After spending time pitching foreign films, holiday movies, exploitation films and forgotten 70’s gems, I thought i’d share some great books to consider giving as gifts as well. I still love the feel of a book, and even through I have an iPad, and several books loaded up on it, I still consider it my backup to paper. Here are 7 great ideas for this holiday season:
7-The Dragon Tattoo Trilogy. If you know of anyone who hasn’t read three three books, get them ordered immediately. Yes, they are rough and intense, but it is a brilliant trilogy that explores so many subjects, from the worldwide epidemic of sexual abuse against women to political corruption and what to do if you have a REALLY BAD FAMILY….regardless of whether you see the movie, the books have so much depth and texture, you have to read them as well. You can also play a drinking game with these books – have a shot, a beer or a glass of wine every time someone drinks coffee. You’ll be real drunk real fast!
6-Comfortably Numb. This year all of Pink Floyd’s albums are being re-released in beautiful new editions, so why not read the best biography ever written about the band. Every single member of the band participates, and the depth and richness of the research is astonishing. A really fascinating account of an iconic band. And yes, Roger Waters is a dick, but “The Wall” is a pretty amazing achievement, so there you go…
5-Cod, A Biography Of The Fish That Changed The World. Yes, it is the story of a fish, but it is so much more. I have read books that chronicle the history of potatoes, wine, lobsters, and a whole lot more – to me, the history of a “thing”, and what impact is has on the world we live in, is fascinating. I love fish-n-chips, so I gotta go with this book first, but Mark Kurlansky also wrote many others, including “The Big Oyster”, a history of New York City as seen through the filter of its oyster beds. So there you go. Read about fish and then eat one.
4-The Destiny Of The Republic – look at this pull quote form Amazon: “Author Millard digs deeply into the turmoil that got James A. Garfield elected, the lunacy that got him shot and the medical malfeasance that turned a minor wound into a mortal one”…now how could you NOT want to find out how a U.S. President can survive an Assassin’s bullet, but not the medical care that followed? I love this stuff. Give me a book about Abe Lincoln’s White House kitchen staff and I’m there…or, better yet, we have “Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter” – give that book a shot as well and let me know!
3-The Snowman. Jo Nesbo is the biggest selling Norwegian Author alive today, and I jumped into his snowy, dangerous world with this book, part of an ongoing series about Detective Harry Hole. It’s dark stuff, but thrillers don’t come better than this one. You can dip in here, or go back and get caught up with the earlier books in paperback. A new hardcover is being released soon as well…I love that “Dragon Tattoo” opened up the world to Authors who normally wouldn’t be translated for us to read.
2-Any and ALL Michael Ruhlman books. His latest is “Twenty”, looking at twenty cooking techniques. But read all of his work. “The Making Of A Chef” is the best documentation of a a year inside a cooking school that has ever been written, and I have been told by young Chefs that it is required reading for anyone looking at this line of work. His other books are all great as well, whether it is co-authoring Chef Thomas Keller’s cookbooks or his terrific “Walk On Water”, documenting the world inside Cleveland’s pediatric heart center – surgeons who save children’s lives on a daily basis. His body of work is the best holiday gift you could give anyone.
1-A Wizard, A True Star. This is a fascinating look at Todd Rundgren, the brilliant musical artist who followed his own path, even if it cost him commercial success. The artist behind “Hello It’s Me”, “Can We Still Be Friends” and yes, “Bang On The Drum All Day” – Todd is also a brilliant music producer, and this book takes you in the studio as he produced artists as different as Patti Smith, Hall & Oates and Grand Funk Railroad, as well as Cheap Trick and the New York Dolls. Along the way, you get an inside look at his own life and music, and a better appreciation of he is, indeed, a wizard and a true star.
Let me know what you think!
Categories: Books / Media