Books can be a very personal gift as well as a “gift” to yourself. For Holiday 2017 we reviewed over a dozen books (they’re still available).
This year we’re suggesting 10 in a range of categories to suit a wide variety of tastes.
Art Books make great gifts but they are not one size fits all. One that we think will appeal to discerning adults and devotees of Japanese art and erotic anime is DARK & FETISH ART (PIE International September 2018) . This 350+ page full color softcover book compiles the work of 40 international artists.
I wouldn’t leave this book out where the young kids can find it as some of the artwork is stunningly beautiful, but a lot of it is thought-provoking to outright disturbing.
This type of erotica encourages discussion and it’s fascinating. Honestly, you don’t have to be into erotica at all to appreciate the creativity and artistry. If you are, you’ll adore it!
Give this as a personal gift to your special someone, or for that impossible to buy for person.
The television show Family Ties was on the air from 1982 to 1989. The cast included Justine Bateman as a young woman intersted in clothes, boys and makeup,
Justine Bateman grew up in front of the cameras and can tell you aboutr the pros and cons of fame. She’s definitely been there and done that.
In her new book FAME: The Hijacking of Reality (Akashicbooks October 2018) Bateman claims that once she was famous, she became a non-person to most of the fans, publicists and others who expected her to work the fame system.
The writing seems a lot like a therapy session with a lot of stream of consciousness peppered with curse words. However, it’s her personal view of how fame feels.
The author stresses that real fame takes talent and hard work. I was surprised at her blistering self-deprecation, and criticism.
Bateman also spends a fair amount of time lambasting the insensitive and downright rude way the non-famous tend to treat celebrities.
All of this seems authentic and from the heart. Yes, fame is a mixed blessing. Once you have it fame doesn’t necessarily last forever .
Losing a high level of fame hurts, too. Justine Bateman has moved on, but her views from the “inside looking out” might offer a balanced view, even as we covet “followers” and “Fans” on social media.
Actor, comedian, and writer Bill Murray’s career first took off on Saturday Night Live. It continued with a string of mega-movie hits including Ghostbusters, Groundhog Day, Stripes and Lost in Translation, just to name a few.
Bill Murray fans can see Bill in a myraid of visual artworks in The Art of Being Bill: Bill Murray and the Many Faces of Awesome by Ezra Croft and Jennifer Raiser (Race Point Publishing (October 9, 2018).
I got a stort of “paper doll” feeling from the book. There’s Bill Murray’s familiar face gussied up in “costumes” from a knight to to a stained glass window.
These are the visions of more than 150 different artworks from artists around the world. It’s an usual experience to see one man’s famous face done so many different ways.
Creator Ezra Croft is the creator of pop culture art shows and also the curator of The Murray Affair, a traveling art show dedicated to featuring art depicting Bill Murray.
Clearly, he’s a fan.
Roman Holiday: The Secret Life of Hollywood in Rome by Caroline Young The History Press (May 1, 2018) delves into the lives, loves and movies of actresses in Rome during the 1950’s and 1960’s.
Travel to Europe was still an exotic location and one that drew famous names like Sophia Loren, Audrey Hepburn. Ava Gardner, and Elizabeth Taylor.
Following them were the paparazzi and a “Hollywood” scene that was eagerly covered in the press.
If you’re seeking more about the actual movie, “Roman Holiday” (depicted on the cover) you may be disappointed, That movie only has a “bit par.t” The “star” is the movie scene in Rome at the time.
The writing is dry and the black and white photos could be of better quality. For movie fans however, it’s a peek into the private and professional affairs of some of Hollywood and Europe’s most famous stars.
For those who ever fantasized about what it Rome’s celebrity scene used to be like, you’ll soak up the “sun” with this book.
The Sound of Music: The Making of America’s Favorite Movie by Julia Antopol Hirsch Chicago Review Press; 1 edition (April 1, 2018) is the ultimate fan guide to the movie.
For millions, The Sound of Music is not just a favorite movie, it’s a cherished memory.
This book has tons of photos and illustrations and the book goes into every aspect you can think of about the making and promotion of the film.
There is plenty of information about the cast and crew and also about the real Von Trapp family on which The Sound of Music is based, and their relationship to the movie.
The Sound of Music endures not just because of the movie, but because it resonnates with people around the world in song and story.
If there is a downside it’s that like many of the photos from the past from movie studios, the quality (of some) could be better.
This version can be purchased in paperback, and also in a Kindle and Audible version. Some might want it all three ways.
