Even if you're planning to shun the Black Friday crowds to join us in the third annual Thankfully Reading Weekend (information at Jenn's Bookshelves), you know you're going to have to go gift shopping . . . and it's going to have to be soon. I know how difficult it can be to find the perfect gift for everyone on your list.
If you're like me, you think books make the very best presents, but sometimes you are overwhelmed by all the great choices you see at the bookstore. My advice is to take a deep breath and let go of your worries. Now take a look at my four great recommendations to make your holiday shopping just a little bit easier.
Do you know about the Pocket Posh books published by Andrews McMeel? These cute pocket-size books are perfect stocking stuffers and make great quick gifts. Shown here is Pocket Posh Cocktails by John Townsley, which not only contains the recipes for many yummy drinks but also provides information on how to properly mix a cocktail, how to rim a glass, and how to measure correctly. Whether you're interested in a classic Stinger, a sweet Mojito, or a holiday Hot Toddy, you'll find the how-to's in this little book. Other food-related titles are Dining Out and Wine. Not into food and drink? No problem, look for Pocket Posh Suduko, First Aid, Sherlock Holmes, Crosswords, London, and more; I'm sure there's a title for everyone on your list. (ISBN-13: 9781449406806)
OMG, I can't tell you how much I adore one of this season's offerings from Sterling Children's Books. The Giant Book of Giants by Saviour Pirotta and illustrated by Mark Robertson will appeal to kids from about age five and older. In this beautifully designed picture book you'll find six stories about giants, starting with "Jack and the Beanstalk" and ending with a Sinbad story. In a new-to-me tale called "The Curious Giantess," Ida dreams about life among humans. When her curiosity gets the best of her, she visits the human village and learns some important lessons. Packaged with the picture book is a huge (four-foot-high) poster of a giant that kids can hang on their wall or door. The giant has pockets to open and locks to unlock and "plenty of playful extras, including flaps to lift and removable items such as a clock tower pocket watch, pipe organ harmonica, and even the giant's ear wax!" Great fun for boys, girls, and their parents. (ISBN-13: 9781402785962)
Romeo Alaeff is an artist and observer of the human condition. He also has a fun sense of humor. In I'll Be Dead by the Time You Read This (Plume Books), he wonders if animals worry about the same things people do. And assuming they do, what issues occupy their minds? Alaeff started with his beautiful black-and-white drawings of a variety of animals and insects and fish and then imagined what each creature might be obsessing over. For example, a unicorn thinks, "I wish someone would find me." I'll Be Dead is a fun stocking stuffer for Christmas morning. (ISBN-13: 9780452297456)
I'm huge fan of Artisan books, and I am in love with Shax Riegler's Dish: 813 Colorful, Wonderful Dinner Plates. I have spent several evenings pouring over Robert Bean's stunning photographs of a world of dishes, including gold-rimmed Limoges, colorful glass from Anchor Hocking, pink florals from Royal Winton, and kitschy pottery from a favorite diner. But Dish is much more than just a coffee table book. Riegler's text covers the history and evolution of patterns, such as the Indian origins of chintz plates, as well as the proper care of the dishes we own (washing and repairing, for example). Take a look at the video to get an idea of the depth and breath of Dish. Highly recommended for those who love antiques, china, pottery, beautiful table settings, and down-home kitchens. (ISBN-13: 978-1-579654122)
All four of these books are on my own shopping list. I hope one or more appeal to you or have inspired you to get to the bookstore this holiday season.