11 Books that Make Great Gifts
We’ll just come right out and say it: books make great gifts. There is a perfect book out there for each and every person on your list, even those that wouldn’t necessarily consider themselves “readers”. From gorgeous, graphic coffee table books, to classic literature and anniversary editions, to books that push the boundaries of what makes a book a book, this list encompasses our very favorite gift books. So get shopping – the holidays are coming up fast and everyone should have a new book to unwrap this year!
1Transit Maps of the World
Transit Maps of the World is the first and only comprehensive collection of historic and current maps of every rapid-transit system on earth. Using glorious, colorful graphics, Mark Ovenden traces the history of mass transit-including rare and historic maps, diagrams, and photographs, some available for the first time since their original publication. Transit Maps is the graphic designer's new bible, the transport enthusiast's dream collection, and a coffee-table essential for everyone who's ever traveled in a city.
2Domino: The Book of Decorating
The editors of my all-time favorite interior design magazine, Domino, bring together inspiring rooms, how-to advice, and insider secrets in this indispensable style manual. They take readers room by room, tapping the best ideas from Domino magazine and culling insights from their own experiences.
3The Novel Cure: From Abandonment to Zestlessness: 751 Books to Cure What Ails You
Read at the right moment in your life, a novel can—quite literally—change it. The Novel Cure is a reminder of that power. To create this apothecary, the authors have trawled two thousand years of literature for novels that effectively promote happiness, health, and sanity, written by brilliant minds who knew what it meant to be human and wrote their life lessons into their fiction. Structured like a reference book, readers simply look up their ailment, be it agoraphobia, boredom, or a midlife crisis, and are given a novel to read as the antidote. Brilliant in concept and deeply satisfying in execution, The Novel Cure belongs on everyone’s bookshelf and in every medicine cabinet. It will make even the most well-read fiction aficionado pick up a novel he’s never heard of, and see familiar ones with new eyes. Mostly, it will reaffirm literature’s ability to distract and transport, to resonate and reassure, to change the way we see the world and our place in it.
4The City Out My Window: 63 Views on New York
From Matteo Pericoli, the celebrated author of Manhattan Unfurled, comes a unique collection of illustrated cityscapes. In these intimate drawings of window views, Pericoli captures the essence of the city by showing us what New Yorkers see when they look out their windows. The City Out My Window shows us a series of private New Yorks, as seen by Tom Wolfe, Tony Kushner, Nora Ephron, Stephen Colbert, Richard Meier, Oliver Sacks, Mario Batali, David Byrne, and other artists, writers, and thinkers who help make the city what it is. The book includes their comments on what they see out their window and is introduced by Pulitzer Prize-winning architecture critic Paul Goldberger.
5The Complete Tales and Poems of Winnie the Pooh
A perfect gift for any parent, child, or nostalgic adult, this anniversary edition is a beautiful collection of beloved tales. Since their publication some seventy years ago, A.A. Milne’s enchanting tales and playful verses have been treasured and adored by generations of children, and Winnie-the-Pooh is as popular today as when he first appeared in 1926. This special volume brings together all of the Pooh stories and all of the poems in one full-color, large-format book. The texts are complete and unabridged, and each of Ernest H. Shephard’s whimsical illustrations have been brilliantly recolored from his original sketches of Milne’s son, Christopher Robin, and his toys.
6Moby-Dick in Pictures: One Drawing for Every Page
Inspired by one of the world’s greatest novels, Ohio artist Matt Kish set out on an epic voyage of his own one day in August 2009. More than one hundred and fifty years following the original publication of Moby-Dick, Kish began illustrating Herman Melville’s classic, creating an image a day over the next eighteen months based on text selected from every page of the 552-page Signet Classics paperback edition. Completely self-taught, Kish refused to set any boundaries for the artwork and employed a deliberately low-tech approach in response to the increasing popularity of born-digital art and literature. He used found pages torn from old, discarded books, as well as a variety of mediums, including ballpoint pen, marker, paint, crayon, ink, and watercolor. By layering images on top of existing words and images, Kish has crafted a visual masterpiece that echoes the layers of meaning in Melville’s narrative.
