The Holiday Round-Up: Books for All!

The #Holiday Round-Up: Books for All! Our top picks for the #bibliophiles in your life. @foliosociety @nancyrosep @hudsontalbott
@puffinbooks #puffinplated @PeachtreePub @bethanwoolvin @simonschuster

Yes, ’tis the season for frantic holiday shopping, unless you’re one of the rarefied people who check everyone off your list during those Christmas in July sales. If you’re more of a last-minute shopper, there’s still time to ace your gift-giving game this holiday season with a carefully selected title or two.  Below, our top picks for the bibliophile in your life. Get ’em while the gettin’s good!

The Folio Society Black Beauty cover shot

Black Beauty, by Anna Sewell, illustrations by Annette Hamley-Jenkins; Folio Society, $53.95, 224 pages.

Originally published in 1877, Sewell’s bestselling tale championing fair treatment for working horses in Victorian-era England gets the sumptuous Folio treatment with lush, full color illustrations by Annette Hamley-Jenkins and an introduction by War Horse author Sir Michael Morpurgo. This edition of Black Beauty comes in a handsome blue slipcase printed with horses galloping across in silhouette. This is the gift that keeps on giving: a timeless story, beautifully presented.

Please note: Folio Society’s order deadlines to make Christmas delivery are December 8 for standard shipping and December 14 for express.

(Images copyright 2018 Annette Hamley-Jenkins and reproduced with permission from Folio Society. )

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Charles Dickens’s A Christmas Carol: The Classic Novel with Recipes for Your Holiday Menu by: Giada de Laurentis, Ina Garten, Martha Stewart, and Trisha Yearwood; Puffin Plated, $25.00, 168 pages.

Carol

Is there any better combination than a good book and a good meal? Perhaps a frothy brew, but I digress. Puffin Plated, a new endeavor launched this fall by Penguin Random House, recently released A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens, unabridged and accompanied by mouth-watering photographs (by Tisha Cherry and Vega Hernando) of fruitcakes, gingerbread, and other holiday treats.  Delectable recipes come courtesy of culinary giants like Ina Garten and Martha Stewart. (Looking for a non-denominational gift? Pride and Prejudice also got the Puffin Plated treatment and is filled with sugary sweet confections.)

 

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(Images reproduced with permission from Penguin Random House.)

Picturing America: Thomas Cole and the Birth of American Art, by Hudson Talbott; Nancy Paulsen Books, 32 pages, ages 4-7.

Picturing America cover

“The painter of American scenery has, indeed, privileges superior to any other. All nature here is new to art,” wrote Thomas Cole (1801-1848), the father of the Hudson River School of painting and the patriarch of the young country’s first art movement. Here, author-illustrator Hudson Talbott introduces readers to a man who was at once an immigrant, an artist, and an environmentalist by weaving elements from some of Cole’s most iconic paintings into the book. A perfect gift for budding naturalists with an artistic streak.

 

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(Images copyright 2018 Hudson Talbott and reproduced with permission from Penguin Random House.)

Hansel & Gretel, by Bethan Woolvin; Peachtree Publishers, $16.95, 32 pages, ages 4-8.

hansel

Bethan Woollvin is back with another twisted fairy tale. Now, the author of Little Red and Rapunzel has concocted a revision of the Grimm brother’s classic story of two siblings forced to outsmart a cannibalistic old witch. As in her previous adaptations, Woollvin’s Hansel & Gretel takes a surprise turn, with Hansel and Gretel as sassy brats and the witch (named Willow) cast in a more benevolent role. To be enjoyed fireside with a heaping plateful of tasty gingerbread cookies.

 

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(Images copyright 2018 Bethan Woollvin. Reproduced with permission from Peachtree Publishers.)

All is Merry and Bright, by Jeffrey Burton, illustrated by Don Clark; Little Simon, $24.99, 26 pages, ages 0-4.

merry

Get the littlest revelers into the holiday spirit by offering them this oversize board book by Jeffrey Burton and Don Clark. The retro volume, complete with sparkly foil and embossing on every page is a joyous celebration of Christmas. Sensory overload in the best sense awaits the tiny tots who find this book tucked under their tree this year.

