There are so many excellent choices this year among art, photography, and cookbooks that wrestling the options down to the choices we’ve made here was a notably tough process. We hope the books here appeal to someone on your holiday shopping list (or maybe you deserve something for yourself?). See our picks below after the jump. Happy Holidays and happy reading!
Interior Landmarks: Treasures of New York
by Judith Gura & Kate Wood
The Monacelli Press; $30.00
Since the 1965 passage of the Landmarks Preservation Law, New York City designated 120 interior landmarks especially worthy of maintenance, praise, and promotion. In Interior Landmarks, design historian Gura and preservation specialist Wood present engaging histories of 44 of those venerable spaces: travel hubs, theaters, lobbies, and libraries, from Radio City Music Hall in Manhattan to the TWA Flight Center at John F. Kennedy International Airport in Queens. This updated paperback edition doesn’t compromise the quality of Larry Lederman’s original photographs, nor does the addition of a gorgeous, glossy two-page spread spotlighting the luminous celestial ceiling mural of the New York Public Library’s Rose Reading Room. A must for lovers of architecture, history, and design and for anyone—tourist or native—who’s ever marveled at the marble, metal, wood, stone, plaster, and glass adorning the sanctuaries of New York’s notable buildings.
Everyday Monet: A Giverny-Inspired Gardening and Lifestyle Guide to Living Your Best Impressionist Life
by Aileen Bordman
Dey Street Books; $26.99
When Bordman first set foot in Claude Monet’s garden at Giverny, in 1980, it made a big impression: The former Wall Street stock broker—daughter of Helen Rapel Bordman, an American steward at Giverny, who was instrumental in rehabilitating and reviving interest in the estate—spent the next four decades immersing herself in everything Monet. Everyday Monet amply displays her palpable love of the famous impressionist’s history and aesthetic, instructing readers in the colors, foods, textiles, scents, flowers, and comforts he favored so that they can add a little Monet flair to their lives. With recipes and gardening and design tips—even foolproof instructions for cultivating your own water lily—Everyday Monet is a festive, inspirational, and unusual book.
Louis Vuitton: Catwalk: The Complete Fashion Collections
Introduction by Jo Ellison
Yale Univ. Press; $75.00
The first thing anyone still thinks of when considering Louis Vuitton is, of course, the company’s bags. But Ellison (and the exhaustive collections of photos in this stunning book of the company’s clothing lines from 1998 to the present) makes a convincing case for the supremacy of LV’s clothing, with their “bold design[s], brave choices, clubbable accessibility,” and “a dash of anarchy.” The book is structured by fashion season, so it’s a charming trip down Memory Lane for the fashion-obsessed person on your shopping list.
For the Love of the South: Recipes and Stories from My Southern Kitchen
by Amber Wilson
Harper Design; $35.00
“I hope there are blackberry juice starbursts splattered across the pages, dog-eared corners, and handwritten notes in the margins,” Wilson says about For the Love of the South, her first cookbook, based on the eponymous blog that made the self-taught home cook a culinary star. This winning collection of 100 delectable recipes ranges from down-home classics like fried okra and crisp hush puppies to Wilson’s signature new Southern favorites, like Bacon and Collard Green Pappardelle. Mouthwatering full-color photographs are shot and styled by Wilson, with her family’s heirloom cast iron, stoneware, china, and silverware in supporting roles; and recipes are interspersed with personal vignettes pointing toward a warm, welcoming philosophy of hospitality. Cooks from all regions, in all seasons, will enjoy this charming book.
The New York Trilogy: Paul Auster’s Original Manuscript
by Paul Auster
SP Books; $200.00
Bibliophiles, rejoice! French publisher SP Books is releasing a limited edition of this classic trio of novellas (City of Glass, Ghosts, and The Locked Room), a work that has become a touchstone in 20th-century modernism—and is arguably the most acclaimed of Auster’s impressive oeuvre. The book, gleaned from Auster’s considerable archive at the New York Public Library and assembled with his cooperation, features the author’s original manuscript, including the drafts, marginal scribbles, and other fascinating details that provide a uniquely revealing look into the author’s artistic process. The publisher, which is “committed to the preservation of literary heritage,” is only printing 1,000 copies, each one hand-numbered and presented in iron gilded slipcases. SP has produced similar stunning treatments of such classics as Frankenstein, Candide, Madame Bovary, The Great Gatsby, and The Picture of Dorian Gray, so even though this latest literary treasure is expensive, it’s worth every penny and makes the perfect gift for any die-hard Auster fan.
