Holiday Gift Guide 2019: 15 Awesome Giftable Books
In this digital age we live in you might be thinking, “wait, a book guide? What is this ‘book’ thing you speak of?” To remind you, a book is a collection of words, printed on this other ancient thing called paper, that you hold in your hands and read.
All joking aside, with so many eBooks and Audio books out there, gifting someone a physical book–something they can hold and flip through and display in their home–has become all the more special. Here are some of the best titles for the 2019 holiday season.
Best Massive Coffee Table Book
The NASA Archives. 60 Years in Space ($150) is huge (468 pages!) and gives a visual history of space exploration by way of 400 historic photographs and concept renderings from the last 60 years. The list price is high, but it’s already down to about $90 on Amazon.
Best Not So Massive Coffee Table Book
In The Beatles from A to Zed: An Alphabetical Mystery Tour ($27), record producer Peter Asher (who knew the band personally) takes you on an “alphabetical journey” through the music and lives of the best music group the world has ever known (true fact). Just came out in a couple weeks ago and is getting great reviews.
Best New Cookbook
Everyone likes tacos, which is why Ama: A Modern Tex-Mex Kitchen ($30) is my pick for best new cookbook. In it, LA based chef and restaurant owner Josef Centeno shares over 100 regional Mexican dishes with German, Polish, and Moroccan influences. Honestly all the recipes sound good, but the Blood Orange Flan de Queso and Grandma Alice’s Chipotle Chorizo are at the top of my list to try. Oh and the Áma Margarita, of course.
Best Classic Cookbook
For someone who is just getting into cooking, Jacques Pépin New Complete Techniques ($40) is considered by many to be the new standard for teaching general cooking skills. The late great Anthony Bourdain said of this 700+ pager, “This is the book that every aspiring cook should read before picking up a French knife. Concise, informative, indispensable.”
Best New Travel Book
Wanderlust: A Traveler’s Guide to the Globe ($40) is 368 pages of pure bucket list inspiration. It includes themed lists of travel ideas like “50 wonders of the world”, “where to stargaze”, and “legendary bars and cafés”, plus tons of photographs and general travel tips. A dream come true for the dreamer on your list!
Best Book for Over-Analyzers
Am I Overthinking This?: Over-answering life’s questions in 101 charts ($15) is a gem of a book based on graphic designer Michelle Rial’s popular Instagram account. Through hilarious hand-drawn charts and diagrams, Rial answers the most burning adult questions like, “should I have more coffee?”, “how long should this dish soak?” and “do I have too many plants?” Just read the reviews–they’re so good!
Best Kids’ Picture Book
The irony of My Book with No Pictures ($10) landing in this spot is that it has no pictures at all! It’s a fill-in-the-blanks follow-up to BJ Novak’s super popular The Book with No Pictures (2014). I’m really excited for this one–the original was a favorite in our family! Note: release date is 11/19.
Best Baby Board Book Set
Everyone likes to believe their baby is the smartest baby in existence, and you can help make that slightly more true with the Baby University Physics Board Book Set ($40). This new 2019 set includes Astrophysics for Babies, Statistical Physics for Babies, Nuclear Physics for Babies and Optical Physics for Babies, but they also make tons of other titles. They’re written by an actual working physicist so you might just find yourself learning something new, too!
Best Pop-Up Book
Star Wars: The Ultimate Pop-Up Galaxy ($85) is Matthew Reinhart’s newest pop-up book, but literally everything he’s done is awesome. Simply calling these books seems wrong–they are true works of art! This newest release covers all 11 Star Wars movies, including The Rise of Skywalker (out in December).
Best Comic Style Book
Strange Planet ($15) is another one that comes from a super popular Instagram account (by Nathan W. Pyle). The highly anticipated book goes through the life cycle of Earth’s inhabitants (from the perspective of a couple adorable aliens) and includes milestones such as The Emergence Day, Being Gains a Sibling, Being Begins a Vocation, and The Being Reflects on Life While Watching the Planet Rotate. The Insta account is amazing, so there’s little question the book is going to be amazing too. Note: release date is 11/19.
Best Boxed Set
The Harry Potter: The Illustrated Collection Books 1-3 Boxed Set ($120) is absolutely stunning. We have the first book from the Illustrated Collection and I was just blown away by the quality. This would make a great gift for younger kids getting into HP for the first time, as well as die-hard fans who have read the books a million times. The words haven’t changed a bit, but the reading experience feels totally new (and somehow even more magical!).
Best Cocktail Book
Cocktail Codex: Fundamentals, Formulas, Evolutions ($40) goes through what the authors have determined to be the six “root” cocktails: the old-fashioned, martini, daiquiri, sidecar, whisky highball, and flip, and shows you how to use them as templates to create all the other cocktails out there (or invent new ones of your own). Universally praised with an impressive 4.7/5 average on GoodReads. Pair this with a nice shaker and you’ve got an awesome gift for just about anyone (well, anyone over the age of 21 that is!).
Best Kids’ Fiction
If you need a cheap gift for an elementary school aged kid, you probably won’t go wrong with Dog Man: Fetch-22 ($13). This is number eight in the graphic novel style series by the Dav Pilkey (the guy who wrote Captain Underpants) and is scheduled for release on 12/10, just in time for the holidays. Every kid I know reads and loves these books!
Best Book for Comic Book Nerds
Detective Comics: 80 Years of Batman Deluxe Edition ($30) is over 400 pages long and features all the iconic moments in Batman comic history: from the very first Batman story, to the debuts of sidekicks like Robin and Batgirl, to the first appearances of villains like Two-Face and the Riddler. Already down to $17 on Amazon (stocking stuffer priced!).
I’m from Minneapolis, so there’s no way Prince: The Beautiful Ones ($30) was not going to make this list. This newly released book not only includes the unfinished memoir Prince was in the middle of writing at the time of his death, but is also full of candid photos, handwritten journal entries and other personal reflections from the beloved musician. The USA Today review writes, “It doesn’t matter whether you’re a Prince fanatic or if your interest is simply piqued by all things music or pop culture: The book is worth picking up. The Beautiful Ones is not a read, but an experience, an immersion inside the mind of a musical genius.”