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.
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!
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.
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.
- 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.
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.