Alright Darling?: The Contemporary Drag Scene
by Greg Bailey
Laurence King Publishing; $19.99
Drag is having a moment, darling—a big, bold, bawdy, beautiful, ballsy, and altogether-too-much moment—and no one captures it quite like U.K.–based photographer Bailey, founder and editor of Alright Darling, a queer zine for the LGBTQ+ scene. Alright Darling? is a dazzling compendium of fashion photography featuring some of the fiercest queens stalking stages today: Adore Delano, Alyssa Edwards, Courtney Act, Detox,Francois Sagat, Manila Luzon, Willam Belli, Latrice Royale, Raja Gemini, Milk, and more. Quotes by queens complement the luscious imagery, offering a daily dose of shade. An electrifying tribute to an unapologetic art form.
Author: The Portraits of Beowulf Sheehan
by Beowulf Sheehan; foreword by Salman Rushdie
Black Dog & Leventhal; $40.00
If you’ve recently paused on a dust jacket flap to contemplate a particularly compelling author photo, chances are the credit is: Beowulf Sheehan. One of the world’s foremost literary portrait photographers, Sheehan’s work has appeared in Esquire, the New Yorker, Newsweek, and Time and in exhibitions around the world. His big, bold first book presents noteworthy portraits of 200 writers, historians, journalists, playwrights, and poets, including Roxane Gay, Masha Gessen, Karl Ove Knausgaard, and Toni Morrison. With partial proceeds benefitting the National Book Foundation’s BookUp program, which serves student readers in underserved communities, Author is perfect for book lovers, photography buffs, and philanthropists.
Now and Again: Go-To Recipes, Inspired Menus and Endless Ideas for Reinventing Leftovers
by Julia Turshen; photos by David Loftus
You can get recipes from the internet, but Turshen, the quintessential home cook, gives you menus for all occasions, organized by season from autumn’s “Card Night Enchiladas” and “Red-Checkered Tablecloth Late Saturday Lunch” to summer’s “Middle Eastern Dinner Outside.” The food feels modern and fresh, familiar but with a twist: The side dishes for Rosh Hashana’s chicken dinner are baked saffron rice and beet salad with poppy seed and chive dressing. “No Stress Thanksgiving” has roast turkey breast topped with an apple cider gravy that can be made ahead of time. Even better, each meal ends with a section called “It’s Me Again,” which gives ideas for turning leftovers into a whole new dish. Turshen’s warmth and enthusiasm will leave you eager to start cooking.
Bibliophile: An Illustrated Miscellany
by Jane Mount
Mount is known for her colorful and intricate drawings of books, which have been featured in The Ideal Bookshelf and on cards, pins, and other gift items. Bibliophile is the perfect present for book lovers; it features illustrated reading lists (“Cult Classics,” “Special Powers,” “A Sense of Place,” etc.), recommendations from various bookish people, introductions to intriguing bookstores and architecturally adventurous libraries, peeks at Dylan Thomas’ writing room in Wales and James Baldwin’s house in the south of France, and so much more. Mount has excellent literary taste—her lists combine contemporary classics with titles that deserve to be better known—and you’ll enjoy hunting for the spines of your favorite books while taking notes for future reading.
The Swimming Pool in Photography
text by Francis Hogdson
Hatje Cantz/D.A.P.; $55.00
“It’s just a tub of water,” Hogdson writes in the insightful introduction to this lush collection of photos. Nonetheless, swimming pools carry so much metaphorical power: as vectors of fear (disease, e.g.); and as vectors of joy (sun, sex, and laziness). The swimming pool has an “almost mystical fluidity of meanings,” she writes, and this beautiful book reflects many of them. With photos by Henri Cartier-Bresson, Joel Meyerowitz, Emma Hartvig, Martin Parr, and many others, the images range from the quirky (Loomis Dean’s 1955 photo of swimmers at a Las Vegas pool staring down the photographer through huge, eyelike portholes at the bottom of the pool) to Dianora Niccolini’s graceful, athletic 1982 photo of a man gliding through water. Ideal for the photography lover or anyone in cold climes who needs a visual reminder of warmer spots.
by Yotam Ottolenghi
Ten Speed Press; $35.00
Simple for Ottolenghi—of the delicious Mediterranean food and the famously long ingredient lists—isn’t exactly simple, as he’d be the first to admit. So in this book, he uses various definitions: The recipes might be quick, they might be make-ahead, they might include 10 or fewer ingredients, they might sit on the stove for hours while you do something else. You’ll find one of his signature ingredients in tomatoes with sumac shallots and pine nuts; other recipes include burrata with grilled grapes and basil, roasted eggplant with anchovies and oregano, and lamb and feta meatballs that can be made with or without pomegranate molasses. The perfect gift for curious cooks who may have been intimidated by Ottolenghi’s earlier books.
