Gift Guide: Books + Blankets

Perfect pairings for the colder months

Bidding farewell to summer is bittersweet. As longer, warmer days make way for gloomier weather, there’s still plenty to look forward to. And one of the most simple pleasures of autumn and winter is reading a good book while wrapped up in a blanket. As the wind, hail, rain or snow whizzes around outside and you’re cozy indoors, here are some pairings to consider—from poetry to novels, memoirs and beyond.

Crying In H Mart

In her lyrical and candid memoir Crying in H Mart ($27) Japanese Breakfast’s Michelle Zauner maps her moving journey through grief, familial issues and selfhood in the wake of her mother’s passing. The debut is an expansion of Zauner’s 2018 New Yorker essay of the same name, adapted to chart the singer’s childhood years in the predominately white town of Eugene, Oregon, early gigs she played with her burgeoning band on the east coast and reclamation of her Korean American identity. Just like Zauner’s stage presence, her prose gracefully and powerfully captivates.

Matisse Throw

Founded four years ago by Byron and Dexter Peart, GOODEE World (a certified B Corp) works to sell appealing, practical and beautifully made products that make a positive social impact. One such item is this Matisse Throw blanket ($325) by family-owned Spanish brand Ezcaray, which focuses on traditional craftsmanship. Made from 50% mohair, 48% wool and 2% polyamide, it’s entirely crafted by hand—from dyeing to washing and weaving.

In The Dream House

Written by Carmen Maria Machado, In The Dream House ($25) begins with a dedication, epigraphs, an overture, a prologue, and after reading just a few pages, the reader understands that the format of this memoir is like no other. Machado writes of toxic relationships, domestic abuse, memory and queerness through the lens of pop culture, history, her own story and even her story written in the second person—as your story. Readers join Machado as she attempts to make sense of her relationship with her girlfriend (“the woman in the Dream House,” who never gets a name, but readers know her—and Machado’s fear of her—intimately) and find context for the experience. The haunting tale is equal parts dark fairytale, history lesson and autobiography, but it cannot be reduced to such categories. An incredibly moving book, its story, structure and language leave readers changed.

Panoramas Wool Blanket

Swiss artist Roland Schär captures the essence of landscapes—spontaneous lines, playful textures and vibrant colors sweep through his compelling work. ZigZagZurich’s Panoramas blanket ($216) celebrates the artist’s vision, turning his unbound abstract scenery into a 100% New Zealand wool blanket. Woven in Europe and measuring 55 by 79 inches, the Nordic-style jacquard blanket is guaranteed to keep even the coldest toes warm.

Pilgrim Bell

Poet Kaveh Akbar’s Pilgrim Bell ($16) embarks on a divine journey, meditating on his family’s life as Muslims in America, the immigrant experience and struggles with addiction. Once again, the award-winning writer proves his masterful control over language, finding faith within darkness and the self beneath the surface of his work. Fiercely intimate and lyrically vivid, this book of poems is a moving and memorable read.

Karrinyarra Throw Blanket

Made with 100% cotton and yarn that’s 70% recycled, the Karrinyarra throw ($230) is designed by Aboriginal artist Emma Daniels in collaboration with  Koskela and Slowdown Studio for the Tangentyere collection—a line dedicated to showcasing Indigenous Australian artists. This blanket features elements of Papunya and Karrinyarra country, paying homage to Daniels’ culture and community. Proceeds from the licensing fee for this blanket directly support the artist’s estate and the not-for-profit art center, Tangentyere Artists.

TUFF

This hilarious yet bitingly honest novel by Paul Beatty stars a misfit teenager from Harlem who wants to run for City Council. As the protagonist (who the author describes as a “masterless samurai”) embarks on a journey, the poet and novelist weaves together a fast-paced satire that delves into the numerous barriers and boundaries that exist in the US. Be it a sardonic look at local and rhetorical politics or an exposé on the pitfalls of media representation, Beatty’s TUFF ($16) is a work of incisive and gripping literary fiction.

Brooklinen + Pendleton Paths Blanket

Brooklinen teamed up with Pendleton Woolen Mills to create a synergetic and comforting Paths Blanket ($350). The glorious piece (composed of 82% pure wool and 18% cotton) is made in the US and inspired by the geometric shapes found in traditional hand-sewn quilts, as well as cityscapes. By pulling these various abstract designs and structures together, the collaborative, 64 by 80 inch throw is a welcoming and bright piece for a cozy home.

Detransition, Baby

A witty, tender look into the inner lives of three women—Reese, trans woman; Katrina, a cis woman; and Ames, who lived as a woman for six years and then detransitioned—Torrey Peters’ debut novel explores deep, sometimes dark, places that few writers dare to venture. Beginning with an unplanned pregnancy, the story of love, self-discovery, loss and pain follows the three characters on a journey that intertwines them in vulnerable, complicated ways. Detransition, Baby ($25) challenges ideas about motherhood, family and gender, jumping head-first into some of the most painful and taboo topics. Peters makes an immensely unique, personal tale exist also as an illuminating note on US culture—without being didactic.