As the winner of many blue ribbons for jams and jellies, the thing I treasure most about canning and preserving is that when I open a jar of something I’ve canned it brings back memories of of when and where I was at the time I preserved these fruits and vegetables.
Canning is a way to eat healthier as you are not adding preservatives into your food. Canned food also makes a wonderful gift whenever you visit or need a little thank-you.
Ball is one of the gold standards for canning jars. Whether you are a beginner or a pro I’m suggesting two books to help you master the art of Canning.
The All New Ball Book of Canning and Preserving, Ball Canning Test Kitchen (Oxmoor House, 2016) features over 350 canned, jam/jelly, pickled and preserved recipes on 368 pages.
The basics of all of these activities are described in detail at the start of this hefty treasure trove of recipes illustrated in full color.
Decide what you want to do, ready ready, and try some of the dazzling jams, jellies, picked ginger, and even soup. There even a bit about curing and smoking food.
The recipes are well organized. The photos of mouth watering.
Pick up some Ball jars and start canning and preserving –there’s no ideal day or time.
The Ball Canning Back to Basics: A Foolproof Guide to Canning Jams, Jellies, Pickles, and More by the Ball Home Canninng Test Kitchen (Oxmoor House 2017) is a great refresher oir a boon to the newbie canner/preserver.
The book begins with in-depth information on water bath canning, the equipment you need, and (more importantly) how to can and preserve safely.
Easy to understand information with step-by-step photographs for the key steps help you be successful.
Most of the 100 recipes are simple so beginners can learn how to can and preserve without failure.
More experienced people or those who perfer the larger new Ball Canning book above will find that this slimmer book has some duplicate recipes.
For a beginner it’s a great gift idea.
Mary Berry has been quoted as saying that her Kitchen Aid is the one appliance she can’t live without. The British food writer and television presenter has apparently published more than 75 cookery books including her bestselling Baking Bible in 2009.
New and exciting for Mary Berry fans is Mary Berry Everyday: Make Every Meal Special (Trafalgar Square Publishing April 2018).
Inside this hefty hardcover book are 120 recipes including vegetarian and international ideas. The illustrations are full color and tempting.
There are lots of tips and ideas for ways you can prepare in advance which make it easier for the busy cook.
I like that the cook times are listed so you can easily figure out how much time you need to put your full meal or dinner party together.
There are 10 sections plus an introduction. Whether or not you like the recipes is a matter of personal taste. Many of the recipes are decidedly English.
The recipe for lemon and pistachio shortbread biscuiits won me over with just a 25 minute coos time and the fact that you can make and freeze ahead of when you are going to serve.
Last MInute Kitchen Secrets 129 Ingenious Tips to Survive Lump Gravy, Wilted Lettuce, Crumbling Cake and Other Cooking Disasters by Joey Green (Chicago Review Press Disributed by IPG August 2018) was so fascinating I didn’t put it down until I had turned every single page.
You will be amazed and yes, also entertained by some of the 100+ tips and hacks to avoid and save your cookings, plus ways to store ingredients and even more.
My favorite was something I never even consdiered, how to remove all the water out of a zip lock bag when you don’t have a vaccum pump to do it by using a bowl of water. And it works!
The author has a thing for pantyhose hacks, but he tells you how, and why, the hack works.
You might not want to unclog a drain with Jell-O and cleaning a copper pot with ketchup might sound crazy, but these things work when you don’t have drain de-clogger or copper polish.
Whether you’re an experiend cook, or clueless, you’ll love trying some of the things in this book. It’s an indepsenible guide.
If you love models and mystery, you will love WILDCHILDS: A Novel by Eugenia Melian (fashion Sphinx Books 2018) . The author writes about what she knows as she was a former model and although it’s a work of fiction, I’m sure those in the fashion business will see a bit of themselves in the characters.
The industry is full of scandal and it’s widely known that young and impressionable models are often abused and that’s kind of the premise of the book.
“Iris” is a former model and single mother whose true love was Gus, a celebrated fashion photographer and the father or her daughter, Lou.
She was traumatized by her life as a model in Paris with Gus and prefers her quiet life in a small town in the United States.
This all changed when Gus leaves his entire estate to Lou. Now Iris needs to go back to Paris and battle her demons.
There’s intrigue, too, but I’m not giving the entire plot away.
The shadows surrounding Iris seem unreasonably dark and some of her decisions seem wacky. I am sure the autho wanted to “expose” of the dark work of fashion but that falls a bit flat.
However, it’s a fast-paced book that will be exciting especially to those into fashion, photography, and a good fiction story.
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