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Gift Guide: Get Lost in a Good Book

Thu, 01 Nov 2018 - Books we love Gift Guide

Know someone who needs a break from the hustle and bustle of everyday life? We’ve got gifts they can get completely immersed in. Everyday life will fade away as they are transported to another world within minutes—but don’t worry, we promise they’ll return after the final page.

1. 1,000 Books to Read Before You Die

Celebrate the pleasure of reading and the thrill of discovering new titles in an extraordinary book that’s as compulsively readable, entertaining, surprising, and enlightening as the 1,000-plus titles it recommends. Covering fiction, poetry, science and science fiction, memoir, travel writing, biography, children’s books, history, and more, 1,000 Books to Read Before You Die ranges across cultures and through time to offer an eclectic collection of works that each deserve to come with the recommendation, You have to read this. But it’s not a proscriptive list of the “great works”—rather, it’s a celebration of the glorious mosaic that is our literary heritage.

2. An American Marriage

This stirring love story is a profoundly insightful look into the hearts and minds of three people who are at once bound and separated by forces beyond their control. An American Marriage is a masterpiece of storytelling, an intimate look deep into the souls of people who must reckon with the past while moving forward—with hope and pain—into the future.

3. Gardenlust

In this sumptuous global tour of modern gardens, intrepid plant expert Christopher Woods spotlights 50 modern gardens that push boundaries and define natural beauty in significant ways. Featuring both private and public gardens, this journey makes its way from the Americas and Europe to Australia and New Zealand, with stops in Asia, Africa, and the Arabian Peninsula. Along the way, you'll learn about the people, plants, and stories that make these iconic gardens so lust-worthy.

4. Travels Through the French Riviera

Saturated with the limpid colors of sea and sun, the dazzling greens of verdant gardens, and the rose and ochre of sunbaked villas and joyous with paisleys and blue-striped sailor’s shirts and the riotous look of a patisserie window filled with confections, Travels Through the French Riviera is a gift book of visual wonder, the souvenir every Francophile will want. But it is also a quirky yet singularly useful travel guide, whether showing how to order coffee like a local, plan a beach day at Menton, or hike the Cap Ferrat peninsula or where to taste the best ice cream in Antibes (at Amarena—try the mint).

5. Aerial Geology

Fact-filled, curious, and way more fun than the geology you remember from grade school, Aerial Geology is a must-have for the insatiably curious, armchair geologists, million-mile travelers, and anyone who has stared out the window of a plane and wondered what was below.

6. The Illustrated Herbiary

Rosemary is for remembrance; sage is for wisdom. The symbolism of plants — whether in the ancient Greek doctrine of signatures or the Victorian secret language of flowers — has fascinated us for centuries. Contemporary herbalist Maia Toll adds her distinctive spin to this tradition with profiles of the mysterious personalities of 36 herbs, fruits, and flowers. Combining a passion for plants with imagery reminiscent of tarot, enticing text offers reflections and rituals to tap into each plant’s power for healing, self-reflection, and everyday guidance. Smaller versions of the illustrations are featured on 36 cards to help guide your thoughts and meditations.

7. Buttermilk Graffiti

American food is the story of mash-ups. Immigrants arrive, cultures collide, and out of the push-pull come exciting new dishes and flavors. But for Edward Lee, who, like Anthony Bourdain or Gabrielle Hamilton, is as much a writer as he is a chef, that first surprising bite is just the beginning. What about the people behind the food? What about the traditions, the innovations, the memories? Sixteen adventures, sixteen vibrant new chapters in the great evolving story of American cuisine. And forty recipes, created by Lee, that bring these new dishes into our own kitchens.

8. Born to Dance

From Jordan Matter, YouTube star and New York Times–bestselling author of Dancers Among Us, a celebration of what it means to be young and full of possibility, featuring gorgeous photographs of well-known dancers (including Tate McRae and Sofie Dossi) as well as stars in the making.

9. The Collector's Apprentice

B. A. Shapiro has made the historical art thriller her own. In The Collector’s Apprentice, she gives us an unforgettable tale about the lengths to which people will go for their obsession, whether it be art, money, love, or vengeance.

10. Ali on Ali

Muhammad Ali was a champion, a poet, a prophet. Sports Illustrated called him “the greatest athlete of the twentieth century.” And yet he was even more than all of that, “a whole greater than the sum of its parts . . . bigger, brighter, more original and influential than just about anyone of his era” (Barack Obama). He got there with his fists, with his actions, and above all, with his words. Compiled and written by his daughter Hana Ali, with sportswriter Danny Peary, Ali on Ali brings together a remarkable mix of Ali’s 70 most humorous, poignant, inspirational, political, and philosophical quotes, all with their origins. Included are powerful photographs throughout, from iconic fight scenes to never-before-seen Ali family snapshots; quotes about Ali, from Martin Luther King Jr. to Billy Crystal; a career timeline; and a personal introduction by Hana Ali.

