Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Top Ten Tuesday: Perfect Gift Books

To my way of thinking, a book with beautiful illustrations and a theme of compassion and/or following your bliss is the ultimate gift.  Whether sitting on a shelf looking gorgeous or sitting in a lap offering contemplation, these ones should lift the lives of those in their care.  Second most perfect type of gift-book: a warm-and-witty fantasy or a book that we can return to daily for solace.  All my picks below reflect these values. 

I've linked titles to Amazon below because you can "look inside" the books, but might I suggest that you enjoy a lively seasonal visit to your local bookseller? If it's possible for you, why not give - and live - local?

1. Olivia by Ian Falconer.  I would offer to every young'un in my world.  Boy or girl, you can't find a better role model than the irrepressibly creative (and just a touch diva-esque) Olivia.

2. The Arrival by Shaun Tan. I will give to every person who doesn't see the merit in non-linguistic storytelling.  This entirely-pictorial tale is mesmerizing and transcendent.

3. Peace Is Every Step by Thich Nhat Hahn.  How about a non-judging, non-denominational, clear and practical and brief and poetic guide to making your life happier and the world a more compassionate place?  Perfect stocking-stuffer for any evolving soul on your list. 

4. The Tree of Life by Peter Sis.  Got scientists in your sphere?  This gorgeously illustrated and complex picture book honoring the life of Charles Darwin is bound to win them over as it calls to their creative, non-linear (dormant?) side.

5. Howl's Moving Castle by Diana Wynne Jones. Great new old-school find: For every middle schooler and Harry Potter fan on my list, I will offer what clearly must have been a JK Rowling influence.  Let's just say that the 'cloak of invisibility' and talking hearth fires predate HP by decades...  Thanks to my friend M who loaned this to me: I love it!

6.  Bright's Passage by Josh Ritter. For all my book blogger friends, I'd give this sleeper of 2011.  I still think it's one of the best books I've read this decade, and anyone looking for a spare, luminous, and quintessentially American novel with mythic vision, not to mention gorgeous prose, will love it.

7.  The Sibley Guide to Birds.  In conjuring magic, one could do no better than birds.  Cultivate the art of calling blessings to you by noticing when the feathered grace your days.  David Sibley's illustrations are both beautiful and precise, so this guide functions as both a source of aesthetic pleasure and an accurate field guide.  For everyone, from the child to the newly-retired with time for birding at last, from the hiker to the shut-in with a bird feeder in the window, this guide offers pleasures aplenty.

I think that's enough for everyone on my list and yours, but if you've got a personal favorite to add to the list, champion it in the comments below and I'll stop by later today for a quick update!

Thanks for visiting, and do let me know what you thought of my list, then go check out the super-abundance of suggestions at Top Ten Tuesday's at The Broke and the Bookish!



Kristina said...

I read Howl's after I had seen the movie many many many times. I loved the movie and I figured I would read the book, I actually do like the movie more than the book only because of the cute little moments HOwl and Sophie share and I love the voice of Howl. I did like getting more detail about the world and the story when reading the book. I should reread the story again.


Kristina said...

I haven't read Nightshade by Andrea Creamer yet, but I have heard lots of great things about the series. This is one of those series where I'm going to buy all the books and when they are all published I will read them. I think it is a 3 book series and the 3rd will be out sometime in the fall. Not positive.

The Body Finder by Kimberly Derting is awesome. It is a little creepy (I don't handle creepy very well, so I was scared), but the story is amazing and Kim is awesome. I have meet her a few times since she lives in WA, I live in WA and her books are located in WA. Definitely worth the read. I have heard a lot of good things about her new series a YA dystopian, but I haven't had the chance to get the book yet.

My favorite would have to be Call of the Highland Moon by Kendra Leigh Castle, it is a PR with Scottish werewolves and the woman is a romance bookstore owner. I love this book I love every single book that Kendra has written.

I got a little long winded, I love recommending books :)

Deb Nance at Readerbuzz said...

Very thoughtful list. I wish my family would take a look at this list!

Here's my Top Ten Books I Want to Give as Gifts.

Anonymous said...

The Arrival sounds interesting; I haven't read a good non-linguistic book in a while.

Hm, Howl's Moving Castle sounds good too. More to add to my list!

LBC said...

I still haven't read Bright's Passage, although it is sitting on my shelf, looking not very big and totally readable.

Laurie said...

I smell a winter break read, Laura!
Kristina - Thanks so much for the helpful recommendations. I'm in WA too: whoda thunkit? Although I don't handle creepy much either, I'm willing to try for a WA author.
Deb - Liked your list too.
CPC - I would recommend both books without reservation.

kaye said...

I love your opening comments--great reasons for purchasing lovely books, and you had some lovely ones on your list.

Lady In Read said...

Did not know any of the books in your list (except Olivia and Howl).. and a nice coincidence about the book about birds as I am looking for such books for my budding 8 year old ornithologist!

Lady In Read said...

thanks for visiting .. am following you now.. a snack-and-book meme?:) - will let you know if i find one, else maybe plan to start one...? Love the ActionReaders idea.

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