A Librarian Spy Christmas List
By Genevieve Cogman
My protagonist Irene spies for the Invisible Library, a perilous, full-time job. It's a secretive inter-dimensional organisation which acquires or even, *cough,* steals books - purely to maintain order and hold back chaos to be clear. But, more importantly, what does it do for Christmas?!
The Library doesn’t actually observe Christmas as a holiday. Librarians come from too many different worlds and cultures to even agree on a definitive interpretation of Christmas. One Librarian’s Yule log may be another Librarian’s dubious phallic symbol. And Librarians don’t get time off for Christmas: the Library never rests.
However, many Librarians work in the field in alternate worlds. As such, they find themselves observing Christmas, or similar holidays, with friends they’ve made during these postings. They might even end up giving and receiving Christmas presents, which can result in their new friends facing the problem of what to give them. (You can probably guess what Librarians will be giving their new friends. A clue: books.)
But what do you get a Librarian? Are books too obvious a gift? Do they have too many already? A few other Christmas present suggestions follow, for the discriminating individual with a Librarian in their life. Click images to find out more . . .
Pact Coffee subscription
1) Many Librarians don’t get much sleep, what with the book-hunting, the research, the investigations, the death threats, the conspiracies, and so on. Your local Librarian will therefore appreciate coffee. (If not coffee, then some other legal stimulant.) Both you and they will benefit from this – next time you need help in translating an ancient curse or blackmail letter at two in the morning, you can be sure that they’ll be up and awake.
Molton Brown Christmas gift pack
2) All that spending time in old buildings (particularly collapsing ones) or handling dusty books, or wrenching muscles by dangling off cliffs, will leave your Librarian needing a hot bath. Pamper them with some fragrant bath oils or scented soaps.
Book Rest Lamp
3) Your Librarian may not have perfect vision, and working in poor light will only make things worse. Present your friend with a bedside or desk lamp, so that when they are reading late into the night, you can be sure that there's no eye strain. (Or at least, no more than usual.)
Tartan Pure Wool Smoking Jacket
4) Perhaps your Librarian would like a comfortable dressing-gown to lounge in while reading late at night? More elegant Librarians may prefer heavy silk or brocade, while more comfort-oriented ones might specify a fleece robe or even a onesie. (If you are from a world or period which predates the invention of the onesie, please ask your Librarian for further details.) Sheer gauze or silk peignoirs are unlikely to be welcome - unless you already have that sort of relationship with your Librarian.
The Library Restaurant, The Rubens Hotel
5) What could be better than a pleasant night out together? A trip to the theatre, a meal at an excellent restaurant . . . and anything else that may follow. (The author takes no responsibility for consequences if the evening is interrupted by giant mechanical centipedes, poisonous spiders, Fae conspiracies, rampaging dragons, etcetera.)
The Crystal Maze Experience, London
6) Many Librarians will have an apprentice, student or similar dependent. Take this person off their hands and let them have some private time. Allow the poor Librarian to lose themselves in some of their beloved and neglected books, and drag the student off for a fun night out. Why not take this individual to investigate a criminal case, solve a mystery or to a local poetry slam session? Your Librarian will be eternally grateful.
Book & A Brew subscription service
7) Books. Need we say more? Despite earlier comments about them having so many already, books are still like catnip to a true Librarian. Alternatively, vouchers for the local bookshop are a good option, and let them choose their own reading. Note that this present should be combined with giving the Librarian time on their own to actually read the books, or else it’s just sadistic cruelty.
Science Museum Fingerprint Kit
8) Small practical items which will make it easier for them do their jobs are always appreciated, even if they lack the glamour of some other suggestions. Lock-picks, concealed weapons, pens and notebooks, maps, train timetables, mobile phones, good running shoes...
Ricatech 5-in-1 Music Centre
9) Everyone likes some form of music. Find out what type your Librarian particularly enjoys, and give them a recording – tape, CD, wax cylinder, record, trapped sonic vibration, whatever method your mutual world uses. Consider their personal preference rather than yours. Just because you like complex solo violin concertos doesn’t necessarily mean this is reciprocated.
Hennessy 250th Anniversary Brandy, Harrods
10) If all else fails, choose alcohol. They'll probably need it. Brandy for preference. Lots of brandy.
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Genevieve's the author of the fantastic The Invisible Library sereis, including The Invisible Library, The Masked City and The Burning Page, and the forthcoming The Lost Plot. We're biased, but we think they'd make excellent Christmas presents for the Librarian Spy in your life. Click the images below for extracts!