The Advice Sisters write many many book review roundups. This story for holiday 2020 features books and calendars that all can enjoy. I hope you enjoy this holiday gift story, too! (Alison Blackman, book review editor)
A Book For Dog Lovers:
For the animal lover in your life, a great holiday gift idea is the book At Home With Dogs: Rescue Love Stories by Natalia King-Sun and Patricia Hart McMillan (Schiffer Books October 2020). As I write this review, my rescue cat Bob Marley is dying. I’m devastated. But I’m glad I rescued him and gave him a good home with lots of love for as long as he was able to live.
The book I’m recommending is about dogs, however. Like so many of the dog adoption stories in this large, beautifully photographed book, adopting a rescue dog doesn’t always good smoothly at first. That was true for me and Bob Marley. He had been abused and was angry and fearful. We offered him patience and love and security. Over time, he became my best furry friend. When you rescue an animal, you not only save his life but enhance your own.
Perusing the “happy” stories of dog rescue in this book gives me hope. It’s clear from the “fur parents” and tips on each dog, that like my beautiful Bob Marley, adopting a rescue pet can be a challenge. But you also realize how much giving an animal a second chance at happiness can give it to you as well. For animal lovers or anyone thinking of adopting a dog, this is a lovely way to share joy.
The Tarot Deck That Honors Women:
Books and calendars are the focus of this holiday gift guide, but Advicesisters.com has reviewed a number of interesting tarot decks in the past. One that is both beautiful to look at an educational is Our Tarot: A Guidebook & Deck Featuring Notable Women in History by Sarah Shipman (Harper Design October 2020).
The set includes a beautifully boxed, full-color tarot deck and accompanying guidebook. Learn about the tarot as you learn about iconic and note-able women in history.
There are beautiful collage portraits of women to bring their lives into focus from the likes of Frida Kahlo, Josephine Baker, Emily Dickinson, Queen Victoria, Harriet Tubman, Corazon Aquino, Marie Curie, and more.
the book includes women both famous and infamous, and you can certainly learn a lot just from reading the cards, learning about each woman represented on it. Whether you are a beginner or a devotee of the tarot, you’ll have a lot of fun with the deck. The instruction book is large and easy to understand. This makes a great gift idea.
Workman’s Wonderful Calendars:
Workman is one company that makes a huge variety of calendars to fit every interest and personality. Calendars are a one size fits all gift that is personal and affordable. Here are some of my favorites for holiday 2020 and to ring in the new year 2021!
There is no such thing as a bad cat, or is there? I received the Bad Cat Calendar as a holiday gift a couple of years ago and laughed myself silly every single day of the year. Since then, I’ve purchased it for myself, because the page a day calendar brings a smile first thing in the morning.
As I see it, no cat is truly “bad.” However, the cats in this calendar have captions so hilarious $16 They’re rude and give you a sense of what that “bad cat” is really thinking. You’ll start each day with a smile, or your lucky cat-loving gift recipient will! This calendar has sold more than 1.6 million copies and is printed on FSC-certified paper and it has a new eco-friendly cardboard backer.
For those who love glorious cat photos, there’s the classic and beloved Page a Day Gallery Calendar in a deluxe lucite holder (see advicesisters 2020 holiday book review)
Pigs are so intelligent, and they’re cute, too! The Original Pocket Pigs Wall Calendar for 2021 features the famous teacup pigs of England’s Pennywell Farm. This calendar has photos by Richard Austin. These pigs don’t just sit in the barnyard…definitely not.
You’ll see them flying planes, playing the harp, sniffing a bunny, dressed for Halloween, and more. Your heart will melt. at $15 it’s an affordable gift idea too.
Funny Sad Animal Facts:
If animals could share their thoughts and feelings, what would they say? For those who like to stay organized, the spiral-bound 2021 weekly planner Sad Animal Facts is the perfect gift for all the days in 2021! The weekly planner is based on a New York Times Best Seller by Brooke Barker, Each week has a cute animal drawing with a sad “comment” and a real fact about that animal. For example, April 12th has a snail that says “all this lettuce and no one to share it with” and the “fact” says “studies show that some types of snails prefer eating in groups to eating alone.” Learn, discover, and have fun staying organized throughout the year. It’s just $15.
Great Gifts for Donkeys, Elephants, & the “undecided”
Recipes from the Bush Ranch:
Whether you’re a Republican or a Democrat or undecided, who wouldn’t like to dine like heads of state and other dignitaries visiting President Geroge W. Bush at Camp Davide and the Bush Family’s Prairie Chapel Ranch in Texas? Recipes From the President’s Ranch: Food People Like to Eat by Matthew Wendel with a foreword by Former First Lady Laura Bush (The White House Historical Association (June 2020)
This gorgeously photographed and illustrated book offers more than just official menus and recipes. Although there are plenty of those. It’s also a memoir written by the chef at Camp David and the Bush family home on the Prairie Chapel Ranch. It’s a personal view of what it was life was like at Camp David and at home for the Bush family. You will discover the hard work and protocol required to work for a President. Food is a great way to foster goodwill and communication whether you’re a world leader or just with friends at home. It’s very entertaining and interesting to see “behind the scenes.”
As to the recipes, they sound delicious and often have a bit of spice or Texas flare. Some may be a bit complicated for beginning cooks, but some (e.g. Oven Roasted Vegetables; Almond Toffee Brownies and Chilled Serrano Honeydew Melon Soup are super easy!
Among the books and calendars, we suggest each holiday season, are cookbooks.
With food, there is often wine accompanying unofficial and official white house dinners. Wine and The White House by Frederick J. Ryan Jr. (White House Historical Association (October 2020). Although it’s said that wine loosens tongues, one can only imagine what loose lips revealed at State Dinners. You won’t learn any state secrets in this hefty, beautifully photographed book. But you will discover each President’s preferences for the fruit of the vine all the way through to President Trump. There are also bunches of witty toasts, in case you’re ever in the need of one.
You will find menus from historic White House gatherings, a catalog of vintages served gorgeous glassware, and more. There are also great photos of the Presidents, first ladies, and guests that are revealing and fun. It’s amazing how tastes change with the decades! It will take you a while to get through all of the information in this book. Even if you are not a wine lover, you’ll be fascinated by every page.