Gift Books for the HolidaysPosted by Whole Earth | 12.20.2021
Gift Books for the Holidays
The holiday season can be a time of great delight for book lovers, especially if they like big beautiful books. We've picked a few of our favorite books you'll find on our shelves that can amaze, inspire and help us see the world in a new light.
Birds by Tim Flach
This is our most spectacular holiday book for 2021. Birds by Tim Flach is oversized and filled with colorful bird portraits. The large scale photos give us a glimpse of the complexity of feathers, expressions and other details that we might not ordinarily see. But perhaps one of the most striking takeaways from this book is that these birds are individuals. When we see them at the birdfeeder or in our neighborhood, they're representatives of a group, subject to our projections of who or what they are. The cardinal on the cover of the book, is no representative. He's an individual endowed with character and life. Throughout the book we meet eyes that reflect curiosity, caution, irritation and humor. Most of the photos have black backgrounds which add intensity to the forms and colors. Give the gift of wonder this holiday season with an unexpected glimpse of these beautiful beings with whom we share the planet.
Natural World by Lonely Planet
Lonely Planet is taking a different approach with this travel book. Instead of the standard arrangement by location, Lonely Planet's Natural World is organized around natural features: forests, rivers and waterways, mountains, coasts and seas, deserts and plains. Its goal is to show us how and where to reconnect with nature, not just in far off places but much closer to home. The destinations cover the globe and are accompanied by striking photos. The authors consider each environment in terms of its scientific, cultural and historical background. There's an emphasis on the scientific findings of nature's healing effects on humans. The authors also ask what we, in turn, can do for the natural world. Reconnecting with nature makes us more protective of it and ready to do our part to conserve and support it for future generations. This is a book for widening our knowledge of the natural world even if we never leave home.
The Life & Love of the Forest by Lewis Blackwell
Here's a book for inspiring dreams. The Life & Love of the Forest by Lewis Blackwell is a large book filled with pictures taken by some of the world's best nature photographers. Many of the photos span two pages creating an immersive and, for some, a meditative experience. Interspersed with the gorgeous photos are texts by Lewis Blackwell where he discusses "What is a Forest?' as well as Origins, Infinite Variety, Imaginary Places, Personal & Productive, Call It Home, and the Future Forest. There are quotations scattered throughout the book that make us pause and reflect. The back of the book includes information on the photographs and photographers, sources for the quotes, and a suggested reading list with some top notch choices. Forest is a doorway into other worlds at a time when we may be very much in need of one.
Wild Focus by Earl Nottingham
Texas Parks & Wildlife has a well-deserved reputation for showcasing the wildlands of Texas in breathtaking photographs in their publications and online. Earl Nottingham is one of the photographers who has contributed to that legacy. Wild Focus: Twenty-five Years of Texas Parks & Wildlife Photography is a tribute to his work that includes almost 200 photographs. Nottingham has traveled thousands of miles over the years to document the landscapes of our Texas state and national parks as well as private lands. The book includes wildlife photography and portraits of the people who are tied to the land as well as photos of nature's fury: floods, fires and storms. Wild Focus is a brand new book, just published on December 6th, so it's quite possible that the lover of all things Texan may not yet have seen it! Be the first to share it with them.
Subterranea by Chris Fitch
Let Chris Fitch take you below the surface in Subterranea: Journey into the Depths of the Earth's Most Extraordinary Underground Spaces. You'll visit caves and underground rivers, ancient monuments, and modern day constructions. From the cenotes of the Yucatan, to the underground art gallery at Chauvet-Pont d'Arc in France, to the London Underground and the Large Hadron Collider in Switzerland, Fitch fills the reader in on the geology, history and importance of these sites and many more that span the globe. Excellent maps are also included that may whet your appetite for travel and adventure. If you are looking for a gift for someone who was enthralled by Robert Macfarlane's Underland: A Deep Time Journey, this may be just gift you're looking for.
Gastro Obscura by Cecily Wong and Dylan Thuras
For fans of Atlas Obscura's social media feeds, you know there's a treat in store with Gastro Obscura: A Food Adventurer's Guide. Buckle up for a gastronomic journey around the world. You'll be visiting all the continents and exploring some of their more unusual foodways. This includes even Antarctica. Atlas Obscura's guiding mantra is that wonder can be found around every corner, not just in far-flung destinations but in your own town or neighborhood. That said, the book also comes with a warning that not everything you'll find in Gastro Obscura should be eaten. It's surprising to learn about some of these unusual food choices, but as your mother might say, just because someone else does it, doesn't mean you should too! Texas gets a tip of the hat with the Berdoll Pecan vending machine where one can purchase an entire pecan pie. Now that's something we can all agree is very edible.
Into the Woods by Philip Jodidio
Does your dream home have more glass than walls and look out into a forest or across a large body of water? If so, Into the Woods: Retreats and Dream Houses by Philip Jodidio will be rich source of ideas to make that dream home more substantial or even a reality. The buildings range from small weekend retreats to large homes. Many of the descriptions of individual buildings include elevations that show how the building rests on the land and may also include floor plans. All of the homes and retreats have been built in the 21st century and are located in forested regions around the world. Some areas are better represented than others, but nevertheless it is interesting to see the similarities between these structures as well as their differences. One thing they all have in common: rooms with a view.
Where on Earth? by DK
In true DK (Dorling Kindersley) fashion, Where on Earth? gives us the big picture about life on our planet. Starting with landforms, water and climate, it moves on to the living world of plants and animals, with an emphasis on the big and sometimes scary animals. Next up, the book looks at humans and their impact on the planet. The geography of engineering and technical creations includes maps of the internet and satellites and space junk. There are also historical maps tracking empires and wonders, and finally maps that look at culture by way of languages, holy places, festivals and more. The maps are colorful and graphically sophisticated. Many are accompanied by graphs and sidebars of fun facts that further enhance our understanding. There's even a map showing the distribution of mummies around the world. They're not just found in Egypt! Where on Earth? is targeted for kids 9-12, but many adults will enjoy the book as well. We did!
Incredible Archaeology by Paul Bahn
Get ready for a whirlwind, armchair tour of some of the enduring monuments to human beliefs and collaboration in ancient times. Incredible Archaeology: Inspiring Places from Our Human Past by Paul Bahn circles the planet showing us the remarkable scope of remains from early civilizations that have survived to the present day. Some sites are well known like Stonehenge or the Temple of Karnak in Egypt. But Bahn also takes us to many of the lesser known ones like the kurgans and megaliths of Khakasia, the ancient mud city of Chan Chan, and the Kingdom of Aksum. Each site is briefly described. The strongest feature of the book are the photographs which give both an overall view and focus on evocative details.
These are some of our favorite gift books for the holidays. They can delight, inspire, entertain and leave us awestruck. Would one of these special books be just right for someone on your holiday list or perhaps for yourself? A book is a gift that keeps on giving.