Tomorrow – Friday the 13th — is my birthday.
I'm an extremely easy gal to shop for thanks to my myriad of interests. Fave gifts from over the years include: Nic Cage votive candles and throw pillows; George Romero's autograph; cross-stitch samplers of characters from my own novel; artwork of Peter Cushing as Van Helsing; and a handmade zombie doll.
I've even had a roach at the Bronx Zoo named after me. I've got great friends who get how strange I am.
But giving gifts can be just as fun as receiving them, so this year I'm giving y'all the gift of quality recommendations. Here are a few of my favorite things so you can — in the immortal words of "Parks and Recreation" 's Donna Meagle — treat yo self.
5. A NEARLY PERFECT CD: Fall Out Boy's "Infinity On High."
Named after Radioactive Man's sidekick in "The Simpsons," FOB is a pop-punk band that hails from nearby Joliet. They're known for their ridiculous song titles ( such as "Champagne For My Real Friends, Real Pain For My Sham Friends"), catchy choruses and goofy music videos. "Infinity On High" is in my top three favorite FOB albums — there isn't a single skippable song.
4. A NEARLY PERFECT NOVEL: "The Raven Boys" by Maggie Stiefvater.
In a previous life, I was a Barnes & Noble bookseller who handsold more than 100 copies of this book. The first in a quartet, "The Raven Boys" is classified as "young adult," yet I recommend it to everyone. Set in contemporary Virginia, it follows Blue, the daughter of a family of psychics, and four teen boys from a local prep school as they search for the mythic King Glendower (a Welsh version of King Arthur). It's a story full of magic, ghosts, murder, romance, prophecies and beautiful prose, part Southern gothic and part fairy tale.
3. SOMETHING FUN TO DO: Weelittlestitches' Etsy shop (etsy.com/shop/weelittlestitches).
I'm a passionate cross-stitcher. It's a fun way to keep your hands busy while binge-watching TV, and easy enough that anyone can pick it up. Thanks to the internet, you can find goofy, snarky and pop culture-themed patterns if you're not interested in stitching the traditional flowers or simpering kittens. The end result is frameable art that makes for great gifts, and Weelittlestitches' Etsy patterns feature adorable pixelated people that can be stitched in just a couple hours.
2. A NEARLY PERFECT MOVIE: "The Addams Family" (1991).
For years, I've suspected that I'm a long-lost member of the Addams Family. The kooky, ooky and altogether spooky characters are fabulous fun, whether you're talking about the original Charles Addams comics, the TV series of the '60s or Barry Sonnenfeld's films. Deadpan daughter Wednesday (Christina Ricci) is a personal hero, and Gomez (Raul Julia) and Morticia (Anjelica Houston) have the sort of relationship we should all aspire to. I love the Addams' style and outlook on life — they're all about following your passion, no matter how strange it is. This is a movie that never fails to make me warm and fuzzy.
1. A NEARLY PERFECT EPISODE: "Doctor Who" 's "Vincent and the Doctor" (season 5, episode 10).
"Doctor Who" has been around since 1963, but don't feel as though you have to start at the beginning. The beloved BBC series was rebooted in 2005, and this episode — featuring the Eleventh Doctor (Matt Smith) and his companion Amy (Karen Gillan) meeting the tragic artist Vincent van Gogh (Tony Curran) — is one anyone can watch and enjoy. Yes, there's an invisible alien chicken running amok that only Vincent can see. But this episode is more about supporting and loving someone with a mental illness, and how every act of kindness can add to someone's "pile of good things." It's beautiful, it's moving and it remains a highwater mark in the show's 55-year run.
• ANGIE BARRY is a page designer and columnist for The Times. To suggest future topics for The B-List, which covers pop culture, history and literature, contact her at firstname.lastname@example.org.