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Guest post by author Jody Brown

Need a stocking stuffer for that person who has everything? Need time to collect your thoughts and unwind? Come to Söntés! Not only can you treat yourself to an amazing lunch or dinner (or rest your weary shopping bones by the fireplace, cocktail in hand), but you can also rejuvenate your spirit by taking in the local art on the walls and by visiting my bookshelf.

Yes, bookshelf. Cicero said, “A room without books is like a body without a soul.” At Söntés, we’ve taken his words to heart! What restaurant would be complete without a bookshelf? Located next to the Wine Vault, between the entryway and the bar, sits the bookshelf that Tessa uncovered to hold my first published novel, Upside Down Kingdom.

What’s so great about a book, and why is it a must-have gift? Allow me to wax poetic: Upside Down Kingdom is a laugh-out-loud, inside perspective on waiting tables and Washington, D.C., filled with colorful Dupont Circle characters and first-job-out-of-college disillusionment. One day we’ll see it taught in universities. (I’m not entirely kidding.) As I type this, Upside Down Kingdom is being taught in Dr. John Sievers’ Humanities course at Rochester Community and Technical College (RCTC), and I’ve been asked to return again in the spring. Not bad for its first nine months in print!

Whether you have time to read it now or will save it for the winter months, or you just want to set it on your bookshelf as your personal copy of “what the fuss is all about,” a signed copy of Upside Down Kingdom is a unique and thoughtful gift (for yourself, or) for that hard-to-shop-for friend. At Söntés, hard and soft cover books are available, and Söntés guests can buy signed, personalized books at 20% off the Barnes and Noble retail price.

During the holidays with my family, the best gifts always come with stories. You open a gift, usually an everyday item like a book or pen, and someone will pipe up, “Oh, let me tell you about that one!” And they’ll launch into the story of how they came upon the idea for the gift, where and how the gift was found, what terrible weather conditions were endured (my family’s in Pittsburgh), with what savvy shopping skills and colorful characters, helping in the nick of time, brought that gift to my hands… Over the years, I’ve acquired a diverse collection of signed books, and an equally diverse collection of “I once met this author” stories told to me by family and friends. These stories are my favorite gifts.

This holiday season, treat yourself to some “me time” at Söntés while you complete your shopping. Renew your spirit with some chorizo stuffed dates and a glass of Cune Rioja, purchase a Söntés gift card in any dollar amount as a future gift to yourself (or as a last-minute “rescue” gift for someone overlooked), take in the one-of-a-kind artwork (all of which is for sale at great prices), and pick up a copy of my book for yourself or for that friend who has everything. I’d be honored to meet you and personalize the book to you or your giftee (or to simply autograph it so you can use it as a rescue gift!).

No one needs to know you had a great and relaxing time completing your holiday shopping. But if you’re like my family, you’ll tell everyone the tale of how you happened into our warm and well-lit Söntés on a dark and stormy night, felt at home thanks to the welcoming and happy staff, enjoyed the best food and spirits you’ve ever tasted, warmed yourself by the fire, and met this author…