December begins on Friday and if you haven’t begun shopping already for the holidays, then you have been thinking about it. For the next few weeks, we will be super-sizing the list of new releases to help you in your shopping quest for the perfect holiday gifts for book lovers. This week, we have books by cherished authors Danielle Steele, Tom Clancy, and Michel Crichton; the new addition to the Fifty Shades trilogy; internet phenomenon Rudy Francisco’s book of poetry; the journal of Vladimir Nabokov, published for the very first time; books on art; a memoir on Bob Dylan’s gospel years; and a few good cookbooks (because what’s better than curling up with your favorite holiday eats and a new book?). You may even find something here to give to yourself as a reward for braving the stores, the parking, and the lines at the mall.
The Complete Cooking for Two Cookbook, Gift Edition: 650 Recipes for Everything You’ll Ever Want to Make, America’s Test Kitchen
For years the average cookbook’s recipes have been aimed at serving 4-6 people – which is why The Complete Cooking for Two Cookbook has been so great – now, they have a great gift edition. This book doesn’t just cover soups and salads, but stir-fries, pies, cakes, and roasts. Part kitchen manual, part cookbook, and just a great staple to have around the kitchen, this book makes the absolute best gift for anyone you know getting engaged, married, graduating, or any other special event.
Southern Living Annual Recipes 2017: An Entire Year of Recipes, Editors of Southern Living
This one is the most recent edition of a classic tradition – for 40 years, Southern Living Magazine has collected the year’s best recipes, and compiled them together in one solid cookbook. This most recent one is full of perfect Sunday dinners, mouth-watering desserts, and holiday recipes that are perfect for the beginning of the season. We recommend you pick this one up as soon as you can, and get started on cooking for the season – you might find some you can’t wait to make again, and bring along as the perfect holiday gift.
Jim Murray’s Whiskey Bible, Jim Murray
I’ll be honest here: I don’t actually know anything about whiskey other than how much to add to hot toddy. For those of you who, like me, are just endlessly confused by the different varieties, names, and everything else, this is definitely the book for you. The most comprehensive and inclusive guide to whiskey, it’s actually surprisingly readable. It’s detailed, full of tasting notes, and accessible enough that you can use it to choose the best whiskey even out of the options you get at your local liquor store. This makes a perfect guide for you, and a great gift – or you can use it to buy someone you love the perfect bottle.
From health and wellness coach Gina Schade comes her best yet – these recipes are the genuine, tried-and-tested recipes that have made it out with five stars every time. Not only are they delicious to eat and look at, they’re also well-balanced meals that are good for not only you, but your whole family. Including a host of tips to make your cooking the best its ever been, this recipe book will not go amiss for anyone in your life – for kids going off to college, your sister-in-law, or even yourself. These recipes are good for you, your time, and your family!
Feast Your Eyes, Brittany Wright
This one’s not really a cookbook, but it sure will inspire you to cook. Stuck in a job she didn’t like, with no creative outlet, artist Brittany Wright turned to cooking – and used her artistic capabilities to create the hashtag #foodgradients, showing the different gradients of colors available in food. Minimalist and gorgeous, each page shows the vibrancy of the food we eat, showing that sometimes, we really do eat with our eyes. While it may not tell you how to make the food, this book is the most satisfying food-related-book we’ve come across in a while; and it’s sure to make you pick up a real cookbook and make what’s on these pages.
Helium, Rudy Francisco
This book of poetry comes from sensation Rudy Francisco. Spell-binding is one of the best terms to describe this book: each poem is touching, beautiful, and captivating. This collection is particularly important: each addition touches on something more relevant than ever in today’s climate: poems on love, race, gender, class, and so much more can be seen throughout this book. We recommend reading it out loud for maximum impact. Rudy Francisco is a poetry slam champion, and has traveled extensively, performing his poetry throughout the country.