Who doesn't love a book that asks the reader to be an active participant in the story? In Chris Ware's incredible graphic novel, the "building" of the title can be taken a couple of different ways—the stories mostly take place in a building, the protagonist's Chicago brownstone, and Ware also asks the readers to help build the story with the materials he provides. The unconventional work is made up of fourteen printed works—cloth-bound books, newspapers, broadsheets and flip books—packaged in a boxed set. As his longtime fans know, Ware is a flagrant experimenter with size, both in terms of his physical books and in what he puts on the page. He can fit stories into pinky-nail panels or conjure epic panoramas. Thus within this colorful keepsake box the purchaser will find a fully-apportioned variety of reading material ready to address virtually any imaginable artistic or poetic taste, from the corrosive sarcasm of youth to the sickening earnestness of maturity—while discovering a protagonist wondering if she’ll ever move from the rented close quarters of lonely young adulthood to the mortgaged expanse of love and marriage. Got a literary architect on your list? A graphic novel nerd or graphic designer? This is the perfect gift for almost anyone who loves aesthetics, a good puzzle and a beautiful book to show off on the coffee table. As seen in the pages of The New Yorker, The New York Times and McSweeney’s Quarterly Concern, Building Stories collects a decade’s worth of work, with dozens of “never-before-published” pages.
8The Original Folk and Fairy Tales of the Brothers Grimm: The Complete First Edition
When Jacob and Wilhelm Grimm published their "Children's and Household Tales" in 1812, followed by a second volume in 1815, they had no idea that such stories as "Rapunzel," "Hansel and Gretel," and "Cinderella" would become the most celebrated in the world. Yet few people today are familiar with the majority of tales from the two early volumes, since in the next four decades the Grimms would publish six other editions, each extensively revised in content and style. For the very first time, " The Original Folk and Fairy Tales of the Brothers Grimm" makes available in English all 156 stories from the 1812 and 1815 editions. These narrative gems, newly translated and brought together in one beautiful book, are accompanied by sumptuous new illustrations from award-winning artist Andrea Dezso.
9Humans of New York
A gorgeous gift for all of the photography buffs, New York lovers, and basically every human on your list. Now an instant #1 New York Times bestseller, Humans of New York began in the summer of 2010, when photographer Brandon Stanton set out to create a photographic census of New York City. The result of these efforts was a vibrant blog he called "Humans of New York," in which his photos were featured alongside quotes and anecdotes - a blog which has garnered over 4 million fans. Humans of New York is the book inspired by the blog. With four hundred color photos, including exclusive portraits and all-new stories, Humans of New York is a stunning collection of images that showcases the outsized personalities of New York. A moving, heartfelt, funny, and inspiring collection of photographs and stories capturing the spirit of a city.
10Where the Sidewalk Ends
“Where the Sidewalk Ends”
I read WHERE THE SIDEWALK ENDS at the end of every school year all the way through. The title poem was one of my favorites, because it was about how we dwell in possibility. The line “Yes we’ll walk with a walk that is measured and slow, / And we’ll go where the chalk-white arrows go” explains the wonder of childhood exploration with perfect elegance. And that’s really the power of Shel Silverstein. —Leora
11Where You Are
Where You Are is a book of maps. It’s a collection of writing (non-fiction and fiction) and visuals (drawings, photographs, paintings) that explodes what a map is. A wide range of writers, thinkers, artists responded to what their map would be, bringing together human stories about modern, everyday personal lives and mapping. Those stories range from Chloe Aridjis’ short story mapping out the daily journeys of a homeless woman in Mexico City, to John Simpson essay that looks at the perils of following GPS systems in South Africa, to James Bridle mapping the technology and looking at how GPS was developed in the first place, to Geoff Dyer mapping out his childhood in Cheltenham according to sex, death and drugs, to Leanne Shapton documenting her everyday desk objects at the end of each working day. Where You Are plants the flag at an amazing map-shifting point: from one kind of map — the geographical kind that gets you get from a to b — to another kind of map altogether — a life map that tells human stories about our everyday.