LitReactor's Black Friday Picks for Readers and Writers

It’s Black Friday. Dust those pie crust crumbs off your distended belly, sit up, and pay attention!

Black Friday is a tough one for writers. On one hand, we like to think of ourselves as being less attached to objects than others. On the other hand, most of us aren’t swimming in cash.

I'm not going to ply you with some "more you buy, more you save" nonsense. You're smarter than that. Which is why I'm going to say this nonsense instead: There are times for principles, and then there are times to be smart. When a pair of headphones that can make you dead to the world is 40% off, that’s the time to be smart.

Old School 

Sharpie Pens

I have a pen policy. I carry two. One is nice and I don’t mind lending it to you. The other is really nice, and I would mind lending it to you. Basically, I have the decoy pen and then the actual pen. This system has never failed me yet. The real question is whether the Sharpie pens are the decoy or not. I'll never tell. 

Buy Sharpie Plastic Point Stick Water Resistant Pen, Ink, Fine, Pack of 12, Black (1742663) from


Parker Jotter

Want to jump into the fancy pen waters? Here you go. Just don't tell anyone you paid half what they did. Pen snobs don't know how to appreciate a good bargain.

Buy Parker Jotter Premium Stainless Steel Diagonal CT Ballpoint Pen, Gift Box from


Office Spaces

Time Timer

Yes, I'm aware that the name is profoundly stupid. But when it comes to word sprints, Pomodoro, or whatever technique you're using, the Time Timer times time like no other.

Buy Time Timer MOD (Charcoal), 60 Minute Visual Analog Timer, Optional Alert (On/Off), No Loud Ticking; Time Management Tool from


Brother Label Maker

Here's a concept: I address a letter using a label and it ACTUALLY arrives at its destination instead of going back into my mailbox with a bunch of question marks and circles all over it. 

Buy Brother P-touch, PTD210, Easy-to-Use Label Maker, One-Touch Keys, Multiple Font Styles, 27 User-Friendly Templates, White from


Epson Wireless Printer/Copier/Scanner

Someday we'll live in a world where it would be crazy to buy a new printer every time yours runs out of ink. But until that's a pretty good bargain. Maybe donate the savings to nature. However the hell you do that.

Buy Epson XP-830 Wireless Color Photo Printer with Scanner, Copier & Fax, Amazon Dash Replenishment Enabled from


Sit-to-Stand Monitor Riser

They say sitting is the new smoking. Which leaves me wondering what smoking is if I’m sitting here with a cigarette. Either way, if you’re one of those people who wants to live beyond the age of 38, maybe look into it.

Buy Lorell LLR99759 Deluxe Ergonomic Sit-to-Stand Monitor Riser from


Gizmos and Gadgets

Canon EOS 80D

Take pictures of locations you want to use. NICE pictures. Trust me, it helps. Alternatively, take pictures of your family, who you love but haven’t seen in daylight for a couple weeks because you’re getting that manuscript finished.

Buy Canon Digital SLR Camera Body [EOS 80D] and EF-S 18-135mm f/3.5-5.6 Image Stabilization USM Lens with 24.2 Megapixel (APS-C) CMOS Sensor and Dual Pixel CMOS AF (Black) from


Kindle Paperwhite

I’m not going to lie to you, this thing has saved my relationship. No more lamps on for hours after one of us *cough* has been trying to sleep for hours.


Kindle Fire 

This particular model hasn't saved my romantic relationship, but it did really enhance my relationship with The Amazing Spider-Man, who I can read all about in easy form now. Enhancing THAT relationship probably hurt the aforementioned romantic relationship, but easy come, easy go. 

Buy Fire 7 Tablet (7" display, 8 GB) - Black - (Previous Generation - 7th) from


Samsung Galaxy Tab

In all honesty, a pretty decent portable work solution. Get yourself a keyboard and you’re good to go.

Buy Samsung Galaxy Tab A SM-T580NZKAXAR 10.1-Inch 16 GB, Tablet (Black) from


Echo Dot

You can make this thing order pizza for you. You can make it order laundry detergent. You can call a ride with it. What I’m getting at is the fact that this thing can save you time. Time is the hardest thing to make more of, but Amazon figured it out.

