Holiday Gift Guide 2015: Bookworms

Print to feast your eyes on, covering oysters, the Grateful Dead and even Milhouse Van Houten

There might not be a better gift than a book. No matter your loved one’s gender, race, age, job or obscure interests, there’s a book for them somewhere in the world. And, at this late stage in the holiday season, a book is also one of the easier solutions since many online shops offer super-fast shipping. So whether you’re looking for science, design, fairytales, photography or travel ideas, our Bookworms Gift Guide will have you giving one of the best presents possible this season—because aren’t books simply vehicles for imagination, inspiration and adventure?

A Poor Collector’s Guide to Buying Great Art

Even with a good sum of spare cash, selecting artworks to invest in can seem daunting and, for those on a budget, nearly impossible. Erling Kagge’s book “A Poor Collector’s Guide to Buying Great Art” ($32) answers essential questions, including how to get started, how to take one’s tastes seriously, how to learn to appraise prices and more, so new collectors can spend more time enjoying their new artworks instead of worrying about their value.


The impact of photographer and author Sebastian Copeland’s latest work, “Arctica: The Vanishing North,” ($84) is two-fold. First, its pages reveal the wonders of the world’s further point north, inspiring wanderlust and nothing short of awe. Second, a story unfolds of the perils that the region faces. On the surface, it stuns, but the book also manages to activate something within the viewer: a want to protect something so magnificent.

GLOSS: The Work of Chris von Wangenheim

Berlin-born fashion photographer Chris von Wangenheim had an innate knack for capturing images that were arresting, provocative and sexy. In Rizzoli’s ultra-glam hardcover “GLOSS: The Work of Chris von Wangenheim,” ($52) readers can explore some of his most page-stopping photographs, from topless women with giant guard dogs, babes diving into money, to the ever-iconic Grace Jones posing powerfully next to taxidermy cheetahs and panthers.

Oyster: A Gastronomic History (with Recipes)

Drew Smith (former editor of The Good Food Guide) has delved deep into all things oyster-related with his beautiful new hardcover “Oyster: A Gastronomic History (with Recipes)” ($30). From the delicacy’s ancient history (did you know Botticelli’s “Birth of Venus” incorrectly has her sailing ashore in a scallop shell, when it should have been an oyster shell?) to exciting recipes, etiquette, tools and more, this book is as fascinating as it is educational.

Living Under the Sun: Tropical Interiors and Architecture

Gestalten’s stunning hardcover tome “Living Under The Sun: Tropical Interiors and Architecture” ($40) showcases beautifully designed and decorated houses that happen to be located in the middle of tropical wonderlands. Homes in Vietnam, India, Brazil and everywhere in between have been photographed, and, like their surroundings, the designs are varied—with everything from beach shacks to mid-century modern mansions and brutalist-style concrete structures featured.

Jutaku: Japanese Houses

With 400+ houses featured across its 500+ pages, “Jutaku: Japanese Houses” is pretty big—considering its physical size is quite compact. Showcasing the best, strangest and most daring of contemporary Japanese residential architecture with full-color images, it’s a hardcover tome that will surprise and inspire readers to think outside the “duplex.”

This is All a Dream We Dreamed

Read about one of America’s most significant bands in “This is All a Dream We Dreamed: An Oral History of the Grateful Dead,” ($19) written by two of the Dead’s most-respected historians, Blair Jackson and David Gans. The duo writes (with thanks to band members, collaborators, peers and fans) how they went from a folk/bluegrass group to a cult-followed, psychedelic household name. It’s a fascinating oral history of a 50-year-old band that changed the landscape of live music forever.

The Circadian Tarot

A contemporary reimagining of the Tarot, this illustrated book ($15) functions as a guide for interpretation, as well as the deck of cards itself—one suggestion is for readers to open intuitively to a page each morning, during a quiet moment. The joy radiating from the Ten of Cups, the fiery energy of the Knight of Wands, the sudden upheaval of the Tower and more are captured perfectly within Michelle Blade’s otherworldly watercolors; their hidden meanings are helpfully deconstructed by Jen Altman’s accompanying text.

Milhouse From Memory

With over 100 illustrations of everyday hero Milhouse Van Houten (aka Bart Simpson’s BFF) each drawn from memory, Kieran Gabriel’s book “MilhouseFrom Memory” ($11) promises to delight readers. The drawings—by professional artists including Jean Jullien, Kali Ciesemier, Rose Blake and non-artists alike—are charming, strange and entirely sweet; evoking Van Houten’s adorable underdog vibe. An essential book for any The Simpsons enthusiast.

New York Polaroids 1976-1989

Yard Press unveils a more personal perspective from the life of a downtown New Yorker with “New York Polaroids 1976-1989” ($58). The 232 pages are held together with twist stitching and a faux leather cover, and within Swiss photographer and director Edo Bertoglio captures the essence of the city with pictures. His portrait subjects include the likes of Maripol, Glenn O’Brien, Debbie Harry, Madonna and Andy Warhol, and each Polaroid encapsulates the spontaneous and buzzing nature of the medium and the era in which Bertoglio shot.

Images courtesy of respective brands, hero image from GLOSS by Cool Hunting