Tuesday, December 3, 2013

Boston Bibliophile's 2013 Gift Guide, Part One- Fun Books

Looking over the offerings at the bookstore this season, I was simply overwhelmed with the choices, so I have to break my gift guide up into several parts. Today I'll cover nonfiction "fun" books- art, style, pets and more.

Last year we had the Big New Yorker Book of Dogs; this year they're giving cat lovers their due with essays, stories, comics and more about the best pets in the world. The Big New Yorker Book of Cats will be great for the cat lover in your life.

But if you or someone you love happens to love dogs, Shake, by Carli Davidson, is a fun photo book with pictures of 61 dogs shaking their little selves around. Cute. At the end there is a little making-of section too.

For the geek in your life, the "it" gift book of the
year has to be Guillermo del Toro Cabinet of Curiosities. This is a stunning volume including lots and lots of the artist and director's art, sketches, behind-the-scenes stories and more. Seriously-it's amazing.

Allie Brosh's Hyperbole and a Half collection is shooting fish in a barrel, but
if it's not on your radar it should be. Her blog is terrific and this collection highlights some of the best from her slice-of-life illustrated stories, including some not shown on her website. It's not as adult-oriented as the also-great Oatmeal collections but I would recommend it for teens and up.

Your favorite word-nerds will love Wordbirds, Liesl Schillinger's beautifully illustrated lexicon of modern neologisms. She includes things like Faceboast for bragging on social media, and Factose Intolerant, the practice of shunning foods of which you believe you're intolerant. Ha ha. I think Wordbirds would make a great gift for lots of people.

 For the fashionista in your life, Paris Street Style: A Guide to Effortless Chic, by Isabelle Thomas, is a fun collection of photos and light text on dressing and clothes that you can actually put to use with items already in your closet or easy-to-find staples. Oh, I can wear that with that? Yup!

One of the most beautiful literary gift books I've come across is Conference of the Birds as illustrated by Peter Sis. Sis is known for writing and illustrating childrens' books; Conference of the Birds is a classic 12th-century Persian poem about a time when all the world's birds gathered to choose a king. In paperback and at a very approachable $18, it would make a very nice present.

On the other side of the spectrum in price and presentation is the absolutely stunning The Vatican: All the Paintings: The Complete Collection of Old Masters, Plus More than 300 Sculptures, Maps, Tapestries, and other Artifacts. I can't think of a more impressive gift for that special art lover or Italophile in your life. It's a big heavy hardcover and clocks in around $75.00 but for the right person, it's worth it!

Part Two, coming later this week, will include history, cookery, music and graphica. Part Three, later still, will include my top picks for fiction. Stay tuned!


Sandy Nawrot said...

I am totally eyeballing the del Toro book. We heart him in our house.

bermudaonion said...

I loved Shake!!

Audra said...

Wonderful recommendations! I have a copy of Sis' book and it is stunning.

Alexia561 said...

Great recommendations! I'm looking forward to reading Hyperbole and a Half, as I follow her blog and am curious to read the book. Wish I could afford The Vatican book, as it looks gorgeous! Looking forward to seeing your other lists!

wellwell2 said...

What a great column. Love the word book reccommendations.

Kerry M said...

Oh, the Paris Street Style book looks interesting! Putting that on my own list. And also getting a copy for my stepmother. Thanks for the idea!

Anonymous said...

I always appreciate these lists this time of year, especially since I'm heading to the bookstore this week!