Beautiful Gift Books - Holidays 2015
The season is upon us for annual gift giving galore! Books are the best gifts, from the heart. But you know this already -- you are reading this! Here is a selection of books we think might interest you, or someone near and dear to you, for the holidays. Books are good, but gift books are wonderful and take many forms, covering many subjects, and are presented in wildly divergent styles. We have something -- many things really -- for everyone in your life. These are some suggestions to help you to get started. Looking forward to recommending more in the store through the holidays. See you there!
Happy Reading and Gift-Giving!
John & All DIESELfolk
I've been waiting (rather impatiently, I might add) for Robert MacFarlane's follow-up to his much-lauded book, The Old Ways. Now that it has arrived, the reward is greater than even I expected. Landmarks is a treasure trove for we who love the feeling of words . . . on the tongue, yes, but more importantly at its most tactile: language as trodden as the paths that identify a forest as familiar, but so worn by time and use as to appear always a little foreign. Appropriately, the book itself is absolutely gorgeous. — Brad J.
Cartoonist/Illustrator Ralph Steadman and author/film-maker Ceri Levy are the "Gonzovationists." In this magnificent volume, they offer a completely unique take on critically endangered birds, a follow-up to their award-winning Extinct Boids. The focus is on the birds that may still be saved: birds like the Giant Ibis, the Sumatran Ground-cuckoo, and the Spoonbilled Sandpiper, with incredible illustrations by Ralph Steadman and commentary by Carl Levy. And, because Steadman is involved, there are birds from his own, bizarre imagination as well, like the Unsociable Lapwing and the Big-breasted Conspicuous Tit. Raising environmental consciousness is rarely this much fun. -- Rod F.
Rarely do we get to see more than fleeting glimpses of a passing bird, hardly time at all to appreciate their nuances. Lucky for us, Leila Jeffreys has captured over 150 images of a wide variety of birds, providing the opportunity to peruse their unique colors, patterns, textures and expressions.
From pastel pink to electric teal, the variety of feather colors is astounding. (Major Mitchell's Cockatoo is now my inspiration for the next time I color my hair). Equally as impressive are the textures and patterns of the feathers: smooth, sculpted, tufted, fringed, spotted and striped. While most pigmentation and feather structure can be seen as logical evolution, some of these birds are so utterly flamboyant you'd swear they are off to Rio for Carnival.
Jeffreys has also done a masterful job of capturing their expressions, each true to their being: proud, stoic, inquisitive, and sometimes daunting. These elicit emotion and instantly give you insight into their true character.
Bird Love isn't only for bird lovers. There is much inspiration to be gleaned from these natural beauties. -- Cheryl R.
In her latest cookbook, unerring food writer and photographer Heidi Swanson shares 120 new vegetarian recipes rooted in place-the one where she lives (Northern California) and those that have invigorated her cooking practice over the years (Morocco, Japan, Italy, France and India). Near & Far will resonate with seasonal cooking enthusiasts and those looking to try out more adventurous recipes. -- Katie A.
Hidden in what seems to be a colossal visual/printing joke (this very 1970's-era looking cookbook) lie various actual "traditional" Asian food dishes, such as "Mall Chicken" and "Chinesey Cucumber Salad," that will take many readers back to happy family outings at the food court. When I first saw it, I thought it was some sort of re-issue of a Reader's Digest book that my mother used to have. But no, these folks just did a wonderful love-letter to those of us old enough to remember the comfort of well done Moo Shu Pancakes. This is a wonderful gift for the nostalgic foodie or cook in your life. -- Moe F.
I consider myself an avid surfer, but I'm not about to pack it up and head to the Arctic Circle for a surf vacation anytime soon; or, perhaps, not in this lifetime. However, that fact doesn't stop me from having an obsessive fascination with those who do. Chris Burkard's photography captures remote and wild surf locations in a way that gives the impression that the surfer has always been in the environment, much the same way a photo captures a line of deer crossing a field at the edge of a forest -- except these animals don neoprene.
To understand the depth and beauty that this type of surf photography offers, you might need to know a little something about the ego-fueled, sponsor-driven, shortboard-surfing era that many of these surfers came out of. It was an era of decals on surfboards, professional competitions, and when the shot was all about a particular maneuver. For a picture to matter, the surfer (and the companies that sponsored them) had to be clearly recognizable. This is how everyone made money. Now, in contrast, you have a surfer slightly off to the right of the photo, his face totally obscured, creating an elegant cutback against a breaking wave (the line he has drawn in the water still visible in the wake behind him). Framing the photo is a massive glacier, making the surfing and the surfer parts of the natural scenery.
This book is a natural gift recommendation for the surfer, nature enthusiast or photographer in your life. -- Terry S.
Counting Lions is a large-format picture book that would not be out of place on a coffee table. The illustrations are meticulous photo-realistic pencil drawings of animals, starting with one lion and going through to ten zebras. There is an astonishing level of detail in the art, which allows us to stare down a lion, get close to gorillas or feel the restless energy of macaws. The text is a series of short poetic descriptions of the animals, which also contains a surprising amount of detail. Counting Lions could be a counting picture book for kids, which is where you'll find it shelved; but it would also be a beautiful and thoughtful gift for any lover of animals or fine art. -- Clare D.