Amazing Stocking Stuffers

Amazing Stocking Stuffers

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Didn’t get the book you wanted this holiday? Not sure how to spend that bookstore gift certificate? Here, great recommendations from 13 indie booksellers.

 

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The Twelve
Justin Cronin
“Justin Cronin breathed precious new life into the saturated end-of-the-world genre with his runaway hit The Passage. He draws readers back into his masterfully imagined universe in The Twelve, weaving two distinct narratives almost 100 years apart. A century after the fall of civilization, the world is a barren wasteland inhabited by “virals.” Twelve of these virals, scattered, pose the greatest threat to what remains of mankind. A young band of survivors, connected to the past in ways they cannot yet understand, are the only hope for rebuilding a lost world.” —THE BOOK CELLAR, Chicago, IL

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Sweet Tooth
Ian McEwan
“Unlike his earlier edgy and sometimes cruel plots, Ian McEwan’s newest novel, Sweet Tooth, tells the more gentle but mysterious story of thoughtful literary aficionado Serena Frome (rhymes with “plum”). Product of an uneventful childhood and Cambridge education, Frome is recruited by MI5 where she works in a program code-named Sweet Tooth. Through it, she meets, and lies to, an aspiring, gifted author who becomes her lover. Less spy story than coming-of-age tale, McEwan asks questions about trust, betrayal, and who is inventing whom. Bonus: lots of talk about literature and its power to affect real lives.” —THE BOOKIES, Denver, CO

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Life among Giants
Bill Roorbach
“Using flavors of Garp, Gatsby, and a pinch of Dolphin, Bill Roorbach cooks up a novel about a young man that is both engrossing on the narrative level (Why were his parents murdered? Was it connected to the dancer and the rock star in the mansion next door, or to the shady financial dealings of his father’s employer?) and engaging on an emotional and psychological level. Family dysfunction, mental illness, and coming of age are all handled deftly and deeply with seeming ease by Roorbach.” —RIVERRUN BOOKSTORE, Portsmouth, NH

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The Walnut Tree
Charles Todd
“Charles Todd is a mother and son writing team who specialize in telling stories set during WWI. The Walnut Tree follows Lady Elspeth Douglas, who is in France as the war starts. Despite a warning to leave the city, she stays to help a friend through the birth of her child. When Elspeth finally tries to leave, she is confronted with the tragedy of war. Unable to return home to the life she knew before, Elspeth hides her background and becomes a nurse. The Walnut Tree follows her time as a nurse as she travels from station to station during the war, trying to keep up with family, friends, and her fiancée. The Todds have created a wonderful love story that will enchant readers but doesn’t shy away from the terrors of war.” —MURDER BY THE BOOK, Houston, TX

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Underwater Dogs
Seth Casteel
“Dogs! Diving for balls! This book of striking photographs is perfect for animal enthusiasts. It’s like giving the gift of a big smile with every page turned.” —CAPITOLA BOOK CAFÉ, Capitola, CA

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Alice’s Adventure’s in Wonderland: With Artwork…
Lewis Carroll
“Alice asked, ‘And what is the use of a book without pictures or conversation?’ In this wonderful edition from Penguin Classics we have the best of both: Carroll’s witty, warm wordplay and Japanese artist Yayoi Kusama’s colorful illustrations, which look like they came directly from down the rabbit hole. A great gift for adults and kids alike.” —STRAND BOOK STORE, New York, NY

The Rhinoceros Who Quoted Nietzsche and Other
Peter S. Beagle
“‘Professor Gottesman and the Indian Rhinoceros,’ the story that opens this volume, never fails to bring bittersweet tears to my very-cynical eyes, and it just gets better from there! This collection of stories and essays gloriously displays the range, talent, and versatility of the author of The Last Unicorn. The works in Rhinoceros are fanciful, musical, funny, and intensely human.” —BORDERLANDS BOOKS, San Francisco, CA

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Rootless
Chris Howard
“Rootless is the first book in an amazing new fantasy series for young readers from Colorado author Chris Howard—the perfect gift for fans of The Hunger Games trilogy, the Harry Potter books, or Ally Condie’s Matched series. The story is set in a hostile and barren hell that the world has become—a world that seems all too probable. There is very little water. Nothing grows except genetically engineered corn. Mutated locusts feed on humans, and someone is ‘disappearing’ people at a greater and greater rate. Seventeen-year-old Banyan is looking for his father, who was taken a year ago. Along the way he meets criminals and warriors—some hell-bent on killing him (or worse), others who become unexpected allies. There is truly non-stop adventure on nearly every page. It is exhilarating, exhausting, and impossible to put down.” —TATTERED COVER BOOK STORE, Denver, CO

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20th-Century World Architecture: The Phaidon
Editors of Phaidon
“How did human vision and engineering change the world between 1900 and 1999? Let this unique atlas show you some of the ways. Organized by geographic region, this masterpiece of design and information highlights some 750 structures, ranging from cultural centers to banks, wineries, and farms to embassies and estates. Beloved icons like Frank Lloyd Wright’s Fallingwater are examined, as well as less familiar projects, such as art nouveau buildings in China. You can also observe a planetarium in Moscow and compare the Glass House of New Canaan, Connecticut, with the Glass House of São Paulo, Brazil. Phaidon has drawn on an extensive list of experts to present the work of nearly 700 different architects. Weighing over eighteen pounds, and with dimensions that are just short of life-size, this dazzling volume is truly a world-class production.” —POLITICS AND PROSE BOOKSTORE, Washington, D.C.

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Steal Like an Artist
Austin Kleon
“Don’t try to be a genius—work on being yourself! Austin Kleon, poet, digital artist, and formerly a librarian, web designer, and copy editor, writes that creativity is everywhere, and for everyone. Asked to address college students in upstate New York, Kleon shaped his speech around the ten things he wished someone had told him when he was starting out. The talk went viral, and its author dug deeper into his own ideas to create Steal Like an Artist, the book. The result is inspiring, hip, original, practical, entertaining, and filled with new truths about creativity.” —CUPPA PULP BOOKSELLERS, Chestnut Ridge, NY

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My Ideal Bookshelf
Jane Mount & Thessaly La Force 2012
“Everything about this book is cool…from the concept, to the font, to the shape, to the colorful sketches of book spines (which happen to be accurate). It screams ‘perfect gift book’ and makes a fine complement to My Bookstore, edited by Ronald Rice, for the book lovers and readers in your life. Your most beloved authors and artists write about the books that define their ‘dreams and ambitions’—in other words what constitutes their ideal bookshelf. This book should be in everyone’s library.” —PORTER SQUARE BOOKS, Cambridge, MA

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On Politics: A History of Political Thought:…
Alan Ryan
“On Politics is an ambitious and intellectually delightful work. It is a wide-ranging conversation with the political and philosophical thinking of the ages. This will make a wonderful holiday gift for anybody interested in philosophy, history, or politics. It is a surprisingly accessible and lively tour de force.” —CHAUCER’S BOOKSTORE, Santa Barbara, CA

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Mrs Queen Takes the Train
William Kuhn
“Pure. Reading. Pleasure. Like cake, only good for you. The Queen finds herself, unexpectedly but quite plausibly, alone in public and in disguise. (She’s borrowed a black hoodie with a skull on it, and put the hood up against the rain.) She takes advantage of the opportunity to go on a little trip, hoping to cheer herself up, and several of her inner circle are drawn onto her trail in an effort to keep her safe and out of the tabloids. Witty, insightful and smart…we loved it.” —GALLERY BOOKSHOP, Mendocino, CA

This article originally appeared on Zola Books.

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