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11 Books You Could Give Anyone

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Buying books as gifts can be tricky sometimes. You don’t want to bore/anger/offend the recipient. But more than that… you want them to actually like your gift. Short on ideas for books to give that one coworker/cousin/neighbor who you don’t know very well? Here are eleven books you could give any living, breathing adult.

The Cities Book (Lonely Planet) Cover Image
ISBN: 9781786577580
Availability: Usually Ships in 1-5 Days
Published: Lonely Planet - October 17th, 2017

Travel guides from the Lonely Planet company have a cult following, if it makes sense to liken the followers of a category leader to a cult. Anyway, all the reasons that armchair travelers as well as people with passports covered in stamps love the Lonely Planet are apparent in the new edition of THE CITIES BOOK, published less than two months ago. Completely updated, it’s a celebration of 200 of the world’s most exciting urban destinations, packed with expert trip advice and recommendations as well as beautiful photography. Made for the coffee table or desk rather than the suitcase, this great big beauty won’t travel with you, but the ideas and notes it generates will make your travels the best.

Bunk: The Rise of Hoaxes, Humbug, Plagiarists, Phonies, Post-Facts, and Fake News Cover Image
ISBN: 9781555977917
Availability: Usually Ships in 1-5 Days
Published: Graywolf Press - November 14th, 2017

Challenging the big Leonardo da Vinci bio as the season’s most buzzed-about nonfiction book is this surprising study of our enduring affair with – well, let’s say “baloney” and sidestep the barnyard stuff that sticks to our shoes. The way Americans have historically been attracted to false claims and expedient exaggeration is fascinating to read about, thanks to a cast of characters made up of (and “made up” is the term) from Lance Armstrong to P.T. Barnum and the crackling observations of author Kevin Young (now of The New Yorker). Truth always comes back in style, but meanwhile BUNK is having its moment.

QUESO!: Regional Recipes for the World's Favorite Chile-Cheese Dip [A Cookbook] Cover Image
ISBN: 9780399579516
Availability: Usually Ships in 1-5 Days
Published: Ten Speed Press - September 26th, 2017

This colorful little cookbook is likely to prove itself instantly useful in anybody’s hands, as its recipes for cheese dip are easy and appealing. Whether you enjoy queso as comfort food for quiet times at home or serve it as a party dish for game night or movie night, the recipes collected by Lisa Fain (writer and photographer of the Homesick Texan blog) offer enough variety that you could test one per week for a year and still have a few left over.

How Lovely the Ruins: Inspirational Poems and Words for Difficult Times Cover Image
By Annie Chagnot (Editor), Emi Ikkanda (Editor), Elizabeth Alexander (Foreword by)
ISBN: 9780399592836
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Spiegel & Grau - October 31st, 2017

A treasure of a book, a keeper to tuck away by your favorite reading spot, and a solution to the thorny challenge of presenting a gift to a loved one enduring a setback or loss. The writing that fills HOW LOVELY THE RUINS is consoling and uplifting, but it is not the stuff of greeting cards. The “difficult times” of the subtitle are not required to find inspiration and comfort within these pages, either; if a friend simply needs prompting to contemplate his or her strengths and abilities, that stimulus is here.

Endangered Cover Image
By Tim Flach, Jonathan Baillie (Text by)
ISBN: 9781419726514
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Published: Harry N. Abrams - October 24th, 2017

Bypassing for a moment the issues of animal conservation and the protection of native habitats, let’s jump to what makes this one of the year’s best books of photography: the breathtaking images of Tim Flach. His portraits of animals whose existence is threatened are mesmerizing and often touching. Not every creature is cute or cuddly, yet even those that might make one shudder (hello, Siamese crocodile) reveal what we recognize as nobility and grace. And that brings us back to conservation and preservation, the inspiration for this project. Who are we to doom these species by taking their homes away? The text is by Jonathan Baillie, chief scientist of the National Geographic Society.

