Wanna rub elbows with a National Book Award winner? Then circle December 17 on the ol' iCal, because among the already-impressive lineup of writers featured at Oregon Humanities' annual holiday party and book sale is newly crowned book award winner Mary Szybist, who snagged the honor for her poetry collection Incarnadine. Also featured: Monica Drake, Dan Deweese, Brian Doyle, and former Mercurian Sarah Mirk.

Talk of holiday book shopping begs a question. Asking it makes me feel like a bad person. But here goes: Do books make good Christmas presents? For me, at least, they don't, despite the fact that everyone in my family will be receiving one from me this year, as they do every year. (Sorry family! I love you!) I like the idea of my holiday spending money going to support local bookstores and local authors, but I don't particularly like receiving books as gifts; the to-read pile on my nightstand is perilously tall as it is, and the last thing I need is one more book to feel guilty about not reading. (This might be a side effect of books being part of my day job? I'm not sure sure.) But then again, if you're going to give someone a gift they don't particularly need or want (tis the season), it might as well at least be something that's meaningful to you, right? I guess? All I know is that my brother-in-law gave me a copy of Merle's Door like four years ago and I haven't still read it.

On the other hand, though, you really couldn't go wrong with Cheryl Strayed'sWild for moms last year. And I can't imagine anyone not being excited to get a copy of the The Most of Nora Ephron this year—as I wrote in my holiday wish list, it's an amazing collection of screenplays, fiction, and essays. Even I'd be excited to get it.