Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Holiday Gift Guide, Boston Bibliophile Style


Shopping for books for the holidays? Overwhelmed by the offerings at your local indie, or just not finding what you're looking for? Here are some ideas to get you started. Most of these books should be readily available.

You can't go wrong with a fine edition, and a good quality hardback doesn't have to break the bank. My favorite is Everyman's Library, the reader's fine edition. The books are beautiful, lie beautifully in the hand and average around $25.00 each. Everyman's produces titles from every era in nearly every genre- the science fiction fan would love Isaac Asimov's Foundation or Ray Bradbury's Fahrenheit 451, the literary reader will adore The English Patient by Michael Ondaatje or Midnight's Children by Salman Rushdie, and there are childrens' Everymans, as well as poetry and more.

If you want something specifically Christmas-themed, the new Everyman's Library edition of Dickens' Christmas stories features an introduction by Margaret Atwood. Win-win!
White's Books and Penguin Hardcover Classics offer great lines of fine editions readily available and affordable.  The other night I noticed a couple of  F. Scott Fitzgerald titles in stunning dustjackets, from Penguin. The Annotated Peter Pan (and other titles in the W.W. Norton Annotated series) would make a wonderful, treasured gift.

And fine editions tend to come in series- so you can make a holiday tradition of presenting a loved one with a beautiful book.

Want to give a beautiful book without shelling out for a hardcover? Penguin has three beloved classics in its Penguin Threads line- Emma, Black Beauty and The Secret Garden. They come with elaborately embossed covers showing truly gorgeous threadwork. They also feature French flaps, deckled edges and the inside covers show the back of the stitching! They're so pretty! Penguin's Ink line and 75th anniversary paperbacks are lovely and affordable, too.

Bookstores are overflowing with gift sets now, and they offer everything from Dover Classics sets of Jane Austen novels for $8.00 to Game of Thrones to collections of Orson Scott Card books to Deepak Chopra's trilogy of books about world religions to Newbury Award winners and more.

You can also make your own gift set. Want to give your friend a copy of Cutting for Stone? Make a gift set with The Tennis Partner and My Own Country. You know your friend will want Abraham Verghese's other books anyway, right? Or pick up a matching set of John Le Carre George Smiley novels from Penguin, starting with the iconic Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy.

For office or hostess gifts, can I suggest NovelTea? At $12.50 for a box of 25 tea bags, you're giving the gift of relaxation that anyone can enjoy.

Coffee table books and cookbooks and other recent raves in nonfiction:
  • Harry Potter Page to Screen: The Complete Filmmaking Journey, a stunning book from HarperCollins showing how the classic books were adapted for the silver screen. At $75 or so it's not cheap, but if you have a Potter enthusiast in your family, this book is a must-have.
  • Steve Jobs, Walter Isaacson's authorized biography of the late inventor, great for the Mac fan in your family, assuming of course that he or she doesn't already have it!
  • Catherine the Great, by Robert Massie, probably the definitive biography now of this great leader.
  • The Essential Pepin, by Jacques Pepin, an accessible collection of real-life recipes from the French master chef.
  • Flour, by Joanne Chang, a wonderful and slightly different baking book from the renowned Boston baker.
More gifts for the idiosyncratic reader:
  • For the literary fiction reader, The Doll, short stories by Daphne DuMaurier, just out in paperback. 
  • For the brainy teen in your life, Gandhi, the manga autobiography, by Kazuki Ebine, maybe given alongside Che and The 14th Dalai Lama, both out now.
  • For the crime fiction afficionado, a trio of crime novels by Massimo Carlotto: Death's Dark Abyss, Poisonville and Bandit Love, or Jean-Claude Izzo's Marseilles trilogy, all from Europa Editions.
  • For the nerd you love, In Other Worlds: SF and the Human Imagination, Margaret Atwood's collection of essays on science fiction.
  • For the current events addict, Days of Fear, Daniele Mastrogiacomo's harrowing account of his capture and detention by the Taliban.
  • For the reader with an offbeat sense of humor, Death and Penguin, by Andrey Kurkov, a very silly light crime novel.
  • For the movie buff, Life Itself, esteemed film critic Roger Ebert's autobiography.
Or just ask your local independent bookseller for personalized suggestions, and have a wonderful book-filled holiday!

P.S. These suggestions are my own and not sponsored in any way. I received a review copy of Catherine the Great, Penguin's manga biography series and Death and the Penguin.

14 comments:

Nana Fredua-Agyeman said...

I wish I could point out to some great bookshops too. These are great books on the list. My interest lies in Atwood.

bermudaonion said...

Great picks! It can be really hard to choose a book for someone else, so it's always nice to have suggestions.

chasingbawa said...

That's a great and varied selection. I want some for myself!

Zibilee said...

Lots of great stuff here to choose from, and I wish that I had more book lovers in my family so that I could stock up on some of these. I might have to forward this post to my husband so that he can choose some for me! Thanks for sharing this with us today, Marie!

Vasilly said...

I think there's a ton of wonderful ideas here! I love the idea of mixing and matching for a gift set.

caite said...

so many books...so little time.

Sandy Nawrot said...

Holy cow that is an awesome list, and one completely with your name all over it. I have to say that I did see Penguin's new "Emma" and it was GORGEOUS. I almost picked it up, even though I already have it.

Kathleen said...

Thank you for all of the wonderful recommendations. I just learned about the Novel Teas yesterday. What a great and inexpensive gift idea!

Audra said...

Love your recommendations. Also, the Penguin Threads make me drool.

BookClub said...

Great list, thanks!

For even more book-lover gift ideas tune in to The Book Report on WNBP on Saturday.
The Book Report is a weekly radio show with fun, informative content for book lovers of all types. See http://bookreportradio.com for a complete listing of stations and times.

(Diane) Bibliophile By the Sea said...

What terrific holiday shopping suggestions. I enjoyed the eclectic selection, as it really does seem like something for everyone.

Nymeth said...

Excellent suggestions! I so want one of the Penguin Threads editions.

Dawn @ sheIsTooFondOfBooks said...

Great ideas, Marie! Several of your suggestions are on my own wish list :)

Cassie Mannes said...

I'm obsessed with the new annotated Peter Pan. It's wonderful. I'm that person that walks around B&N with in it my hand just so I can hold it for a bit. Great suggestions!!