City Desk

Bad Gift Idea: The Oxford Book of Death

Last December City Paper editor Erik Wemple launched a series on City Desk called "Bad Gift Idea," which catalogued some of the worst things you could possibly give to your loved ones during the holidays. It proved to be one of the biggest features ever on this blog—gathering, at one point, more than 8 million pageviews daily.*

Its sole failing was launching a little too late—I've been getting wish-list requests since Halloween. So there's no time like now to start talking about bad gift ideas. To be fair, The Oxford Book of Death isn't exactly pitching itself as a great gift. But the timing of its publication in the United States—Dec. 15—suggests that it may catch the eye of a few last-minute holiday shoppers. Seems weighty. Looks smart. But totally inappropriate for SAD times.

If you're still tempted, OUP's blog has a few selections of famous last words from some historical figures. For my money (which won't be spent giving this book to a close friend or relative!), Andre Gide's is the best of the batch: "I am afraid my sentences are becoming grammatically incorrect."

* Totally made up. But what media organization is being honest in public about its Web traffic?

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