Seventeen days into our twenty-day journey of The 2022 PopCult Gift Guide, we find ourselves once more pondering the gift-worthiness of a small stack of wonderful books.

Christmas Eve in the Mountain State
by Marly Hazen Ynigues, Emily Prentice (Illustrator)
Ramp Arts, LLC
ISBN-13: 9798986490304
$14.99 Available online from Barnes & Noble

Available to order now, in time for the holidays is Christmas Eve In The Mountain State, a pun-filled storybook about West Virginia, written by Marly Hazen Ynigues, The Pun Poet of West Virginia, and illustrated by Emily Prentice. The book promises playful puns for all 55 counties plus dozens of cities and towns, big and small.

As a life-long West Virginian, and a fan of truly bad puns, this storybook is right up my alley. Our state certainly has enough strange place names to work with, and Marly Hazen Ynigues really makes the most of them. This is one of those books that fun for kids, but probably just as much fun for adults to read to kids. Check out the publisher’s blurb…

“KANAWHA celebrate with you?” Make Christmas Eve in the Mountain State your new holiday tradition with playful puns for all 55 counties and dozens of West Virginia cities and towns, big and small.

“WEIRTON-ight gonna bring you mountain cheer!” Join West Virginians and West Virginia expats home for the holidays. Young mountaineers and recent transplants enjoy opportunities to learn about WV culture while family and friends invite them to be a part of what makes the Mountain State charming, welcoming, and unforgettable. Endearing illustrations depict rural and urban mountain scenes and West Virginian diversity of ages, races, ability, and LGBTQ+ individuals.

Enjoy cultural nods such as the red bandanas and “the pepperoni’s on a roll.” Illustrations include fun touches such as county shapes hidden in the art on the pages where they are mentioned. Packed with Christmas joy and West Virginia pride, you’ll want to read it every year. The perfect Christmas present so we can “Share some PLEASANTS!”

Christmas Eve In The Mountain State is available in a few local bookshops around the state, but you can also order it directly from Barnes & Noble.

Garth Marenghi’s TerrorTome
by Garth Marenghi
Hodder & Stoughton
ISBN: 9781529399400

If you know of Garth Marenghi, then you’re excited that this book is out. Allegedly the alter-ego of Matthew Holness, Marenghi has unleashed his dark imagination onto the printed page. Let’s look at the publisher’s synopsis…

Dare you crack open the TerrorTome? (Mind the spine)

When horror writer Nick Steen gets sucked into a cursed typewriter by the terrifying Type-Face, Dark Lord of the Prolix, the hellish visions inside his head are unleashed for real. Forced to fight his escaping imagination – now leaking out of his own brain – Nick must defend the town of Stalkford from his own fictional horrors, including avascular-necrosis-obsessed serial killer Nelson Strain and Nick’s dreaded throppleganger, the Dark Third.

Can he and Roz, his frequently incorrect female editor, hunt down these incarnate denizens of Nick’s rampaging imaginata before they destroy Stalkford, outer Stalkford and possibly slightly further?

From the twisted genius of horror master Garth Marenghi – Frighternerman, Darkscribe, Doomsage (plus Man-Shee) – come three dark tales from his long-lost multi-volume epic: TerrorTome.

Can a brain leak?
(Yes, it can)

Recommended for fans of horror infused with a healthy dose of absurd humor, and also for fans of Garth Marenghi’s Dark Place. Garth Marenghi’s TerrorTome can most easily be ordered in the United States from Amazon.

Number One Is Walking: My Life in the Movies and Other Diversions
by Steve Martin, illustrated by Harry Bliss
Celadon Books
ISBN-13 ‏ : ‎ 978-1250815293
$30.00 (discounted at Amazon)

Number One Is Walking is Steve Martin’s cinematic legacy―an illustrated memoir of his legendary acting career, with stories from his most popular films and artwork by New Yorker cartoonist Harry Bliss.

Steve Martin has never written about his career in the movies before. In Number One Is Walking, he shares anecdotes from the sets of his beloved films―Father of the Bride, Roxanne, The Jerk, Three Amigos, and many more―bringing readers directly into his world. He shares charming tales of antics, moments of inspiration, and exploits with the likes of Paul McCartney, Diane Keaton, Robin Williams, and Chevy Chase. Martin details his forty years in the movie biz, as well as his stand-up comedy, banjo playing, writing, and cartooning, all with his unparalleled wit.

With gorgeously illustrated cartoons and single-panel “diversions” in Steve and Harry’s signature style, Number One Is Walking is full of the everyday moments that make up a movie star’s life, capturing Steve Martin’s singular humor and acclaimed career in film. The perfect gift from the team who brought you the #1 New York Times bestseller A Wealth of Pigeons.

