Great Gift Books (for Yourself or Others)

    Just in time for gift-giving or your own reading wish list, there are great new books out for the winter holiday season.  You can find books for almost everyone, no matter their taste or interest, and you can also look forward to your own hibernation reading when the holiday bustle is over.  Here are some non-fiction picks for good winter reading from Manhattan Public Library.
            Deadline Artists: America’s Greatest Newspaper Columns edited by John Avlon, Jesse Angelo, and Errol Louis.  This anthology of great American writing is enthralling reading for lovers of history, politics,current affairs, and the art of journalism. It features selections on war, humor, crime, sports, politics, hard times, and civil rights from an overflowing wealth of writers – William Allen White, Mark Twain, Frederick Douglass, Damon Runyon, Dorothy Thompson, H. L.Mencken, Langston Hughes, Ernie Pyle, Will Rogers, Red Smith, Jimmy Cannon,Mike Royko, George Will, Maureen Dowd, William F. Buckley, Jimmy Breslin, DaveBarry, Molly Ivins, Mike Barnicle, Anna Quindlen, Carl Hiaasen, Peggy Noonan,Walter Winchell, Erma Bombeck, Pete Dexter, Cynthia Tucker, Steve Lopez  – to name just a fraction.  I couldn’t put it down.
            Heartland: The Cookbookby Judith Fertig.  Beautiful photographs,interesting narrative, and recipes featuring Midwest regional ingredientsdistinguish this scrumptious coffee table cookbook by a Kansas author.  Baked Eggs with Prosciutto and AsiagoCream?  Hoosier Sugar Cream Pie?  Grilled Duck Breast with Wild Rice-DriedCherry Pilaf?  Oh, yeah.
           The Destiny of the Republic: A Tale of Madness, Medicine, and the Murder of a President by Candice Millard. The short presidency of James Garfield in 1881, seemingly a footnote inhistory, in fact came at a key time for the United States, and the era comesvividly to life in this lively and entertaining book.  Written as a suspense-filled historical taleof crime, medicine, scientific invention, and politics during the post-CivilWar era, this book is drawing rave reviews.
            100 Yards of Glory: The Greatest Moments in NFL History by Joe Garner and Bob Costas.  If you have a football fan on your gift list,this compendium from writer Garner and broadcaster Costas is a sure winner,covering the most memorable games, plays, coaches, and players in nearly 100years of NFL history.  Great photos,great writing and analysis, AND it comes with a video!
            The Swerve: How the World Became Modern by Stephen Greenblatt.Newly-announced winner of the 2011 National Book Award, this page-turnercombines history, biography, philosophy, and theology to describe how the 14thcentury re-discovery and translation of a forgotten ancient manuscriptinfluenced the thinkers of the day and set in motion the massive cultural“swerve” we now know as the Renaissance.
           The Ecstasy of Defeat: Sports Reporting at its Finest from the editors of The Onion.  Another wonderful, raw, and hilariouslysatirical look at the American way of life from the wildly offbeat “news”website TheOnion.com.  When the coverboasts headings like “Creepy Lifeguard Turns out to be Nine-Time Olympic Gold MedalistMark Spitz” you know you’ve stumbled into another adventure in irreverence, inthe same vein as the Onion’s previous bestseller, Our Dumb World.
            Catherine the Great: Portrait of a Woman by Robert K. Massie.  Massie, Pulitzer Prize-winning author of Peter the Great, Nicholas and Alexandra,and The Romanovs, has created anothermasterful portrait of a captivating character in Russian history.  A poor princess from an obscure Germanprincipality, Catherine married into the Romanov dynasty at age fourteen.  Ambitious, determined, and shrewd, she roseto become Empress, brought the Enlightenment to Russia, and improved the lives ofher people dramatically.  A woman ofgreat courage, intelligence, passion, and ruthlessness, Catherine led afascinating life.
            Martha Stewart’s Handmade Holiday Crafts: 225 Inspired Projects for Year-Round Celebrations  Withthe beautiful illustrations and creativity that are Martha Stewart trademarks,this book is chock full of unique craft and entertainment ideas for celebratingholidays throughout the year.  A surewinner for Stewart fans.
           Inside Pee-Wee’s Playhouse: The Untold, Unauthorized, and Unpredictable Story of a Pop Phenomenon by Caseen Gaines. Okay, boys and girls, for fans of Pee-Wee’s Playhouse, today’s secretword is FUN!  An entertaining andnostalgic look back at the wildly-popular 1980s character and creative andground-breaking TV series.  “This book isso good, you’ll want to marry it!”
by Susan Withee, Adult Services Manager

Posted in: For Adults, Mercury Column

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