Pulling together in a generous spirit is now a political as well as a personal reality. I honestly ask you, what better gift is there to give than a human and cultural one? I mean music, art, something handmade, and books. What has more meaning, more of the substance analogous to the felt thought behind the giving? Books open up the human mind, the human heart, the human spirit, in your very hands. All of your gift giving can be homemade or purchased locally from people in your actual community. You can support your local economy, your neighbors and their businesses, your quality of life, as you purchase food, music, art, and books from your local shopkeepers. Make your gifts count, exponentially, radiating out in their effects and sounding deep inside with their resonance. Books have heft, have heart, have humanity. What better gift can you give?
Please enjoy this collection of reviews by our alert, devoted and ardent booksellers of just a few of the wonderful selection of gift books currently on our shelves. We look forward to seeing you this season and helping you to find the right books for all those in your life who would appreciate them.
Have Wonder-filled Holidays!
John & all Dieselfolk
There is something about the aesthetically pleasing construction of stringed instruments that gives them such a powerful presence. Beyond the practicality of design - which is the extent of a wind instrument's appearance - a guitar, mandolin, or cello's shape has a rhythm pleasing to the eye as well. When Ace Frehley plays his Gibson or Joni Mitchell plays her acoustic, the guitar's design is so distinct that you can hear the instrument by just looking at it. This book is a dedication to capturing the sound of an instrument by giving it an appropriate shape, much the same way an impressionist painter will give you the warmth of the sun by using colors and brushstrokes that conjure up what it actually feels like on a hot day. The vintage guitars photographed in this book range from ancient to modern, elegant to tacky, and classic to just plain odd. With Strings Attached is the perfect gift for the guitarist in your family! -- Jon
The Chinese certainly have a wonderful artistic tradition. Su Shi, influential painter/poet of the Song Dynasty, once said: "If anyone discusses painting in terms of formal likeness / His understanding is close to that of a child." In this same spirit, Maxwell Hearn explores over 35 of China's most renowned paintings - each representing a different philosophy in this long tradition. Hearn's book allows viewers an opportunity to see beyond the forms of the page, and gives us the tools to start seeing the forms of the mind. Not to mention, it's a book full of beautiful paintings. -- Sean
"Long ago and far away..." immediately transports many of us to
landscapes populated with massive and labyrinthine forests, dire
wolves, magical devices, and love-torn heroes and heroines. Yet fairy
and folk tales, at least in their original form, were dangerous,
political, and multi-valent. Russian Legends collects over 90 gorgeous
(and often full-color) illustrations ranging from the 1890s through the
1940s as well as several essays that explore these illustrations'
political, religious, and cultural significance, though even if you
never read a word in this book, the images tell their own stories.
Russian Legends is a perfect gift for those intrigued by the rich loam
of Russian mythology and anyone fascinated with the vast wonders of the
intellect and imagination. -- Trevor
When you are a father-to-be like myself, you spend a lot of time dreaming of how your world will expand, but you also can't help but think how that world is going to shrink a little, too. In short, I will not be taking a newborn on a road trip around Spain but thanks to this wonderful book I can at least have a pretty terrific vicarious experience. A companion piece to the PBS series starring Gwyneth Paltrow & Mario (lose the crocs) Batali, this book is filled with great recipes, beautiful pictures and a lovely playfulness. -- Craig Hoover
The Joker has been released from Arkham Asylum and Gotham is just not
prepared. Brian Azzarello, writer of 100 Bullets and Loveless, gives us
this dark and gritty bad-guy story with everyone's favorite psychopath.
Artist Lee Bermejo's The Dark Knight-inspired Joker, Two Face, and
Harley Quinn are truly wicked visions! Any fan of Batman's rogues'
gallery cannot afford to miss this one. - Joey Puente
Last year was the hundredth anniversary of the birth of Georges Prosper
Remi, known to us as Herge, creator of the big-hearted boy reporter
Tintin. Back in the 1930's, while American cartoonists were creating
funnily dressed superheroes to save the day, Herge's young Tintin was
setting out on his first mystery adventures in a roadster, nattily
attired in plus-four trousers, always accompanied by his white terrier
Snowy. It is Tintin's very ordinariness and unfailing scruples that
allow so many readers to enter this comic book world filled with
dastardly villains, political intrigue and exotic locales. Three
generations of Americans have avidly collected this series and whether
you're replacing the furry-edged copies belonging to an existing fan or
introducing a new reader, this boxed set of all 21 stories makes a
fabulous gift. -- Margaret Simpson
I've never met a forest I didn't like and the happy thought of tramping through the woods sometime in the near future keeps me sane. Author and nature photographer Tim Palmer, long a leader in river conservation, turns his lens and concern toward America's forests both thriving and threatened. These stunning photographs remind us that this is a country like no other, whose wildernesses are in urgent need of protection. Palmer's well-written text will satisfy both the botanist and the lobbyist in you. -- Margaret Simpson