Wild is She, Wilder Poetry
This is one of the best examples of where social media and the digital age have delivered something amazing to the world. Wilder Poetry, of whom the only information to be found is on their Instagram, twitter, and Facebook page, has released a book full of the most astoundingly beautiful poetry we’ve read in a very long time. Drawing on epithets of nature, the material that readers have at their fingertips here is masterful, inspiring beautiful imagery. We can’t recommend this one enough – we know it will be a loved addition in every household.
Owens, Laura, Scott Rothkopf & Laura Owens
Laura Owens emerged as one of the most interesting artists in the 1990s, challenging normal assumptions about abstraction, and figuration. This comprehensive guide to Laura Owens is not only a survey of her art, but also of her as a person, and her inspirations. Full of analyses, critical essays, commentaries and more, readers gain a broad view and a new understanding of Owen’s work, which ranges from folk art, to wallpaper, to comics. Brilliantly adaptive, and incredibly creative, Laura Owens’ art is genius. This book is a fantastic guide to her work.
Dalí: The Wines of Gala, TASCHEN
On the heels of TASCHEN’s publication of Dalí: Les dîners de Gala, comes The Wines of Gala. As surreal as the artist’s work, this wine guide organizes wine less in the variety of grape, or region, and more in the sensation it creates in the drinker. Weighing the color, production method, and others, the wines are finally grouped together under “Wines of Frivolity,” “Wines of the Impossible,” and “Wines of Light,” to name a few. Featuring beautiful illustrations by Dalí, this is one of the best wine guides to come out ever; and while we’re not quite sure what “Wines of the Impossible” means, exactly, we’re sure looking forward to finding out!
Darker: Fifty Shades Darker as Told by Christian, E.L. James
We all remember when Fifty Shades of Grey took the country (and the world) by storm, right? With another movie soon to be released next year, here’s an addition to the Fifty Shades trilogy; but this time, it’s from the perspective of Christian Grey. Get the other side of the story, and step into a much darker mind-set with this one. Fans of the original trilogy will be thrilled, and those curious to take that first step will find this an enjoyable read, as well.
The Keeper of Lost Things: A Novel, Ruth Hogan
For a debut novel, Ruth Hogan writes like she’s been publishing works for years. Charming and moving, this book is full of subtleties. Forty years ago, Anthony Peardew lost a keepsake from his fiancée – the same day she unexpectedly died. Distraught, he’s found a type of solace in becoming a keeper of lost things – he finds the things that people have forgotten, lost, or left behind, and writes stories about them. But, as his time is coming to an end, he leaves his life’s work to his unsuspecting assistant, Laura, who is in many ways, a lost thing herself. Beautiful and touching, we can’t recommend this one enough.
Dragon Teeth: A Novel, Michael Crichton
From the New York Times Best-selling author of Jurassic Park, we know that this one is guaranteed to take us on a ride. Set in 1876, Indian tribes still populate the Western land, the gold rush starts to make its mark, and it’s still illegal to support the theory evolution. This is the setting where we find our two paleontologists, Othniel Charles Marsh and Edwin Drinker Cope, scouring the earth for dinosaur fossils, while backstabbing, sabotaging, and deceiving each other, in what would come to be known as the Bone Wars. Drawing on researched history and brilliance of imagination, this is a thrilling ride through history.
Moonlight Over Manhattan (From Manhattan with Love), Sarah Morgan
Dog-walker Harriet Knight has suffered from a lifetime of shyness, and, finally determined to conquer it, she’s decided to challenge herself, and do one thing every day for the month of December that scares her. But everything changes when she meets her newest client, energetic spaniel Madi, and finds that she’s got a whole other challenge on her hands: dealing with Madi’s temporary sitter, Dr. Ethan Black. For Ethan, he can deal with chaos, but not Madi’s kind of chaos, and the solution appears in the form of Harriet: she’ll move in with him temporarily, and he’ll pay her to take care of Madi for that time. But the course of true love never did run smooth…
Past Perfect: A Novel, Danielle Steel
Past and present collide in the latest novel from Danielle Steel. The Gregorys have a very ordered life: Sybil a museum consultant and design authority; Blake, her husband, in high-tech investment, both raising their two teenagers and six year old in Manhattan. Everything changes when Blake gets a job offer in San Francisco, and the family unexpectedly moves into a mansion – where, during an earthquake, the original inhabitants from 100 years ago suddenly appear. The two families become friends, and what follows is a riveting tale of family, friendship, and wisdom.