Color Pop Woven Throw

Playfulness imbues every stitch of the Color Pop Woven Throw ($169). Crafted using 100% cotton that’s grown and woven in the US, this blanket is bursting with joy—from its rainbow fringe to its whimsical illustrations. Designed by Lucky Pablo Textiles with the intention of increasing optimism during lockdown, the woven blanket can easily double as wall decor. Either way it’s used, this piece adds visual and physical positivity into the home.

Minor Feelings: An Asian American Reckoning

Through memoir and cultural criticism, Cathy Park Hong unflinchingly examines the nuances of being an Asian American in Minor Feelings: An Asian American Reckoning ($17). The poet and essayist doesn’t shy away from uncomfortable thoughts around race in the US. Rather, she dives into them, exploring unsaid or hard to explain feelings about racial identity. While this paints an accurate portrait of Asian American experiences, Hong’s writing is more than a current state of affairs. Her sharp political and emotional insight—revealed through Hong’s memories and relation to English—fosters an urgent and resonant pursuit toward liberation.

Tie Dye Mohair Throw

The glorious, handmade Tie Dye Mohair Throw ($498) from Jonathan Adler is mesmerizing and cloud-like in both of its color variations. 73% mohair and 24% wool, the blanket captivates the eye while protecting against cool temperatures. It is sheared, dyed and woven in Spain at an iconic mill that has been operating since approximately 1930. Toward the bottom, the throw is completed with a touch of texture, using a dreamy fringe.

Kaleidoscope Book

From imaginative author and illustrator Brian Selznick, the storyteller behind The Invention of Hugo Cabret, Wonderstruck and other beloved books, comes an exquisite, fragmented rumination on grief, Kaleidoscope ($20). A deeply moving literary escapade, Selznick’s latest is greater than the sum of the wondrous vignettes that traverse its pages. Its profound narrative and the emotional pools beneath are accessible to readers from age 10 to adulthood.

Revontuli Mohair Blanket

Inspired by the northern lights, this richly textured and colorfully brilliant Revontuli Mohair Blanket ($227), designed by Elina Helenius, is woven with luxuriously soft, mulesing-free South African mohair and New Zealand wool at a Lithuanian sewing company. The blanket’s name comes from the Finnish word for aurora borealis and, like the natural wonder from which this blanket draws its muse, it captivates through a mix of green and petrol.

Earthlings

After Sayaka Murata’s first book to be translated in English, Convenience Store Woman, garnered a cult following with over a million copies sold worldwide, the writer is back with an even more shocking and strange novel, Earthlings ($17). The book tells the story of a young girl who feels alienated by society until, one day, she confides in her best friend and plush hedgehog, Piyyut, who blesses her with magical powers. Together, the narrator and her similarly disenfranchised cousin (who thinks he’s an alien), make a pact to navigate the world together. While this may sound like a dreamy childhood story delivered through light prose, Murata’s novel still remains as dark and vivd as ever—especially as the now-adult protagonist reckons with womanhood and the consequences of escaping a stifling world—from murder all the way down to cannibalism.

Amoeba Blanket

Musician Talia Leah (better known by the moniker Rodes Rollins) designed this 100% cotton blanket in her Brooklyn studio and shop, Clr. Bold and modern, the embroidered statement Amoeba Blanket ($139) will suit almost any space, given its black and oat color block, while the multi-colored contrast fringe adds a touch of levity to this piece.

Warmth: Coming of Age at the End of the World

Daniel Sherrell’s debut book, Warmth: Coming of Age at the End of the World ($17), captures the spectrum of feelings that living in a climate crisis initiates—frustration from watered-down Green Bills, grief from the lives and species lost to preventable causes, numbness from the ever-mounting reports about the state of the environment, and beyond. Part memoir and part love letter, Warmth takes an intimate look into Sherrell’s life as he fights for change within the movement to imagine what a future and family look like under climate change. His book asks—himself and readers—”How do we go on in a world that may not?”

Papaya Knit Blanket

Home goods brand Cold Picnic (founded by partners Phoebe Sung and Peter Buer) explores real and imagined landscapes through textiles and home decor. In the Papaya Knit Blanket ($210) the Brooklyn-based duo designed a bright and conceptual scene, resplendent in warm peach and orange tones. Like many of their products, the throw is made by a family-owned company in New Jersey, who have been operating knitting mills since the early 1900s.

Images courtesy of respective brands, hero image of Emma Daniels’ Karrinyarra throw courtesy of Slowdown Studio