political books

Before you groan and keep scrolling, this is not another plug to subscribe to Crikey before Christmas. It’s an acknowledgement, that at this point, two days before Santa is meant to arrive, you might be in a sense of panic and the idea of fighting your way through the crowd at your local shopping centre makes you feel a little faint. Well, we are here to help.

If you’re stuck for an idea and don’t want to move away from your computer, why not buy your loved one a gift of words this year? A subscription is the gift that keeps on giving, and the Crikey team has come up with this list of publications that we enjoy, to hopefully help you as well:

Meanjin: One of Australia’s oldest literary journals, it has become unmissable under the editorship of Jonathan Green.

The Economist: Someone once told me they feel smarter after reading The Economist. It’s a good feeling to give to someone.

Voiceworks: This quarterly literary journal is published by Express Media and featuring work by writers under 25 lost its Australia Council funding this year. It’s launched the careers of many Australian writers and editors.

The New Yorker: So they can enter the caption competition.

Gimlet Media: If your loved one can’t stop talking about podcasts, a membership with Gimlet Media will make them very smug and happy. The American start up produces a range of podcasts and membership has a number of insidery benefits.

The Monthly: All the features and long reads from Schwartz Media.

And as we hear a lot about people only reading news and opinions they already agree with, here’s a mischievous idea. Depending on the political leanings of your recipient, buy them a subscription to a news outlet that they wouldn’t usually read. A staunch leftie reading The Australian, or your right wing brother reading The Saturday Paper. Who knows, they might learn something.

Of course, the gift of words doesn’t always have to be entirely journalistic. Video games have advanced a lot from shooters and other tactile challenges, where the true challenge is one of how quick your reflexes are. For the lover of mythology, why not gift them an online purchase of The Banner Saga, a fantastic story-driven game (now with a sequel) about the end of the world inspired by Viking mythology. For the politically conscious, why not gift Orwell — which places you in the role of a security agent authorised to spy on people to prevent terrorist attacks. Likewise, Papers Please — a very simple game about being a border guard in something like the Soviet Union — riffs on themes of mercy and duty, and how far you’d bend the rules to help those in need.

If you set up a Steam account, it gives you the option of choosing whether to purchase for yourself or for someone else. If you have their email address, Steam handles the rest.

Peter Fray

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Peter Fray
Editor-in-chief of Crikey