Memoirs and Journals
Insomniac Dreams: Experiments with Time by Vladimir Nabokov, Vladimir Nabokov
Vladimir Nabokov, novelist and entomologist, was a life-long insomniac. But in October, 1964, he started an experiment: for 80 days, immediately upon waking, he wrote down everything he had dreamed about, as per John Dunne’s An Experiment with Time. The idea was that time could go in reverse, and that later events, could inspire an earlier dream. Sounds trippy, right? Here, for the first time, his journal has been published, revealing startling insights into Nabokov’s life. An incredibly interesting book to read.
Trouble in Mind: Bob Dylan’s Gospel Years – What Really Happened, Clinton Heylin
Over the course of three years, Bob Dylan made three of the most controversial albums to be released: Slow Train Coming, Saved, and Shot of Love. This isn’t even including the shows he played during this time period. Every live show, every recording, every concert, and every rehearsal during this time period was recorded, and now, for the first time ever, they’ve been released. This is the official and invaluable companion to the Trouble No More: The Bootleg Series Vol. 13/ 1979-1981. This provides an incredible background to Dylan, and provides a new perspective on the singer for the audience. Bob Dylan’s beet featured heavily in the news this past year, and we can’t think of a better way to end the year than with this.
The Durrells of Corfu, Michael Haag
While not Gerald Durrell’s autobiographical account (My Family and Other Animals) of his family’s move to Corfu, this is certainly a biography in its own right. Michael Haag goes back and looks at the history of the Durrell family, and their origins, their move, and their lives. Reading less like the memoir of the original, this is a well researched account. This is a good book to read in addition to the original books, shedding more light and offering more background information, as well as the television series that’s just recently come out for another season!
The Man in the Crooked Hat: A Novel, Harry Dolan
Private eye Jack Pellum has spent the last two years hunting down the man that he believes killed his wife – going only from the description that he was wearing a fedora hat, and a peacoat. But months of going through every dead-end lead, and every crime record has turned up no results. But, when a local writer commits suicide, he leaves behind a cryptic message, leading to what appears to be a trail of cold-case murders. At the same time, Michael Underhill is determined to make sure that nothing in his life goes wrong – he has a sweet girlfriend, and they’re building their future home. But Michael’s past isn’t all as pretty as he wants his future to be. The two men are drawn together in a suspense, thrilling journey that you won’t be able to put down.
Tom Clancy Power and Empire (A Jack Ryan Novel), Marc Cameron
President Jack Ryan has his hands full with the Chinese government, who are challenging him at every turn on the global chessboard: first there’s an attack on an oil platform, and then a US spy ship is on the verge of falling into Chinese hands, in addition to a series of other challenges. But, very soon, there seem to be small hints everywhere that there’s so much more going on in the shadows and behind the scenes – and a routine traffic stop proves just that. Without all the information, everything must still move ahead. This is a continuation of the late Tom Clancy’s Jack Ryan series.
Hark the Herald Angels Slay (A Year Round Christmas Mystery), Vicki Delany
Rudolph, New York: Where the Christmas cheer and spirit lasts all year long. Christmas in July usually means the arrival of Santa to begin his lakeside vacation, but instead, shop owner Merry Wilkinsons’ ex-fiancé shows up with a lifestyle magazine crew to document the festivities of the season. With her ex-fiancé seemingly trying to win back her heart, Merry’s life is already busy, but when his body turns up, dead, in the middle of her shop, Merry’s left to find the killer. With Christmas underway, and a murder to solve, Merry’s going to be busier than ever this holiday.