The Austin Chronicle

Breezy Reads

Stuff your stockings and top your toilets with these just-for-fun picks

December 6, 2013, Arts

Sure, there are always the classics, and great coffee-table finds, and fiction favorites from the past year, but sometimes, you just need a quick pick. Check out our favorite books for the cat ladies, comic lovers, and college kids on your list, and just remember: You're never too old for picture books.

Keep an eye on this space for more gift guide suggestions in the coming weeks.

Coloring for Grown-­Ups: Holiday Fun Book

by Ryan Hunter & Taige Jensen
Plume, 64 pp., $10 (paper)

Where am I, who is this, and how do I leave? Well, holmes, depending on your tastes, she's either redhead, blond, or brunette. That's the opportunity afforded through Ryan Hunter and Taige Jensen's Coloring for Grown-­Ups: Holiday Fun Book, a 64-­page tie­-in to last October's Coloring for Grown­-Ups, stenciling the frames for every dejected Santa, debt-­stricken veteran, and passed-out-drunk leprechaun this really real world could conceivably create. Interspersed throughout are word finds (Pretend to be Jewish!), Mad Libs (China just bought "The Star­-Spangled Banner"; rewrite that shit!), and a 30-year Halloween zeitgeist chart, because we're not ourselves if we don't remember that 2010 was the year we got bodied by Snooki. – Chase Hoffberger

Why Grizzly Bears Should Wear Underpants

by the Oatmeal
Andrews McMeel Publishing, 168 pp., $16.99 (paper)

Forget those insipid, lady mag personality quizzes: This latest collection from web-comic king of the hill Matthew Inman is just as instructive on our inner tickings. Case in point: I did not know that I am the kind of person who gets the giggles over masturbating koala bears. Now I know, and I feel like this is useful information. Alternately a gentle humanist and a rabid, spiral-eyed rage monster, the author applies his illustrated humor to a broad canvas; smartphones, rooster sauce, bad grammar, and fart clouds are just a few of his topics of interest. Turns out I'm also helpless to fart cloud goofs. Like I said, instructive. – Kimberley Jones

I Am Pusheen the Cat

by Claire Belton
Touchstone, 192 pp., $14.99 (paper)

T-Rex Trying

by Hugh Murphy
Plume, 128 pp., $13

The journey from blog to book is by now a well-worn and borderline predictable one (see also: the Oatmeal's latest, above), but two recent releases draw a map of that road that's both completely simple and full of childlike joy.

Claire Belton's Tumblr about her family's fat and lazy gray cat Pusheen (puisín means "kitten" in Irish) has won over thousands, and Pusheen newcomers will be thrilled by the bubbly illustrations of the kitty with her favorite foods and friends. We miss seeing those tiny legs in animated GIF form, though.

In T-Rex Trying, the carnivorous king struggles with his tiny arms in hilarious fashion. You'll find yourself sympathizing with the poor guy – and cheering for him as he finds activities better suited to his body type. – Monica Riese

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