Recommended as a great gift for any fan of Steve Martin, and that should be most of us. Number One Is Walking should be available from any bookseller using the ISBN code, or from Amazon at a hefty discount.

Fearsome Weirdos Family 
by Robert Jiménez
Independently published
ISBN-13 ‏ : ‎ 979-8363976667
$15 (paperback) $25 (hardcover)

I’ve recommended Robert’s trading card series many times in the past, and now he’s compiled six of them into a hand book, available from Amazon as a paperback or hardcover (use the links above).

Fearsome Weirdos Family is a collection of Fearsome Weirdos trading cards written and illustrated by Robert Jimenez. This book showcases the trading cards from the following sets:

Fearsome Weirdos
Fearsome Weirdos: Harvest Of Horrors
Fearsome Weirdos: Kaiju Creeps
Fearsome Weirdos: Ghouls Of Yule
Startling Lineup
Weird-Ass Faces

Robert’s work has appeared on album covers, in publications such as THE THING: ARTBOOK, VISIONS FROM THE UPSIDE DOWN: STRANGER THINGS ARTBOOK, Tiki Magazine and Pinstriping & Kustom Graphics Magazine, and has shown in galleries including Disneyland’s Wonderground, Harold Golen, M Modern, Creature Features, and Bear & Bird among others.

You can also see Robert’s work in trading card sets for Topps, Cryptozoic, and Upper Deck on licenses such as Garbage Pail Kids, Wacky Packages, Mars Attacks, Star Wars, DC Comics, Marvel Comics, Rick And Morty, Ghostbusters, Adventure Time and more. Most notably, Robert worked on 8 paintings for the Upper Deck trading card set FIREFLY THE ‘VERSE and 9 paintings for WACKY PACKAGES GO TO THE MOVIES by Topps.

This is a cool way to enjoy Robert’s twisted creations in a more easily-accessed format. As a bonus, the cover is a bit of a tribute to the 1970s’ Batman Family comic book.

Recommended for the fan of macabre silliness, lowbrow art and monster culture on your shopping list. For other cool items from Robert, check out his webstore. You’ll find his artwork on shirts, wall art, trading cards, in books and even on shoes.

by Penn Jillette
Akashic Books
ISBN-13 ‏ : ‎ 978-1636140711
$27.95 (discounted at Amazon)

This is a novel by Penn Jillette, of Penn & Teller fame, and I have to admit, I haven’t read it, so here’s what the publisher says…

From Penn Jillette of the legendary magic duo Penn & Teller: a rollicking crime caper that will bend your mind like a spoon.

“Penn Jillette is an atheist, triple-goddamned lunatic, and his book is a glorious Las Vegas lunatic paean to chance and adventure—a page-turning, scabrous, hilarious ride into randomness.”
—Neil Gaiman

“Jillette’s latest novel, Random, is about a young man who inherits his father’s crushing debt to a loan shark and turns to dice—and other dangerous measures—to dig himself out. That the dice bring him luck sends him a new philosophy of leaving decisions both big and small up to chance.”
—New York Times

Two weeks before his twenty-first birthday, Las Vegas native Bobby Ingersoll finds out he’s inherited a crushing gambling debt from his scumbag father. The debt is owed to an even scummier bag named Fraser Ruphart who oversees his bottom-rung criminal empire from the classy-adjacent Trump International Hotel. Bobby’s prospects of paying off the note, which comes due the day he turns twenty-one, are about as dim as the sign on the hotel’s facade.

The two weeks pass in the blink of a (snake) eye, but before Bobby’s luck runs out, he stumbles upon enough cash to pay off Ruphart and change his family’s fortune. More importantly, he finds himself with a new, for lack of a better word, faith.

Bobby does not consign his big break to a “higher power”—what Penn Jillette hero ever could? Instead, he devises and devotes himself to Random, a philosophy where his life choices are based entirely on the roll of his “lucky” dice. What follows is a rollicking exploration into not so much what defines us as what divines us when we give over every decision—from what to eat to whom to marry to how or when to die—to the random fall of two numbered cubes.

Random combines the intellectual curiosity of Richard Dawkins with the humor and grit of an Elmore Leonard antihero. Jillette’s up-on-his-luck Ingersoll is the character we need to help us navigate the chaos of the post-truth era.

Well, unless his roll runs cold.

Sounds entertaining and intriguing, and is likely a great gift idea for any fan of Penn & Teller.

Tomorrow The 2022 PopCult Gift Guide has you covered with T-shirts.