giving: books

November 25, 2014

books-gift-guideLike a jar of honey, a book is a thing to devour. With any luck a good book is one you keep on your shelf and cherish for years to come. With a little less luck a book is something that you decide is not worthy of keeping and so you pass it along to someone else who might better enjoy it. Either way, everyone wins.

And while I haven’t yet made the leap myself, a book is often a thing that doesn’t have to exist in the physical realm at all. While I myself cherish the look and feel of a book in its paper form—you know, the smell of those pages, the weight of it in my hand, the look of that spine on a shelf—I admit that lately I’ve been thinking about finally splurging on an e-reader. Here’s my thinking: that an e-reader won’t actually stop me from buying the books that I most want to add to my shelves, but that it might encourage me to read books that I might not want to take up residence in limited space.

Here are a few books that have caught my eye this season, judging, of course, by covers and other things:

  • Eat: The Little Book of Fast Food: I love everything Nigel Slater does and this delightful cover design pared with a concept of good food, fast, makes it sound like a recipe for success. On my wish list.
  • How to Visit an Art Museum: The museum lover in me is so intrigued by this book. It comes shrink-wrapped (mysterious!) so I haven’t been able to see exactly what sorts of treats might be in store, but the concept is good enough to take a risk, I think.
  • My Favorite Things: Maira Kalman is a favorite, always, and this year she had two new books for readers to delight in. This one is a celebration of the significance of objects in our lives—both the rare ones and the everyday ones. Woman after my own heart.
  • Sunday Suppers: Recipes + Gatherings: The end of one year and the beginning of another seems like the perfect time to reflect on time shared around the table. Karen Morechai’s Sunday Suppers offers inspiration in the extreme.
  • Tory Burch: In Color: I’m not personally a wearer of Tory Burch designs, but I heard an interview on the radio with her and I’m totally on board with her philsophy of women in business. 100% of gross proceeds from the book go to support the Tory Burch Foundation. Worth supporting for that alone, but the book is incredibly lovely in its own right.
  • Girls Standing on Lawns: Another gem from Maira Kalman, this one is filled paintings of old photographs featuring (no surprise) girls standing on lawns. The illustrations are interspersed with poetic text and reprints of the photographs themselves. Utterly enchanting.
  • The Thing The Book: A Monument to the Book as Object: A book to celebrate the book. Good for material culture nerds, bibliophiles, and curiosity seekers alike.
  • An e-reader: You know, just in case.
  • Vogue and The Metropolitan Museum of Art Costume Institute: Parties, Exhibitions, People: The ultimate in insider access. Loaded with eye candy even—and especially—for this plain jane fashionista.

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  • Reply Hannah S November 25, 2014 at 1:38 pm

    I think your right. I finally got around to getting myself an e-reader and even with it I still buy hard copies of books I want to keep around but now I am a little more open to reading other things straight off my e-reader.
    Another great thing is that now most libraries will also let you borrow books on to your e-reader which saves not only space but time as well.
    Thanks for the book recommendations, I love photography books and will be adding the Girls Standing on Lawns to my list.

  • Reply Marion November 25, 2014 at 1:55 pm

    I have trouble getting used to reading on a screen, too. I really like that paper feeling.
    How about audio books? Of course it's a bit tricky for photography books, but I recently realized that these were a great way to enjoy some literature, especially when you're in a knitting mood 😉

    • Reply Erin November 26, 2014 at 12:00 am

      Audio also great! (Though I sometimes admit to drifting off in thought!)

  • Reply Norma November 25, 2014 at 3:56 pm

    I've seen a couple of these and I too would like to be my hands on them. Some of the others look good too. I'm a hands on reader myself. I do read the Bible on my phone or listen to it on my bus drive in to work so not to lug additional weight with me.

    On a side note: your gift giving advise of wear, need, want, read has been a total life changer. I only regret not learning of it sooner. All those years of last minute stress!! I'm almost finished Christmas shopping this year and I love it!!!! Peace

  • Reply Kari November 25, 2014 at 6:55 pm

    I don't, frankly, understand the need for an e-reader for books you don't want to keep on your shelves forever. That's what the library is for. You get to read a real book and then it's gone when you're finished with it. What could be better? Besides which, libraries are in great need of our support.

    • Reply Erin November 25, 2014 at 7:03 pm

      Sigh. I have a library book on my nightstand right this minute. But alas, alack our nearest public library is a 20 minute walk from our house and sadly (sadly) lacking in new books. I think a healthy combo of borrow and buy is a nice approach.

