I am seeking advice on two wholly separate topics:
1. I got a girl in the office Secret Santa who I've never met. And who I may not meet before the exchange. Here's what I know from asking everyone else "What do you know about Erin?" She's a lawyer, she's Irish (or at least partially Irish), she... I don't know anything else. Limit is $30. I was thinking of something universal, like a gift card, but I worried that it kind of detracts from the point of a Secret Santa. (Why not just hand over the cash then?) I also considered a gift card/ small item combo. (Like a Starbucks card and mug?) I'd also like to just be a little more creative with it - as if I have that in me, this time of year. All ideas appreciated.
2. A fellow PD blogger emailed for book suggestions to send to a client. Here's what we know about the client: The client is Caucasian, in his mid-30's, he's interested in drawing and art.
One good habit, now that you're a PD, is to keep an eye on the $1 bin. Every now and then I've picked something up and kept it in my office, and eventually I come up with the perfect client to fit the book or vice versa.
I've found that many clients like books on the justice system or other prisoners (which is why I can't wait until Injustice comes out in paperback!) I just try to be cautious that I'm not going to be encouraging my client's crime by letting them read about it. (Some clients will be inspired by reading about another drug addict's plight, others will just crave drugs more.) My clients have enjoyed All God's Children and Live From Death Row by Mumia Abu-Jamal.
I've had a few African-American clients who have told me they were really inspired by Think Big and other books by Dr. Ben Carson, sometimes available in the $1 bin. I've seen Dr. Carson, and he's an amazing speaker. He's an African-American man who grew up in the inner-city and went on to become a world renowned pediatric neurosurgeon. I think it might be of interest to anyone (I liked it), but so far I personally have only had African-American clients read it.
(There are more books I can think of that are of more interest to African-American clients, such as White Mans Justice, Black Mans Grief and Black Robes, White Justice: Why Our Legal System Doesn't Work for Blacks but I'm trying to stick to the question. But they're out there, in case anyone else is wondering.)
I think fiction is a good idea, it gives the client a bit of an escape from their everyday life. I keep thinking of Harry Potter too (although that one will be harder to find in the $1 bin) because it accounts for the fact that clients can't always read at a high level and the cover art might encourage his artistic side. I also think Grisham books or the DaVinci Code books are pretty popular, and probably easy to find cheap used copies of. I've only read one book by Carl Hiassen, but he's usually pretty easy to find cheap used copies of, and I think his books are easy to read and interesting enough.
So... anyone else? Gift advice? Book advice? Books that I can give both to my Secret Santa and to a client?