Ask the Editors: The Return of the Omni Personal Shoppers

Loyal Omni readers might remember that this time last year we put out our shingle to offer book-gift advice for the trickiest readers on your holiday lists. We certainly remember, since it was, hands down, The Most Fun We've Ever Had at Our Jobs (well, with the possible exception of that two-hour lunch with Christopher Hitchens a few years back...). Some of the profiles you sent in were such fascinating character studies that if we could gather a few more they'd make a fine gift book themselves: we remember with particular fondness the Raging Canadian Granny ("My eighty-four year-old grandmother is blind and deaf and in denial of those important facts."), the Mother-in-Law Who Loves Ondaatje and Good Food ("She is my mother-in-law, and despite all stereotypes, I like her."), and, greatest--and most challenging--of all, the Boy Who Taped Cats ("If there is a book of instruction on how to be an irritating little brother, he must have read it three times. Other than that, I don't think he reads.").

So it's with particular relish that we put out our call again: please, stump us, amuse us, and, hopefully, make your holiday shopping a little easier. Post your reader profiles in the comments below, or mail them to us at omnivoracious at We'll post a response a day starting on Wednesday, December 1 (just in time for the first night of Hannukah), and continuing over the next couple of weeks. And if we get more requests than we can handle on Omni, we'll post additional replies on our Facebook page.

By the way, don't be daunted by those admittedly brilliant samples above. We'll be more than happy to reply to requests even if they don't read like they came out of the latest Lydia Davis collection. But be as detailed as you can and have fun capturing the characters in your life, and I can promise you we'll have just as much fun coming up with the best gift ideas we can for them. Thanks! --Tom

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