episodes from the original series? Post them in the comments section below!