Workman Publishing, $37.50
It's hard to think of a more gift-wrappable book than Atlas Obscura, a gorgeously designed objet d'art inspired by the popular website of the same name. Cofounded by Hudson Valley resident Dylan Thuras, Atlas Obscura the brand is dedicated to exploration of our planet's endless supply of amazing sights (and sites), cultures, characters, and adventures. Atlas Obscura the book is an inspirational curio cabinet of all that wonder and thrill that anyone would be proud to have on their coffee table. The recently released second edition is worth a look even for Obscura fans with its 100 new destinations and a foldout map that doubles as an itinerary if you plan to use it like a guidebook (but armchair travelers like me are welcome and encouraged to jump in!).
Recommended by Jesse Post of Postmark Books in Rosendale.
Cork and Knifeby Emily and Matt Clifton
Page Street Publishing, $21.99
As all great home cooks and chefs know, building flavors really sets a dish apart and one of the best ways is through the addition of wine, beer or spirits. Emily and Matt Clifton, local bloggers from Beacon known as Nerds with Knives have crafted a beautiful book with mouthwatering photos and easy to follow recipes incorporating booze in every dish! This book is a perfect gift for any foodie on your list! You can even get a personalized signed edition of Cork and Knife when Matt and Emily visit Barking Goose on December 14 at 2pm.
Recommended by Jenifer Flynn of Barking Goose Bookstore Bar & Café in Newburgh.
Simon & Schuster, $35
This passionate mother-daughter duo assembles an all-star list of strong women to inspire us in this great anthology. From Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie to Harriet Tubman, the stories in this book give us all something to aspire to. Each portrait is accompanied by personal thoughts from Hillary or Chelsea, and includes photos. This is the perfect gift for all the women (and the best men!) in your life.
Recommended by Suzanna Hermans of Oblong Books & Music in Rhinebeck and Millerton. Signed copies available at both shops.
Everyone is a geek about something, and for your tech/gadget-head friend or family member who also loves music, Gideon Schwartz's lavishly illustrated Hi-Fi: The History of High-End Audio Design is the perfect gift. From Edison to Jobs, the phonograph to Braun, Woodstock resident Schwartz covers much ground in this designer's dream of an informative art book. Our favorite chapter: the super sexy innovations and advertisements from the 1960s.
Recommended by James Conrad of the Golden Notebook in Woodstock.
America's Best Day Hikes: Spectacular Single-Day Hikes Across the States
By Derek Dellinger
Countryman Press, $29.95
A perfect gift for both seasoned and aspiring outdoor enthusiasts, America's Best Day Hikes is a beautiful and practical guide for finding the best trails to explore in every region of the United States—including one memorable trek right here in the Hudson Valley—complete with details about difficulty, seasonal hazards, travel, and packing suggestions. Written and photographed by Beacon resident Derek Dellinger, this new compendium makes for a perfect coffee table book.
Recommended by Amanda and Anthony Stromoski of Rough Draft Bar & Books in Kingston.
Today, professional bakers and bread enthusiasts from all over the world make the pilgrimage to Bread Alone's headquarters to learn the signature techniques and philosophy of Dan Leader. Leader offers a comprehensive picture of bread baking today for the enthusiastic home baker. It's as mouthwatering to flip through, with its full-page bread porn photos, as it is instructional, featuring anecdotes from Leader's travels, information about the evolution of global breadmaking, and 60 recipes ranging from the timeless to the playful.
Recommended by Marie Doyon, digital editor of Chronogram.
By Mikhail Horowitz
Alte Books, $15
Cultural provocateur and baseball obsessive Mik Horowitz has published a collection of improbable scholarship just in time for the holidays, linking the sport's origins to its earliest recorded history. This history has its tongue firmly in its cheek, with text and photography that place the game variously in ancient Greece (Aphrodite, or A-Phrod, was a big fan); Mesopotamia (where the Ballpark at Babel was known for its Cuneiform Cola and Chaldean Chips); and Judea (Hebrew sluggers played in the Park of the Covenant).
Recommended by Brian K. Mahoney, Chronogram editor.
By Elisha Cooper
orchard Books, $18.99
In this picture book loaded with lush watercolor illustrations, Elisha Cooper takes readers on a trip from the headwaters of the Hudson River all the way down to the ocean. It's a daring journey taken by a lone woman in a canoe, who experiences intense highs and lows along the way, occasionally questioning whether she can go on. But this book is a study in perseverance and the joy of adventure for adventure's sake. This one is not just for the kids—anyone who loves the river, the outdoors, or beautiful art will fall hard for this story with a heartwarming ending and lots of little details that will have you coming back to enjoy vicariously traveling the river again and again.
Recommended by Kelley Drahushuk of Spotty Dog Books & Ale in Hudson.