11. Let's Eat France

There’s never been a book about food like Let’s Eat France! A book that feels literally larger than life, it is a feast for food lovers and Francophiles, combining the completist virtues of an encyclopedia and the obsessive visual pleasures of infographics with an enthusiast’s unbridled joy. Here are classic recipes, profiles of French food icons , and a region-by-region index of each area’s famed cheeses, charcuterie, and recipes. Poster-size guides to the breads of France, the wines of France, the oysters of France—even the frites of France. You’ll meet endive, the belle of the north; discover the croissant timeline; understand the art of tartare; find a chart of wine bottle sizes, from the tiny split to the Nebuchadnezzar (the equivalent of 20 standard bottles); and follow the family tree of French sauces.

12. A Brief History of Everyone Who Ever Lived

In our unique genomes, every one of us carries the story of our species—births, deaths, disease, war, famine, migration, and a lot of sex. But those stories have always been locked away—until now. Who are our ancestors? Where did they come from? Geneticists have suddenly become historians, and the hard evidence in our DNA has blown the lid off what we thought we knew. Acclaimed science writer Adam Rutherford explains exactly how genomics is completely rewriting the human story—from 100,000 years ago to the present.

13. The Landscapes of Anne of Green Gables

The Landscapes of Anne of Green Gables explores L. M. Montgomery’s deep connection to the landscapes of Prince Edward Island that inspired her to write the beloved Anne of Green Gables series. From the Lake of Shining Waters and the Haunted Wood to Lover’s Lane, you’ll be immersed in the real places immortalized in the novels. Using Montgomery’s journals, archives, and scrapbooks, Catherine Reid explores the many similarities between Montgomery and her unforgettable heroine, Anne Shirley. The lush package includes Montgomery’s hand-colorized photographs, the illustrations originally used in Anne of Green Gables, and contemporary and historical photography.

14. Bob Langrish’s World of Horses

From the Mongolian steppe to the South African desert, barrier islands to city streets, Langrish has recorded the lives and activities of these majestic and beloved animals. His images capture the grace and soul of horses in all shapes and sizes. Brisk, lively text by Olympic gold medalist Jane Holderness-Roddam accompanies each photo, relating the story of how horse behaviors and traits vary by habitat, as well as the behind-the-scenes details of Langrish’s adventures. Dramatic, poignant, and personal, Langrish’s photos are a testament to the ancient and abiding horse-human relationship.

15. The World of Laura Ingalls Wilder

The universal appeal of Laura Ingalls Wilder springs from a life lived in partnership with the land, on farms she and her family settled across the Northeast and Midwest. In this revealing exploration of Wilder’s deep connection with the natural world, Marta McDowell follows the wagon trail of the beloved Little House series. You’ll learn details about Wilder’s life and inspirations, pinpoint the Ingalls and Wilder homestead claims on authentic archival maps, and learn to grow the plants and vegetables featured in the series. Excerpts from Wilder’s books, letters, and diaries bring to light her profound appreciation for the landscapes at the heart of her world. Featuring the beloved illustrations by Helen Sewell and Garth Williams, plus hundreds of historic and contemporary photographs, The World of Laura Ingalls Wilder is a treasure that honors Laura’s wild and beautiful life. 

16. Burning Down the Haus

This secret history of East German punk rock is not just about the music; it is a story of extraordinary bravery in the face of one of the most oppressive regimes in history. Rollicking, cinematic, deeply researched, highly readable, and thrillingly topical, Burning Down the Haus brings to life the young men and women who successfully fought authoritarianism three chords at a time—and is a fiery testament to the irrepressible spirit of revolution.

17. The Museum of Modern Love

Arky Levin has reached a dead end. Unexpectedly separated from his wife, he suddenly has the space he needs to work composing film scores—but none of the peace of mind he needs to create. As he wanders the city, guilty and restless, it’s almost by chance that he stumbles upon an exhibition that will change his life. 

18. How to Love the Universe

How to Love the Universe is a new kind of science writing by an author truly enamored of the world around him. In ten short chapters of lyrical prose—each one an ode to a breathtaking realm of discovery—Stefan Klein uses everyday objects and events as a springboard to meditate on the beauty of the underlying science.


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