10 Books to Give for the Holidays

Whether you’re a bookworm looking to pick yourself up a treat or have an avid reader on your holiday shopping list, these are the 10 best new books to buy this season.

Biography

Steve Jobs by Walter Isaacson [Simon and Schuster]

Originally released in October, this biography of the Apple Inc. co-founder is still #1 on theNew York Times Best Sellers non-fiction list. Like we mentioned earlier, Isaacson was Job’s personal biographer, gaining intimate knowledge of the usually closed Jobs and his friends and family. Published only weeks after Job’s passing at the age of 56 (he also died only weeks after resigning as CEO of Apple), this is not just a biography of a business entrepreneur, but of a highly imaginative and ambitious game changer. Watch a 60 Minutes segment about the beginnings and formings of the book.

Bossypants by Tina Fey [Reagan Arthur Books]

Though she spent years as head writer for Saturday Night Live and co-hosted the show’s “Weekend Update” segment with Jimmy Fallon and eventually Amy Poehler, Tina Fey didn’t hit it big until her dead-on Sara Palin impression. She kept the ball rolling with 30 Rock, a show based on the behind-the-scenes at SNL. As star and writer of the current NBC sitcom, in the last five years since the show’s inception Fey has become a comedy legend. Although released in April, this biography is still in the top 30 of the New York Times’ Best Sellers non-fiction list. In Bossypants, Fey not only delves into her life, but also into the struggles she faced as a female in the sexist environment of male-dominated comedy. Watch below as Fey channels Palin with Poehler as Hillary Clinton.

Blue Nights by Joan Didion [Knopf]

We highlighted this book as a noteworthy release in October. Joan Didion has left her mark on both the literary and non-fiction words. Her voice is uniquely her own, and her insights are always poignant and moving. Blue Nights follows her 2005 release The Year of Magical Thinking, where Didion delves into the topics of widowhood and her ailing daughter. Sadly, for her follow up, Didion must discuss the death of her adopted daughter, Quintana Roo. Below, Didion reads from the first chapter.

Fiction

The Marriage Plot by Jeffrey Eugenides [Farrar, Straus and Giroux]

One of the most highly anticipated novels of this year came from the author of Middlesex andThe Virgin Suicides. On the tail of The Marriage Plot’s release, New York magazine published an article on Jeffrey Eugenides’ early days as an author and entanglements with other major players in the modern literary scene… some of which may have influenced his current novel.The Marriage Plot follows several characters as they graduate from college and enter the real world; themillions.com offers a peek at the book’s first paragraph. Eugenides was recently at the 92Y promoting the release of his latest book, and can be seen below talking about plotting the plot of The Marriage Plot (fun to say, no?).

 

IQ84 by Haruki Murakami [Knopf]

This is not a new release, per se, but it is new to the English-speaking world. Haruki Murakami is a literary giant in his native Japan, and for his magnum opus he wrote a giant of a book: over 900 pages. English readers were so excited for IQ84’s translation, several bookstores in New York City stayed open past midnight the night before its release to take advantage of eager crowds. Highlighted as a noteworthy release in October, it’ll make a great gift for lovers of thick tomes.

 

 

Art/Photography

Alexander McQueen: Savage Beauty (Metropolitan Museum of Art) by Andrew Bolton, Solve Sundsbo, Tim Blanks, and Susannah Frankel [Metropolitan Museum of Art]

It was not just the fashion industry that mourned Alexander McQueen’s passing in 2010, but all of the creative world. McQueen was so much more than a fashion designer, he was a true artist, and you didn’t have to be a Vogue subscriber to know his name. As we mentionedearlier, the British head of the Alexander McQueen fashion house attracted legions of fans, and when the Met put up a posthumous exhibit of his collections, the attendance broke records. Forced to delay the closing of the show, on its final night the museum kept its doors open past midnight for the large crowd. In the end, over 600,000 people went to see Savage Beauty. This full-color, hardbound book is exhibit’s complement. Featuring photographs of collections from his entire career, including his student collection, its 240 pages are nearly enough to sate any ardent McQueen fan. Below, a walk-through of the Met show.

 

 

Illustrated

Go the F**k to Sleep by Adam Mansbach and Ricardo Cortes [Akashic Books]

Although this book was released at the beginning of summer, it’s still the 25th most sold book on all of Amazon, and No. 2 in the “Parenting and Relatioships” category. Although it is illustrated, this is not a children’s book. It’s more like an adult storybook. Inspired by author Adam Mansbach’s difficulties in putting his daughter to bed, this story captures the growing frustration—and failure—of a parent trying to get their child to do the simplest thing. It’s so great, we even reviewed the book when it went viral. Watch an excerpt of Samuel L. Jackson reading from Go the F**ck to Sleep below.

 

Embed video: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QLPyuFVKGak

Habibi by Craig Thompson [Pantheon]

From the famed graphic novelist Craig Thompson (Blankets), Habibi follows orphan slaves Dodola and Zam as they grow up, grow apart and then grow together. More than just a comic book, this well researched illustrated novel provides readers with a deep, engaging story making this what Publisher’s Weekly predicted would be the most talked about graphic novel this fall. Watch Craig Thompson discuss his book at NYC’s own Strand Book Store below.

History/Science

Radioactivity: A History of a Mysterious Science by Marjorie C. Malley [Oxford University Press]

With the controversy surround companies hydrofracking in New York State, more than ever people are worried about energy, and where to get it from. Most of New York City is powered by the Indian Point nuclear power plant, but how much does the average person know about nuclear energy? More importantly, what do we know about the side effect of nuclear power—radioactivity? In this book Marjorie Malley goes over the history of radioactivity, its discovery and positive uses.

Cooking

The Cook’s Illustrated Cookbook: 2,000 Recipes from 20 Years of America’s Most Trusted Cooking Magazine by the Editors at Cook’s Illustrated Magazine [Cook’s Illustrated]

Everyone has a foodie on their gift list, but Cook’s Illustrated brand is for a special type of cook: the engineers of food. Cook’s aim is to make the perfect dishes; not crazy, elaborate ones, they just want to do the basics flawlessly. Cook’s not only provides recipes, but explains the science behind their very specific instructions, and even tips on the best way to dice, slice, and generally prepare food. They also put cooking and baking utensils and tools to the test, rigorously rating them so you can make informed decisions the next time you visit Williams-Sonoma. Though this may be a book you gift digitally – with 2,000 recipes, this cookbook contains 900+ pages, making it unwieldy in the kitchen, with thin pages bound to get smudged in the cooking process. An e-book is the perfect solution.

This article was originally published on AllMediaNY.com

1 Comment

  1. Great list. I agree and am happy Eugenides and Murakami made the lists. Two great books. And that children’s book, read it in B&N, funny stuff.

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