Thursday, December 5, 2013

Boston Bibliophile's 2013 Gift Guide Part 2- History, Cooking, Graphica and More

Here I am back with more gift ideas. Today I'll tackle history, the cooking section and more.

For foodie lit, there are two I think are great. Provence, 1970: M.F.K. Fisher, Julia Child, James Beard, and the Reinvention of American Taste, by Luke Barr does what it says on the label, talk about some of the pre-eminent cooks and food writers of their day and their collision in 1970s France.

Also a big hit at the bookstore this year is Michael Pollan's latest, Cooked.
You might know Pollan from The Omnivore's Dilemma and other milestones of modern food thinking.

As far as cookbooks, the holiday season always brings out the heavyweights- Alice Waters has a new one, along with pretty much every celebrity chef. Yottam Ottolenghi's books have been selling like hotcakes too. But the only one I want is one that came out early this year, Beatrice Peltre's La Tartine Gourmande. This book is delectable to look at and to cook from. Her lime spaghetti is a staple on my table and lots of these will become favorites of yours or your favorite cook's too.

Over in the essay section, get Ten Years in the Tub, Nick Hornby's collection of his Stuff I've Been Reading column, for the hipster in your life. I promise an appreciative smirk in return.

The music fan's cup runneth over this holiday season. Morrissey's hotly anticipated Autobiography hit the shelves this week, joining a biography of Johnny Cash, and letters from John Lennon and Leonard Bernstein. Tony Fletcher's A Light That Never Goes Out would be a great companion to Morrissey's book!

Bio fans will also enjoy books from Edna O'Brien and Anjelica Huston and books about J.D. Salinger, Jim Henson and Ian Fleming.

In the history section, I love the looks of The History of America in 100 Objects- a great gift for your inlaws maybe?- and The Discovery of Middle Earth by Graham Robb, about the achievements of the Celts. I think either would make great gifts for that "I didn't know that" reader who likes to discover new things and ideas.

My Promised Land by Ari Shavit is required reading for current-events buffs and folks interested in the Middle East. This selection is not a sop to Hanukkah- I think readers of any background should read this essential book about Israel and its relationship to itself.

Finally I hope every one of you runs out for Joe Sacco's incredible and moving The Great War, a single huge, continuous illustration of Europe on the first day of the Battle of the Somme. This book works for graphica fans, history buffs, your dad, and everyone in between. Seriously, this will blow your mind.

Come back soon for my fiction picks!