You know the drill: The holidays are coming, and there are book lovers on your list. Here are a few gift suggestions for the bibliophiles in your life.
For arts lovers
Florence: The Paintings & Frescoes, 1250-1743. Ross King and Anja Grebe. Black Dog & Leventhal. 697 pages. $75. This massive collection features almost 2,000 images of the art from the museums and churches of Florence — including the Uffizi, the Accademia and the Duomo. Bolstered by essays from bestselling author Ross King (Brunelleschi’s Dome, Michelangelo and the Pope’s Ceiling) and discussions by art historian Anja Grebe from the University of Freiburg in Germany, it’s almost as much fun as a trip to Florence itself (OK, maybe not, but it’s cheaper).
1001 Movies to See Before You Die. Ian Haydn Smith and Steven Jay Schneider. Barron’s Educational Series. 96 pages. $35. This sixth edition (updated most recently from 2013) includes new films (such as Birdman and Boyhood) as well as more posters and trivia. It’s a perfect distraction for the film buff trying to get you to sit through that 14-hour Terrence Malick movie.
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Bob Dylan: All the Songs: The Story Behind Every Track. Philippe Margotin and Jean-Michel Guesdon. Black Dog & Leventhal. 703 pages. $50. This exhaustive collection isn’t for casual fans of the man from Minnesota who created such classic albums as Blood on the Tracks and Blonde on Blonde. But hardcore aficionados from the Grand Coulee Dam to the Capitol will be thrilled with its scope and intricacy (did you know Tangled Up in Blue took “ten years to live, and two years to write”? Me either).
For the creative soul
Big Magic: Creative Living Beyond Fear. Deluxe Edition. Elizabeth Gilbert. Riverhead. 288 pages. $300. Sure, you can buy the basic edition of Gilbert’s amusing self-help, unleash-your-creativity manifesto for a lot less. But each copy of this limited edition version comes signed, numbered and bound in a unique watercolor by artist Lourdes Sanchez. If that doesn’t inspire your lazy artist friend, nothing will.
For the outdoorsy type
The National Parks: An Illustrated History. Kim Heacox. National Geographic. 367 pages. $50. The National Park Service turns 100 in August 2016, and this companion volume celebrates that centennial, highlighting its history and beauty. The photos include a few terrific pullouts, including a mighty sequoia in California and Mesa Arch in Utah’s Canyonlands that will take your breath away — and maybe help you make some vacation plans.
The National Parks: An American Legacy. Ian Shive. Earth Aware. 240 pages. $50. A 100-year birthday only comes once, so here’s more love for the centennial celebration. This stellar collection comes from photographer Shive, who has been the recipient of the Sierra Club’s Ansel Adams Award for Conservation Photography.
For the armchair traveler
National Geographic Rarely Seen: Photographs of the Extraordinary. Stephen Alvarez and Susan Tyler Hitchcock. National Geographic. 400 pages. $40. The wonders in this gorgeous book of photography range from huge (30,000-year-old cave art) to tiny (the engraving in Abraham Lincoln’s pocket watch). But they have one thing in common: You probably won’t see them any other way.
Embracing Cuba. Byron Motley. University Press of Florida. 194 pages. $34.95. “Words alone do not do Cuba justice,” writes photographer Motley in his introduction. “They depict only fragments of her mystery and beauty, her strength and fragility, her spirit and song.” Arranged by topic (architecture, politics, music and arts, even dogs), the stunning works that follow, taken over a 10-year period, prove his point.
Passage to Cuba: An Up-Close Look at the World’s Most Colorful Culture. Cynthia Carris Alonso. Skyhorse. 220 pages. $45. Alonso spent 20 years shooting the landmarks of Cuba — the Malecón, the Capitol, Hotel Nacional — contrasting them with the more humble, crumbling buildings throughout Havana. Her nostalgic work is worth a look for anyone interested in the island.
For the people who like people
Humans of New York: Stories. Brandon Stanton. St. Martin’s. 432 pages. $29.99. Stanton, who started his project and popular blog in 2010, offers new people, new photos and new stories as part of his ambitious work creating a photographic tapestry of New York City. Hey, somebody should do this in Miami. Who wouldn’t buy that book?
Connie Ogle is the Miami Herald’s book editor.