Protest: The Aesthetics of Resistance
ed. by Basil Rogger & Jonas Voegeli & Ruedi Widmer & Museum für Gestaltung Zürich
Lars Müller Publishers/D.A.P.; $29.95
We’re definitely in a resurgent moment in this country when it comes to protest. And the art of protest is crucial to the actual protests happening in large and small American cities. This comprehensive, smart analysis of the art of protest features art designed to rattle politicians’ or consumers’ nerves but also memorable photography of protests. There are even images of an ancient Roman coin stamped by a Christian to protest Emperor Caracalla’s reign and a British 1903 coin stamped with “votes for women.” Perfect for the politically minded people on your list.
Resurrection City, 1968
by Jill Freedman
Plans for the Poor Peoples Campaign were already underway when organizer Martin Luther King Jr. was murdered on April 4, 1968. The mass act of civil disobedience would go on without him; Freedman, a young advertising copywriter from New York City, would quit her job, hop a bus to Washington, D.C., and become the only known photographer to live in and document Resurrection City, a makeshift town erected and inhabited by 3,000 protestors in spring 1968. This 50th-anniversary edited edition of Freedman’s photographs is a masterpiece. Her portraits, especially, convey the power and dignity of ordinary people attempting to right egregious wrongs Americans continue to battle today: racial discrimination and economic inequality. (As Freedman’s frank introduction notes, “no news is new.”) An important, unflinching work of art.
The New Yorker Encyclopedia of Cartoons: A Semi-Serious A-to-Z Archive
ed. by Bob Mankoff; foreword by David Remnick
Black Dog & Leventhal; $100.00
“I tell you, the book has everything—sex, history, consciousness, and cats!” reads the cartoon that serves as an epigraph for this awe-inspiring, two-volume, 1,600-page, slip-cased cartoon collection curated by Mankoff. Mankoff drew from two decades’ experience as New Yorker cartoon editor and nearly 10 decades’ worth of ingenious, esoteric, zany, and comic doodles to select 3,000 cartoons, then organized them into 250 categories you may never have identified as recurring themes (entries for “I” alone include Icarus, ice cream, ice fishing, igloos, ignorance, immigration, in/out boxes, insanity, insomnia, internet, intoxication, inventions, and inventory)—and yes, under “C,” there are cats. This beautiful boxed set is a must for New Yorker subscribers who “only read it for the pictures.” For true devotees, an $800 deluxe edition, limited to 1,000 copies, features three signed, numbered prints, one each by Mankoff, Bruce Eric Kaplan, and Roz Chast.
Texas Made/Texas Modern: The House and the Land
by Helen Thompson; photos by Casey Dunn
Monacelli Press; $50.00
Architectural modernism found a ready reception in Texas in the early 1930s, when newfound wealth and Texans’ native pride ushered in a vibrant experiment in adapting modernism to a Texas sensibility. Thompson has chosen 19 homes—both urban and rural—across the state (though the majority are in Austin) whose owners have either preserved and renovated classic early modernist homes or asked architects to create innovative, elegant new homes. Dunn’s photos are elegant, inviting, and supremely confident, and Thompson’s choices are revealing and fascinating. For anyone intrigued by architectural modernism (or for anyone purchasing a home who needs to steal some great ideas!).
Rose’s Baking Basics: 100 Essential Recipes with More Than 600 Step-by-Step Photos
by Rose Levy Beranbaum
Houghton Mifflin Harcourt; $35.00
Beranbaum bakes with precision, patience, and love—a winning combination that put her on the path to culinary stardom. Her 1988 breakout book, The Cake Bible, is currently in its 54th printing; she is the author of a bevy of titles in the Bible series and of bestselling holiday cookbooks, and she designs her own line of kitchen tools. But there’s something she’s never tried before now: a collection of classic recipes, simplified, with step-by-step photographs to ensure bakers’ carrot cakes, cream puffs, lemon meringue pies, and deep dark chocolate brownies turn out every time. Featuring 600 helpful photos taken in the dedicated baking kitchen of her Hope, New Jersey, home, Rose’s Baking Basics is liable to level the playing field between beginner and master bakers, and it’s a fitting gift for both. Even experts should have something to learn from the “diva of desserts.”
The image above from The Swimming Pool in Photography is Diego Opalo's photo of an infinity pool by Fran Silvestre Arquitectos in Alicante, Spain; the image from Protest! is titled Check to Apartheid, a 1984 poster by Egostein.