They're a snap to wrap. They don't require an electrical outlet or a battery. Of course, we're talking about those au courant but timeless items: books.
Natalie BeachO, The Oprah Magazine
Here are standouts for the most discerning loved ones on your list.
Thunder & Lightning
By Lauren Redniss 272 pages; Random House
For...Storm Chasers A gorgeous and illuminating illustrated study of weather in all its tempestuous variety and humankind's courageous though ultimately puny attempts to comprehend it. Redniss's combo of fact, folklore and vibrant etched copperplate prints enthralls.
The Broad Fork
By Hugh Acheson 336 pages; Clarkson Potter
For...Foodies Who Prefer to Eat In Written by a beloved Georgia chef who extols the connection between community and cuisine, this vegetable-centric cookbook is ideal for the culinary dabbler who's always wanted to tackle kohlrabi (if not spell it).
The Big Book of Sherlock Holmes Stories
816 pages; Pantheon
For...Amateur Sleuths Admirers of logic and deerstalker hats know that Sir Arthur Conan Doyle wasn't the only scribe to tell tales of the world's preeminent detective. Writers as venerable as O. Henry, Kingsley Amis and Neil Gaiman have penned fan fiction, the best of which is collected here.
The Complete Stories
By Clarice Lispector 640 pages; New Directions
For...Insatiable Bibliophiles One of the 20th century's literary masters finally gets some respect with this career-spanning volume of short fiction. Haunting and essential reading for aficionados of Kafka, Borges and philosophically menacing vignettes of plucky women navigating a world overseen by dull men and an indifferent God.
Lonely Planet's Ultimate Travel: Our List of the 500 Best Places to See...Ranked
By Lonely Planet 328 pages; Lonely Planet
For...Escape Artists The vagabond always eyeing the nearest exit will be transported by this guide to the world's unmissable places—the Temples of Angkor, Big Sur and 498 others—put together by a leading voice in excursions, adventures and jaunts.
Bream Gives Me Hiccups
By Jesse Eisenberg 256 pages; Grove Press
For...Comics in Training The Cineplex's next Lex Luthor, also an acclaimed playwright, somehow found the time (and levity) to produce a short humor collection overflowing with high-strung characters entangled in absurd situations.
Dust & Grooves
By Eilon Paz 428 pages; Ten Speed
For...Nostalgic Obsessives Devotees of music and accumulating, behold: glossy portraits of vinyl collectors and their record rooms. Or, to quote hip-hop journalist Jeff "Chairman" Mao's introduction, "a beautiful, lovingly constructed and heartfelt celebration of a senseless and punishing neurosis."
By Maira Kalman 160 pages; Penguin Press
For...Canine Canoodlers "You certainly know that your dog is...the dearest, funnniest, lovingest, loyalest friend you ever had," observes Kalman in a perfect gift book for whichever pooch-partial human companion comes in a close second.
By Zach Klein 336 pages; Little, Brown and Company For...the Architecture Enamored The world-weary urbanite not quite ready to leave civilization behind can live vicariously through these sumptuous photos of simple structures from around the globe that prove small is beautiful.
The Hollow of the Hand
By PJ Harvey and Seamus Murphy 232 pages; Bloomsbury Circus
For...Good Samaritans From Kosovo to Afghanistan to Washington, D.C., a musician-poet and a photographer record the on-the-ground pain and grace of everyday life—sequined high heels riding a city escalator; a man begging by the side of the road, palm outstretched, ignored. A stirring art book for the rare soul who reaches back.
Creating the Illusion
By Jay Jorgensen and Donald L. Scoggins 416 pages; Running Press
For...Star-Struck Cinephiles You know Scarlett O'Hara's window-drape gown, Eliza Doolittle's Ascot dress and the Oompa Loompas' orange faces, but do you know who dreamed them up? The behind-the-seams artistry of Hollywood costumers is ready for its close-up in this opulent coffee-table book.
Matisse in the Barnes Foundation
Matisse in the Barnes Foundation
By Yve-Alain Bois 824 pages; Thames & Hudson
For...Amateurs D'Art No art lover's library is complete without this showpiece: a three-volume reproduction of one of the world's most significant Henri Matisse collections.
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