Gift Guide

You'll be tempted to keep these books for yourself

This little elf did not write the books mentioned below.
A book is the perfect gift: meaningful, personal and usually not too expensive. Check out the latest books we’ve given the Kirkus Star to if you’re wanting to give fiction, nonfiction or young adult and kid’s books this holiday season. If you’re looking to give something a little more visual (and expensive), check out our guide to some recently published, stand-out coffeetable, cookbook, and art books. Happy Holidays!


By the Book By the Book: Writers on Literature and the Literary Life from The New York Times Book Review

Edited by Pamela Paul

$28.00, 336 pp.

A collection of interviews asking 65 leading writers about the usual suspects (their craft, their influences, and other writers they admire) although each interview is filled with more detailed questions that illuminate a particular’s work. Perfect for the book lover on your list.


Cabins Cabins

By Philip Jodidio

$69.99, 464 pp.

Don’t turn to Cabins for ideas about constructing a traditional log cabin, or a traditional cabin of any kind. Architecture writer Jodidio gathers images of the world’s most progressively designed small residences, from Nagano, Japan to the West Texas desert. Read Cabins from page one to its final page: you’ll be continually wowed, page after page, by the odd, cozy, boxy little buildings.


Clinch Still Moving

By Danny Clinch

$50, 296 pp.

Photographer Danny Clinch manages to get inside musicians’ moods and minds. Green Day, REM, Bob Dylan, Bruce Springsteen, Tupac and Beyoncé let down their guard around him (okay, maybe not Beyoncé so much). For the music lover on your list (or anyone you think needs to brush up on the cool).



Graphic Canon 2 The Graphic Canon of Children’s Literature

Edited by Russ Kick

$38.95, 480 pp.

This funky book’s title shouldn’t persuade you to give it to a 7-year-old; one of the classic tales visualized here, “Little Red Riding Hood,” features our heroine bedding down with the wolf. Veteran anthologist Kick asked some of today’s most compelling graphic novelists and comics creators to reimagine classic kid’s stories; the result is a notably vibrant and fun recollection of the tales we used to be told.


My Portugal My Portugal: Recipes and Stories, George Mendes

By Genevieve Ko, photos by Romulo Yanes

$35, 256 pp.

Mendes is the revered chef behind New York’s Aldea restaurant. In My Portugal, he relishes the fact that Portugal is the gateway to many Mediterranean cuisines, and this cookbook feels like it emanates from several nations. The recipes range from simple (Garlic Seared Shrimp) to elaborate (Venison in Juniper-Pepper Crust).


Oxford Atlas Oxford Atlas of the World

$89.95, 448 pp.

This is the 21st year this mammoth’s been published and it keeps getting better and better. Updated annually, the Atlas reflects recent political shifts that affect the geography of nations (this year, that means that the Atlas reflects the shifting borders between Crimea and Ukraine, and between Crimea and Russia). Flipping through this book is a lush experience, with new satellite imagery and more maps and graphs than you thought imaginable. Reading the Atlas is a little trip around the globe.


Liquid Intelligence Liquid Intelligence: The Art and Science of the Perfect Cocktail

By Dave Arnold

$35, 416 pp.

If there’s an obsessive mixologist (or mixologist wannabe) on your list, this is the book for him or her. Arnold is the former director of culinary technology at the French Culinary Institute and the co-owner of high-tech cocktail bar Booker and Dax. How to create bubble-free ice and mastering the mysteries of liquid nitrogen and dry ice are some of the topics but this book is clearly illustrated. And there’s a helpful section for readers who just want to make some good drinks, science be damned.


Best Books of 2014: A Magical Year in Indie Books
Phenomenal growth & great reads
About 460,000 books were self-published in 2013, up 17 percent over the previous year, according to Bowker, which also noted that “the trend of self-publisher as business-owner, rather than writer only, continues.” The result—evident in our best Best Indie Books of 2014 list yet—is that we’re seeing many more well-written, tightly edited Indie books.  It’s even easier ...
Best Books of 2014: Niche Books: Low Risk, High Return
How publishing veteran Carin Siegfried self-published
One of the benefits of the boom in self-publishing is that excellent, narrowly focused books with potentially limited markets don’t have to languish in a publisher’s slush pile. Carin Siegfried, a veteran of traditional publishing, knew that her book, The Insider’s Guide to a Career in Book Publishing, which got a Kirkus Star, had “a small and very specific market ...
From the Editor’s Desk: Watching Revered Writers Watch Themselves
The PEN America First Editions/Second Thoughts Auction
PEN America, which defends free expression, has concocted a perceptive, insightful way to raise money: They’ve asked 75 writers and artists to annotate the first edition of their classic works, which they then auction off. First Editions/Second Thoughts consists of writers like Toni Morrison, Gillian Flynn, Philip Roth, Stephen Sondheim, Eric Carle and Patti Smith publicly wrestling with the ...