When giving books for the holidays, sometimes its nice to go for books that are as much pleasurable objects as they are interesting reads.
A History of the World in 100 Objects, by Neil McGregor, which is also a BBC 4 series in book form, is one such book. From Sumerian stone tablets to a credit card, it’s all there, lavishly illustrated and chock-a-block with fascinating commentary, suitable for art history and archaeology buffs.
Spacesuit: fashioning Apollo by Nicholas de de Monchaux is another lavish, well-put together tome. Comes in a matte-black cover, like the substance of space itself. Helps if the recipient is a bit of a space geek.
Although it’s getting mixed reviews, Spielberg’s Tin Tin movie comes out over the holidays, sure to generate a revival for the diminutive Belgian “journalist” (I can’t remember Tin Tin ever sitting down at a typewriter). There’s a book associated with the movie, but then the actual Tin Tin books are a pleasant way to pass a snowy evening.
“Why go to the art museum when you could have a museum of your own?” reads one blurb for The Art Museum, a book about art museums that purports to actually be a museum and appears to be the Cadillac of coffee table art history books.
Then again, you can always go go the bleak, gruesome semi-holiday-oriented route for the curmudgeon who needs an antidote for all of that saccharine holiday cheer. There’sSnowdrops by A.D. Miller, or better yet The Snowman by Jo Nesbo. Nobody does bleak and chilling like Scandinavians.
I usually hate holiday shopping, but buying books is also a great opportunity to browse and perhaps skive off over a vanilla latte. There’s a lot to be said for actually trying out the product before giving it as a gift. You can always do some window shopping here.