 

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(Text copyright 2018 Jeffrey Burton. Illustrations copyright 2018 Don Clark. Reproduced with permission from Simon & Schuster.)

Great Holiday Gifts for Grownups

Why should kids have all the fun this holiday season? It’s easy to forget the grownups during this hectic time of year, and checking off everyone on your list can get pricey. Consider giving the gift of great literature without breaking the bank: The Folio Society recently released a new series called Folio Collectibles, with four classic English-language titles (A Christmas Carol, The Hound of the Baskervilles, Gentlemen Prefer Blondes and Frankenstein) produced especially for the lineup. Why these books? “We wanted to chose popular classics that everyone should have in their library across a range of genres, said Vicky Traino, Folio Society spokeswoman. “We think that they are the perfect gift to yourself or to introduce someone to the joys of books from The Folio Society.” I’m reading Doyle’s chilling crime caper, The Hound of the Baskervilles, complete with linocut reproductions by English artist and printmaker Edward Bawden (1903-1989), who was commissioned by the Folio Society in 1987 to produce six illustrations for the book. Perhaps as exciting about the Collectibles is their price: each soft-covered, flexibound volume retails for $34.95, and perfectly sized to tote around.

Most Folio Society editions are works of art in their own right, and, at least in my house, are handled with kid gloves. The Collectibles series easily lend themselves to cozying up by the fire, book in hand, and reveling in the joys of the season. Interested? Better act fast: Holiday order deadlines are December 9 (today) for regular delivery; December 14 for express.

My True Love Gave To Me (General Overview) 12-20-2014.mov

Nicole Claire looks at a collection of short stories for young adult readers.

My True Love Gave to Me, edited by Stephanie Perkins; St. Martin’s Press, $18.99, 321 pages, ages 12 and up.

My True Love Gave To Me (General Overview) 12-20-2014.mov

The Dragon & the Knight: A Pop-up Misadventure, by Robert Sabuda; Little Simon, $29.99, 22 pages, ages 5-up.

Master paper engineer Robert Sabuda has created another book sculpture for pop-up enthusiasts of all ages. In this volume of fractured fairytales, a brave (if slightly goofy) knight pursues a maligned and misunderstood dragon.  The duo escape from their story and onto the pages of other fairytales, ranging from Aladdin to Cinderella. The escapees wreak havoc on each tale they visit, while each page reveals a more complex and imaginative three-dimensional creation than the last.  While there is text on each page, it’s not really here to be read. Rather,  it demonstrates the ruckus caused by the intruders – fairytales are obscured by towering structures of fire-breathing dragons, and even some of the characters pop-up sheathed in outfits made of words. (See Cinderella’s dress and Aladdin’s flying carpet.) Sabuda paper art books makes stunning gifts, but they are delicate – with so many intricate folds and pleats, very young readers should be supervised, lest older readers wish to spend hours carefully refolding dragon tails and towers. This tour de force will make an excellent addition to any collection on paper engineering.

Mermaids in Paradise, by Lydia Millet; W.W. Norton & Co, $25.95, 304 pages. (November 3, 2014)

Looking for a beachside novel to tote to sunny locales during your winter getaway? Pulitzer Prize finalist Lydia Millet (Love in Infant Monkeys) delivers something slyly different from the usual cabana literary fare.  The book starts with a traditional honeymoon narrative: newlyweds Chip and Deb disembark at a gorgeous Caribbean island, fully prepared to do nothing more than bask in the sun. Instead, they meet a marine biologist who has recently discovered a group of mermaids living off the coast. After the discovery goes public and hoteliers try to capitalize on the find, there’s no more quiet vacation for the lovebirds. Murder and intrigue soon follow in this quick-witted, fast-paced satire. Millet’s wonderfully dark, surreal story manages to address the serious topic of misusing natural resources with verve and biting wit, while straddling a few literary genres at the same time. Allow yourself to get lost in this frothy frolic.