10 Holiday Gift Books That Are Gorgeous Prepared For Wrapping

The holidays are here, and publishers are parading their finery — in the form of beautiful, attractive gift books. The Jocelyn McClurg of USA TODAY advocates 10 of the most print offerings of the season.   Each deserves a bow on the top.

1. Night Vision

From Susan Tyler Hitchcock

National Geographic

What it’s about: By blazing neon cityscapes to luminescent images that capture character’s nocturnal secrets, these stunning photos reveal the world at play (and at peace) after dark.

What’s to love: Everybody’s (smartphone) photographer nowadays, but this stunning collection shines a bright light on why National Geographic’s professionals are still the best in the world.

2. The Art of Harry Potter

By Marc Sumerak


What’s’s about: The Harry Potter novels didn’t even become a multi-billion-dollar film franchise through sheer wizardry; this lavish volume unveils the art — paintings, drawings, computer-generated models, costume sketches and set designs —  that brought J.K. Rowling’s envisioned world to life on the big screen.

What’s to enjoy: For HP and film geeks, it’s a behind-the-curtain peek at true movie magic, courtesy of Warner Bros. and production designer Stuart Craig and his team.

3. Obama: An Intimate Portrait

From Pete Souza; foreword by Barack Obama

Little, Brown

That which it’s about: Souza, chief official White House photographer for rsquo & Obama; two terms, was on hand for history —  documenting our first president, and also also a fairly photogenic one at the.

What’s to love: Souza’s book, an instant best seller, includes many iconic images we all’ve ever noticed before, but its most poignant moments are the least public —  such as among the president and his brothers frolicking in the snow in the White House. (And for pint-size Obama fans, there’s Dream huge Dreams, Souza’s kid-friendly collection of presidential snaps; $21.99.)

4. Super Tuscan

From Debi Mazar and Gabriele Corcos


What’s’s about: The husband-and-wife team that star in Extra Virgin about the Cooking Channel (and run The Tuscan Gun cafe in Brooklyn) provide “legacy” Tuscan recipes — antipasti, soups, seafood, cocktails and, of course, pasta.

What’s to love: Corcos, that grew up in Mazar, and Tuscany, an American actress and his spouse in the kitchen, state “It’s Italian! ” with a friendly Brooklyn hipster vibe within their new cookbook — Potato Gnocchi anyone, with Buttery Red Sauce? Yum.

5. Picador Modern Classics   Slouching Towards Bethlehem by Joan Didion; Regarding the Pain of Others by Susan Sontag; Nickel and Dimed by Barbara Ehrenreich; Giving Up the Ghost: A Memoir by Hilary Mantel

Picador, $16 each

What it’s around: Non-fiction functions by four female writers get the “Modern Classics” treatment using hand hardback variations including Cecilia Carlstedt’s evocative cover illustrations of every author.

What’s O love: These literary gems are the perfect stocking-stuffer Dimension for the reader on your Record; you’ll look smart wrapping up All or One of them.    

6. Endangered

By Tim Flach

$65, Abrams

What it’s Flach’s photos of threatened and endangered species, by the cuddly to the un-lovely, include  pandas, elephants, bears, Monarch butterflies, Partula snails and Siamese crocodiles.

What’s to love: Aside from the photographic artistry, what makes this educational book so strong is how it connects to an emotional level —  particularly piercing is a close-up of a chimp’s fingernails(!) .

7. Vogue Living: Country Coast

Introduction by Hamish Bowles

Knopf, $100

What it’s about: Wondering how the other half (well, actually, the 1 percent) live? Vogue provides entry to the exclusive homes and gardens of the international array of designers, artists, society doyennes and actors (like Cindy Crawford and Stella McCartney, to mention two).

What’s to love: Yes, this really is a Vogue title, but alive is rsquo & the season;s true glamour girl  — sumptuous worthy of the price tag.

8. Legendary Authors and also the Clothes They Wore

By Terry Newman

HarperDesign, $29.99

What it’s about: Why do clothes make the author? As he checks out the wardrobes of everybody from Oscar Wilde to Tom Wolfe, he of the dandified white suits writer Newman believes so.

What’s to love: this peek into authors & rsquo; closets creates a fashion statement, although Rumpled writers are rarely associated with splendor.

9. Upside-Down Dogs

From Serena Hodson

St. Martin’s Griffin, $19.99

What it’s around: Doggone cute canines go belly up in Hodson’s group of wiggly, giggly canines with four legs in the air.

What’s to love: OK, it’s the to dog lovers. (Where, oh where, is that this year’s Shop Cats?)   Even this enthusiast was ready to hand indiscriminate belly rubs out after pawing through those topsy-turvy people-pleasers.

10. A Paris Year: My Day-to-Day Adventures in the Most Romantic City in the World

By Janice MacLeod

St. Martin’s Griffin, $24.99

What it’s about: MacLeod, an artist, re-creates the journal she kept during a year at the City of Light, using jottings, photos and colorful sketches of those people she meets, the sights she sees, along with the cafés, markets and stores she visits.

What’s to adore: Each page delivers a tempting taste of Paris and its own allure. Très charmant.

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