Buy Echo Dot (2nd Generation) - Smart speaker with Alexa - Black from


Fire TV Stick 

Yes, we know. You don't watch television. It's for the unwashed masses. But if you ever felt like getting yourself a little dirty and joining the rest of us, this gizmo is a great way to do it.

Buy Fire TV Stick with Alexa Voice Remote, streaming media player - Previous Generation from



Basic Coffee Maker

It’s coffee. You know you need it. It’s one of the few legal drugs that’s a true stimulant. Maybe we’ll live in a utopia someday where I can have a mug full of cocaine by my side while I type, but until then, coffee is the ticket.

Buy Hamilton Beach 12 Cup Programmable Coffee Maker, Brew Options, Glass Carafe (46299), Black with Stainless Accents from


French Press

The best part of a French press is that it makes great coffee. The second best thing about it is then telling everyone with their drip machines that they are living life the wrong way. 

Buy Bodum Chambord French Press Coffee Maker, 1 Liter, 34 Ounce, Chrome from


Zojirushi Stainless Steel Mug

To my mind, coffee is one of the best things ever experienced when it's warm, and it's indistinguishable from raw sewage when it's cold. Why do we call sewage "raw" anyway? Is there a cooked sewage? Wait, don't answer that. Nevermind. Think coffee instead.



Ear Protection

Hear me out on this one. Pair these with simple earbuds, boom, you've got noise-canceling headphones. Your partner won't appreciate you mowing the lawn with these things on your head, but don't let someone else's insecurities get in the way of your greatness. Throw on those cutoffs, grab your ear protection, and get down to business.

Buy Howard Leight by Honeywell Impact Pro High Noise Reduction Rating Sound Amplification Electronic Shooting Earmuff for Indoor and Covered Ranges or Other Extremely Loud Shooting Environments (R-01902) from


Samsung Chromebook

I mean, duh. After limping along a cheap laptop for about 7 years longer than I should have, I wish I could go back in time and tell myself to bite the bullet and get a new one. Yeah, they get pricey, but it's worth it for a battery that lasts more than 45 seconds, a plug that doesn't have to be inserted just so, and something that can handle basic software without shutting down worse than middle school me at a dance.


Macbook Air

Here's a pro tip: If you don't want to want one of these, never ever touch one. Once you do, you're doomed. 

Buy Apple MPDK2LL/A 13" MacBook Pro, Retina, Touch Bar, 3.3GHz Intel i7 Dual Core, 16GB RAM, 512GB PCIe SSD, Intel Iris 550 Graphics, Space Gray from


And Of Course, Books

There are always great books for the buying, but these are too cheap and too great to leave behind.

'I'll Tell You In Person' by Chloe Caldwell

Shout-out to our LitReactor homie, Chloe Caldwell!

Buy I'll Tell You in Person: Essays from


'Black Mad Wheel' by Josh Malerman

This is one of those books that EVERYONE is reading. I sort of want to keep it a secret, but it's just too good.


'On Killing' by Dave Grossman



'Daughter of Fortune' by Isabel Allende

Never pass up a chance at an Isabel Allende. You'll live a good life if you remember that rule.

Buy Daughter of Fortune: A Novel from


'The Impossible Fortress' by Jason Rekulak

What makes the fortress so impossible? You'll never know unless you pick this one up.

Buy The Impossible Fortress: A Novel from


'The Exorcist: 40th Anniversary Edition' by William Peter Blatty

I've never been so excited about something I love turning 40.


'A Head Full of Ghosts' by Paul Tremblay

This was one half the Best Of lists that LitReactor folks made last year. And it's still great.

Buy A Head Full of Ghosts: A Novel from


'The Risen' by Ron Rash

Quit wasting time and get into Ron Rash already.


'Reservation Blues' by Sherman Alexie

A classic that should be even more classic.

Buy Reservation Blues: A Novel from


'The Mysteries of Pittsburgh' by Michael Chabon

A lesser-known book of Chabon's, which it totally shouldn't be.

Buy The Mysteries of Pittsburgh from


'The Wrong Way to Save Your Life: Essays' by Megan Stielstra

Beautiful, fierce essays. 


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