The Gifted Generation: When Government Was Good Cover Image
ISBN: 9781620400883
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Bloomsbury USA - November 14th, 2017

The title echo of Tom Brokow’s THE GREATEST GENERATION has a purpose. The author, a professor of history at UNC-Charlotte, looks at post-World War II America and how the economy, the arts, the environment, education and opportunities for individuals flourished during the presidencies of Truman, Eisenhower, Kennedy and Johnson. A then-widespread belief that federal legislation – along with a forward-looking judiciary and executive branch – would result in the betterment of the nation steered the system and was central to the very idea of government. Historic progress is described in these pages, proof that government can work. If you nod your head to later leaders’ claims that government is itself the problem, not the solution, this might not be the book for you. Then again, it might be exactly that. 

River Master: John Wesley Powell's Legendary Exploration of the Colorado River and Grand Canyon (American Grit) Cover Image
ISBN: 9781682680742
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Countryman Press - October 31st, 2017

This incredible (as in “you’ve gotta be kidding!”) adventure is the true story of how John Wesley Powell, an amputee, led a group of geological surveyers down the Colorado River through the Grand Canyon in 1869. The canyon had no name yet, the river was uncharted, and the crew was unprepared for the whitewater – and white-knuckle – expedition. As every day brought fresh terrors, rebellion by Powell’s men became inevitable. Fortunately, some of his team lived to tell the tale, and their journals became the basis for author Cecil Kuehne, a river guide who has followed Powell’s course himself.

Lidia's Celebrate Like an Italian: 220 Foolproof Recipes That Make Every Meal a Party: A Cookbook Cover Image
ISBN: 9780385349482
Availability: Usually Ships in 1-5 Days
Published: Knopf - October 17th, 2017

This cookbook makes the list of good books for anyone, non-cooks included, by virtue of a focus on food as central to any good party. Who doesn’t love a festive gathering of friends, especially around Italian food? Accompanying every great recipe is an idea for entertaining, and Lidia’s lovable personality is felt throughout the text and photos. Those who don’t already know the earth mother of Italian cooking will find a great introduction here. Meanwhile, devoted fans can discuss whether this book, her 12th, is her best yet.

Sticky Fingers: The Life and Times of Jann Wenner and Rolling Stone Magazine Cover Image
ISBN: 9781101874370
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Published: Knopf - October 24th, 2017

This New York Times Top 10 Book of the Year, New York Magazine Top 10 Book of the Year, and USA Today Top 10 biography is not a hit with its subject, who cooperated with its author, encouraged his associates to agree to interviews, and then denounced the resulting book when it came out six weeks ago. If he could have, he’d have stopped publication. What a mistake that would have been! There may never have been a better argument for why rock music matters, for why rock journalism matters, and for how pop culture (like it or not) IS culture. Author Joe Hagan places Jann Wenner in the hot, messy center of the phenomenon, sweaty bodies, shredded guitars, sticky fingers and all.

Revolution Song: A Story of American Freedom Cover Image
ISBN: 9780393245547
Availability: Usually Ships in 1-5 Days
Published: W. W. Norton & Company - November 7th, 2017

Imagine the story of the American revolution told through the stories of people whose names you never learned in elementary school. That’s the wonder of this important new history of the war that created our country. Famous generals and patriots are not overlooked, but author Russell Shorto’s research allows the lives of five less celebrated people to share the pages with “the father of our country.” The suspense that results from their colliding, overlapping perspectives is surprising and thrilling even when the outcome is never in doubt.

Microsculpture: Portraits of Insects Cover Image
ISBN: 9781419726958
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Harry N. Abrams - October 10th, 2017

To describe the majesty of these photographs, we will quote the publicity: “A study of insects in mind-blowing magnification that celebrates the wonders of nature.” Exactly! What Georgia O’Keeffe did for sun-bleached cattle skulls and blossoms at their most up-close and personal, photographer Levon Biss has done for the housefly, beetle, and other humble bugs. Marvel and be moved.