Books to Give and Get

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By Beth Goehring

Books to Give and GetEver since I tore the wrapping off my first Nancy Drew mysteries one Christmas a long time ago, I love getting and giving books for the holidays. Highlights were Noël Fitch Riley’s biography of Julia Child, Appetite for Life (which confounded my mom who’d never seen me lift a hand to help in the kitchen) and Hellraisers, the hair-raising exploits of Richard Burton, Oliver Reed, Richard Harris, and Peter O’Toole from which I learned Liz Taylor punched and drank harder than the rest of ‘em. Here are a half-dozen brand-new books I recommend for the special friends who share your need to read.

For that cook who’s never suffered the disgrace of a flat soufflé:

jacquesHis memoir, The Apprentice, is to die for but, among the fabulous stories of his exciting life, it has about one recipe (for his mother’s soufflé). Jacques Pepin’s Heart and Soul in the Kitchen is filled with 200 of his exquisite recipes. He encourages you, with his Gallic charm, to improve upon them so “they reflect your heart and soul.” I say, why tinker with perfection?

For the theater geek you always e-mail for advice on what show to see:

razzle dazzleNew York Post theater columnist Michael Riedel’s Razzle Dazzle is an absolutely riveting history of Broadway: box office scandals, the re-making of Times Square, Michael Bennett carrying on like a diva, the English invasion…more fun than a Saturday night performance of Kinky Boots.

For those of us who realize every day how right Mark Twain was when he said, “The more I learn about people, the more I like my dog:”

dogistNot a lot to read, but these 1,000 photos of begging faces and sweet poses in The Dogist speak volumes.

And we’ll not see his like again in another 100 years:

sinatraMore eye candy; a lost world is captured here: fedoras, ties, tuxedos, white gloves, fur stoles… Sinatra, The Photographs is three-and-a-half pounds of pure glamour.

NORDSTROM.comFor anyone needing a little calmness (anyone?)

calmnessI’ve seen a helluva lot of adult coloring books, but Color Yourself to Calmness is one you don’t even have to touch pen to paper to enjoy. Sue Coccia’s elaborate imagery of animal spirits is a distinctive statement of their unique power to soothe us.

And what would Christmas be without Charlie Brown?

peanutsWho else but graphic designer Chip Kidd could do Charles Schulz’s incredible gifts justice? Kidd’s covers for Jurassic Park, The Secret History, and so many more use the same spare style to hint at the haunting universe you’ll find inside. The Peanuts gang you’ll meet again in Only What’s Necessary, this nostalgic trip through Schulz’s archives, is America in miniature. Perfect game for Christmas Day with the family: which Peanuts character are you?

beth goehring, book reviews, the three tomatoesBeth Goehring believes, with apologies to Lorelei Lee, that rather than diamonds books are a girl’s best friend…and a boy’s, a man’s and a woman’s. For more than twenty-five years, through Book-of-the-Month Club and its related clubs, she’s sold popular fiction, mysteries, romances, cookbooks, children’s books, play scripts, behind-the-scenes tales of the movies and theatre, and lifestyle books. She lives with her husband and corgi in Manhattan.

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1 Response

  1. Rachel Rephan says:

    Everytime I read a review by Beth, I race out to try to get the book! Everytime! She also makes me laugh out loud.

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