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Holiday Gift Books


Last Updated: 08/13/2013 3:35 pm
Unhand that partridge! Here are 12 days of literary sugarplums to make ladies dance and lords leap.


Antarctica: Life on the Ice
Edited by Susan Fox Rogers
Travelers Tales/Solas House, 2007, $17.95
And you think you’re cold? Editor Rogers and National Geographic adventurer Jon Bowermaster trade the Hudson Valley for the ice-bound continent, where sunset lasts six months, over-wintering workers “go toast,” and “your footsteps will outlive you.” Twenty mind-bending, often hilarious essays from way down under.

Howl: A Collection of the Best Contemporary Dog Wit
By the editors of The Bark
Crown, 2007, $25
Hudson Valley authors Lee Harrington, Melissa Holbrook Pierson, David Smilow, and Abigail Thomas join a litter of very funny bipeds—Dave Barry, Margaret Cho, Kinky Friedman, and dozens of others—to deliver this rollicking tribute to man’s best sidekick. You’ll laugh ’til you yelp.

Visionaries: The 20th Century’s 100 Most
Important Inspirational Leaders
Edited by Satish Kumar and Freddie Whitefield
Chelsea Green, 2007, $25
Vermont’s righteous Chelsea Green offers pocket biographies of world leaders (Mahatma Gandhi, Martin Luther King Jr.), spiritual figures (Thich Nhat Hanh, the Dalai Lama), and writers and activists (Wendell Berry, Wangari Maathai) who helped sustain a tumultuous century, including nonpareil local visionary Bob Dylan.

Art and Photography:

Morbid Curiosity & Weirdling
Mike Dubisch
Strange Fear, 2007, $12.95 & $15.95
Horror/fantasy artist and Chronogram illustrator Dubisch unleashes a pair of dark stocking stuffers. Graphic novel Weirdling spins the gothic tale of a female space warrior and a doomed infant whose tumor speaks with forked tongue. Morbid Curiosity offers a 20-year retrospective of Dubisch’s wildly imaginative artwork.

The Mighty Fallen: Our Nation’s Greatest War Memorials
Larry Bond and f-Stop Fitzgerald
HarperCollins/Smithsonian, 2007, $29.95
Bestselling photographer and Rosendale politico f-Stop Fitzgerald teams with military historian and Tom Clancy co-author Bond to present this tribute to memorials honoring the dead of many wars, from Paul Revere to the 58,256 names etched into Maya Lin’s haunting Vietnam Veterans Memorial wall.

For the Kids:

Bear’s First Christmas
written by Robert Kinerk, illustrated by Jim LaMarche
Simon & Schuster Books, 2007, $16.99
Award-winning author Kinerk toured Hudson Valley schools with this heartwarming read-aloud tale of an eager cub who wakes from hibernation and leaves his den to explore a mysterious sound, making friends on the way. LaMarche’s moonlit pastels are irresistible.

Main Street: ‘Tis the Season
Ann M. Martin
Scholastic, 2007, $6.99
Following her phenomenally popular Baby-sitters’ Club franchise, upstate author Martin launched a new series about two orphaned sisters adjusting to life in small-town Maine with their grandmother. This third volume hangs garlands of balsam and mistletoe above the eponymous Main Street.

Star Wars: A Pop-Up Guide to the Galaxy
Matthew Reinhart
Scholastic, 2007, $32.99
What fan could resist this treasury of galactic lore that goes from flat to 3-D with the flip of a page? New Paltz pop-up jedi Reinhart layers intricate “side-pops” alongside giant spreads of a ravenous Rancor, the Mos Eisley cantina, and Darth Vader’s helmet. A back-page surprise is guaranteed to elicit gasps of “Cool!”

Local Interest:

American Wilderness: The Story of
the Hudson River School of Painting

Barbara Babcock Millhouse
Black Dome Press, 2007, $25.95
A glorious celebration of the movement that invigorated 19th-century culture and reinvented the American landscape. Millhouse’s text is lively, well-researched, and accessible, with beautifully reproduced paintings by Thomas Cole, Frederic Church, Asher Durand, and their compatriots. An inspired gift for Hudson Valley lovers.

The Dutchess County Fair: Portrait of an American Tradition
Molly Ahearn
Black Dome Press, 2007, $15.99
It’s all here: the Tilt-a-Whirls, racing pigs, 4-H ribbons, and horse shows (including a 1930s high-diver named John the Baptist). There’s even a glimpse of FDR on the Rhinebeck Fairgrounds. Ahearn’s photo-filled reminiscence is as much fun as freshly twirled cotton candy, and much less sticky.

The Legendary Neversink: A Treasury of the Best Writing About One of America’s Great Trout Streams
edited by Justin Askins
Skyhorse Publishing, 2007, $29.95
The fisherman on your gift list will leap at this instant-classic anthology. Each of its 21 essays—by angling legends from John Burroughs to “father of American fly fishing” Theodore Gordon and sporting publisher Nick Lyons—is prefaced by a line drawing of a particular fly, with vintage maps as endpapers.

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