Beautiful Gift Books 2014
Dear Reader,Creative folks in every field conspire to present new ideas, experiences, tastes, images, thoughts, feelings and information in extraordinary ways. Working with editors, designers and publishers they make stunning physical books that rise to the level of artworks themselves. We like to celebrate these achievements every year because we know not only that books always make the best gifts but that artfully made books of beauty make the best of the best gifts. We hope that you enjoy these reviews of some of this season's great offerings and realize what wonderful treasures await you at our stores along with fine people to help you find them.Happy Reading and Gift-Giving!John & All DIESELfolk
This season there is a slew of beautiful, new cookbooks on the market. All of them are are gift-worthy and gorgeous. What sets The Slanted Door apart is that it is not only pretty, but filled with recipes you will actually use. You will not find paragraph-long titles of dishes here. Instead there is "Duck Salad," "Steamed Spare Ribs" and "Shrimp and Long Beans." You will not have to traipse all over town to find an elusive ingredient. Did you work all day? No worries! "Spicy Squid Stir Fry" takes about 15 minutes to prepare. Do you like snazzy cocktails and yummy desserts? They're in here too.
Charles Phan can do no wrong in the kitchen. He honors traditional, family recipes, but isn't afraid to tweak something to elevate a dish a notch. He is a stickler for fresh, quality ingredients and cooks because he loves it, and it shows. -- Cheryl R.
This is the ultimate garden book -- both a collection of gardens from around the world and a resource for those seeking inspiration on garden design and planting. Featuring over 250 permanent gardens by leading garden designers, horticulturalists and landscape architects, from the 14th century to the present day, and covering all key types and styles of garden, this lushly-illustrated tome combines images and instruction for each of the featured gardens. Great for both amateur and professional gardeners and garden designers. -- Mia W.
Do you know an avid photographer? This revised and updated version of the Phaidon classic features recent developments in photography and a collection of over 550 beautiful images taken by the world's best photographers. It is as comprehensive as a single book can be, including sections on Daguerre, Robert Capa, Annie Leibovitz, Mario Testino and David Hockney. Each photograph varies in subject, from sports to wildlife to fashion, and includes text illuminating the photograph and photographer. - Mia W.
This is a design book specifically about the architecture of midcentury residences of Cape Cod, which is great all by itself. But what I really loved most about it are the carefully researched and reported stories about the lives of the people who lived there. As you read about the famous and not so famous people who designed, built, and lived in this community, you realize that there was a midcentury modern lifestyle at the time as fresh and daring as the architecture. The homes endure on their sites, but the lifestyles remain only in the stories reported in books like this one. - Alan D.
These are projects that I could not only see myself actually making, but also proudly giving to people who would be genuinely glad to get them! Some of the projects are just for fun and others are totally practical. The authors have added personal touches in their descriptions that make the instructions feel encouraging (and not just step-by-step). They have also included many resources for materials and methods to help your projects turn out like they are shown in the book. A great gift to give . . . maybe even to yourself. - Alan D.
This book flat out makes me thirsty. David Broom is deservedly regarded as one of the preeminent independent experts in the world on all things whisky, and he puts his knowledge to intoxicating effect in this gorgeous, informative book. The wide world of whisky can be intimidating even for those on a first-name basis with the bartender. This is a great resource to finding one's footing when you're tasked or dead-set to find something to drink that's kept above the bottom shelf. -- Brad J.
Herve Tullet is the French author/illustrator of Press Here and Mix It Up, who has been described as the "king of preschool art." His new book really is giant (18" x 11") -- although it isn't really a book. Instead, it's a beautifully presented system of press-out cardboard shapes that can be slotted together around a large concertina-like frame to create a free standing sculpture. Tullet makes additional suggestions to the young artist, like adding pieces of card, wrapping paper or painted toilet rolls, so that they might create something truly unique. This is a hands-on art book that makes creative play dynamic and exciting, encouraging kids to understand the medium of sculpture and then play with it. Great for young makers between ages 4 and 8. -- Clare. D.