    • Reply Norma November 25, 2014 at 7:39 pm

      Did you know that libraries all over the world share books? You may have to wait for it to arrive but most titles can get to your library. I don't know about yours but I can do it all on-line or call in and they will do a request for it. Just a suggestion.

    • Reply Erin November 26, 2014 at 12:00 am

      Yes! I've gone this route, too!

  • Reply Lulu November 25, 2014 at 10:09 pm

    I was the same about e-readers but since being given one by a more technologically advanced relative, I have not looked back! I have more space on my shelves for my very favourite and most well-thumbed books, and can store the rest electronically. You can even borrow books on a Kindle – win-win! I don't think I've ever read more.

    Thank you for these book recommendations. I'd like to read quite a few myself! Especially the Maira Kalman ones. I also agree – Nigel Slater is a god! x

  • Reply Carmen Varner November 25, 2014 at 10:35 pm

    So true. With books, everybody wins. I prefer a physical book copy rather than an e-reader, although both do the trick. Eat looks captivating. I do judge books on their covers. There's ones anyway. :] // ▲ ▲

    • Reply Erin November 26, 2014 at 12:01 am

      It's a nice one, isn't it?

  • Reply Cindi Brumpton November 25, 2014 at 11:29 pm

    I have an e reader and still buy books and also borrow from my library. I love my e reader, I love my local bookstore, and I love my library. I don't really get why there has to be one way to do things. An e reader is the perfect travel companion, light and allows you to carry many books with you and if u r in a foreign country, u can find books in your own language. Everything of all is great!!!

    • Reply Erin November 25, 2014 at 11:59 pm

      Hear, hear!

  • Reply sarah e. November 26, 2014 at 6:16 pm

    I have a second-generation Kindle that I use sparingly, and almost all of the books I read on it I download from my library or sites like Project Gutenberg (free public domain ebooks This can be really handy with newer/popular books at the library since you can download it right away and you're not stuck waiting weeks to get a copy. There has been some research that indicates we don't retain things as well when reading on a screen vs. paper and I've definitely noticed that in myself, but I think you just have to find a good balance that works for you.

  • Reply Marianne November 26, 2014 at 10:40 pm

    Oooh, Girls Standing on Lawns looks intriguing, as does The Thing, The Book–sounds so meta. Thank you for including the covers too–this is one thing I miss with my Kindle is the fresh splash of color that new books spines add to my shelves. It really is a tough call sometimes, but I say, when a book is truly beautiful inside and out, go for the real thing. Great post!

  • Reply Little Miss Know-it-all November 27, 2014 at 12:26 pm

    I wonder why my comments never seem to appear? Is it because I occasionally make a small criticism?!

    • Reply Erin December 4, 2014 at 6:00 pm

      Hmm…I've never deleted one of your comments and I just checked the spam inbox to see if they've been going there. I don't see any! Sorry if you've been having trouble posting!

  • Reply mira khatun November 28, 2014 at 11:45 am

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  • Reply tornyiildiko November 28, 2014 at 2:36 pm

    regarding reading good stuff: yesterday, 7043 km away from your location, here, in a small European country: a friend shared an article of yours. I think this is world fame, when friends spontaneously just come up with the same "faraway" thing independently from each other and than discuss that they both like it a lot. 🙂

  • Reply susan // fleurishing November 30, 2014 at 4:16 pm

    great selections…the sunday suppers one is high on my list!

  • Reply emily @ cabin fervor December 1, 2014 at 2:23 pm

    My mom got me an e-reader about a year ago, a birthday gift from one English major to another. I read 25 books on it in the past 12 months — for a slow reading, full-time working mama of a toddler, this was the most I've read in years. We live fairly far out in the country, and I rarely if ever drive by a library. Having my entire wish-list of books at my fingertips has been hugely motivating. And my Dodocase makes it feel like I'm kind of reading a beautiful leather-bound book. 🙂

    Just finished: The Handmaid's Tale. Next up: Housekeeping by Marilynne Robinson.

  • Reply wendy December 2, 2014 at 1:18 pm

    Thank you for your book suggestions! I just ordered 3 of them for presents and maybe just one for myself 🙂
    There is no better gift than a book!

  • Reply laura_s December 3, 2014 at 11:44 pm

    just got eat in the mail and adore it. thank you for the reco friend! xx

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