Holiday Gift Guide 2014

You have the same problem every holiday season:  What do you get the person who has everything? Why, books of course. And no matter how many books your friends and family own, chances are they haven’t yet seen our newest titles. Why not surprise them with a book that complements a gift they loved last year?  And in the meantime, treat yourself with our bonus suggestions.

It’s clear from the photographs flooding your Facebook news feed that someone got a new camera last year and has exhausted every possible photographic angle of the trees in his local park. Offer him some inspiration with Uelsmann Untitled: A Retrospective.

Pioneer and master of photomontage, Jerry Uelsmann will whip your family member into shape and exemplify the transformative power behind processing effects. And maybe now you can stop pretending that your Facebook account suffered a random unfriend-ing glitch.

BONUS:  That bird’s nest on Uelsmann’s cover has reignited your bird watching hobby. Sit back with Attracting Birds to South Florida Gardens and learn from authors James A. Kushlan and Kirsten Hines how to keep birds flying to your garden—whether on a small balcony, in a suburban yard, or over rural acreage.

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You made the mistake of buying your sister that stainless steel skillet set she wanted, and now you’re sick of eating the same three variations of risotto every time you visit. Convince her to broaden her cooking horizons with the subtle gift of a cookbook.

Good Catch offers delectable recipes for preparing oysters, lobster, and shrimp in a distinct Floridian style. And as the Charlotte Observer attests, Pam Brandon, Katie Farmand, and Heather McPherson have filled their book “with great ideas even if the closest you get to fresh fish is the glass case at the supermarket.” If you’re craving Cuban cuisine, The Versailles Restaurant Cookbook’s collection of homemade recipes brings the best of this top-rated restaurant to the table. Passed down through the Valls family and brought to you by authors Ana Quincoces and Nicole Valls, these traditional recipes abuela used to make include plantain chips, croquettes, and the one and only original Cuban sandwich. Accompany both with Jen Karetnick’s Mango¸ a book bursting with easy-to-follow, exquisite recipes with either a touch or an explosion of mango. From mango blintzes for breakfast, to grouper with mango-fig chutney for dinner, this culinary tour can elevate any meal to a new level. Perhaps even a risotto…

BONUS: Pick up Jan S. Maizler’s Fishing for Spotted Seatrout and learn how to nab the “everyman’s fish” for your sister’s new recipe collection.

The yoga membership your mom just finished left a little zen hole in her heart. Fill it up with Bill Belleville’s The Peace of Blue: Water Journeys. In this lyrical journey to the natural places in Florida and the Caribbean that have been shaped by water, Belleville poetically affirms the vitality of this most essential substance in our lives by showing the many ways in which water-driven landscapes nurture plants, wildlife, and the human spirit.

BONUS:  After all of this talk about water, you’re ready to set sail! Don’t leave without Jennifer Frick-Ruppert’s Waterways: Sailing the Southeastern Coast on board! She recounts her journey down the southeastern coast of the United States and takes us into an enchanting world of coastal animals that few ever experience. And since you’re a yoga fan yourself, you’ll appreciate the book’s message about the relationships between human and nature, land and sea, learning to sail and learning to see.

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You surprised your wife with a trip to the Everglades last year, and now you keep getting asked when you’re going back. Keep the beauty close to home with Mac Stone’s Everglades: America’s Wetland, a book of striking photographs capturing the amazing depths of the wetland’s landscapes, the diversity of its wildlife, and the resilience of the largest subtropical wilderness in the United States. We know you were going to buy an alligator instead, but this might be the safer option.

BONUS: After reading Everglades over your wife’s shoulder, you want to learn more about conservation in Florida. Look no further than Peggy Macdonald’s Marjorie Harris Carr: Defender of Florida’s Environment, an intimate look at a remarkable woman who transformed the modern environmental movement.

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The amateur painter in the family has really developed her skills with those oil paints she got last holiday season. Mary Ann Carroll: First Lady of the Highwaymen by Gary Monroe features remarkable landscape paintings from the only female of the Highwaymen. Mary Ann Carroll joined these roadside artists at 16 and sold her first painting at 18! Gary Monroe’s book retelling Carroll’s journey will encourage the painter in your family to make a name for herself. And perhaps to stop painting self-portraits.

BONUS: Pick up Johnny Molloy’s Day Hiking Southwest Florida and immerse yourself in the landscapes showcased in Gary Monroe’s books.

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That signed jersey you gave your husband made you gift-giver-of-the-year, but it seems you’ve created a monster obsessed with every sports domain around the world. He might know his sports terms front to back, but does he know why soccer is so important in Latin Amercia? Joshua H. Nadel’s Fútbol! will reveal that answer and add some oomph to his “GOOOOOOOOOL!” for the next World Cup. Or perhaps he’s an NFL fan, but has never heard of Dunbar. It’s a community of low-income neighborhoods of Fort Myers, Florida, plagued by drugs and violence, and David A. Dorsey’s Fourth Down in Dunbar describes how an astonishing number of Dunbar athletes, including idols Deion Sanders, Jevon Kearse,and Earnest Graham, avoided the path to becoming drug dealers and achieved NFL stardom.

BONUS: While your husband’s celebrating sports, take a look at the dark side rarely discussed in S. L. Price’s Pitching around Fidel: A Journey into the Heart of Cuban Sports, what Sports Illustrated calls “a rarity: a balanced, compassionate, intimate journal of Cuba’s slow, agonizing decay.”

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Did you surprise your friend with dance lessons last year? Did it keep you from being embarrassed yet again at that summer wedding? Maybe not, but you’ll keep your friend glued to a chair through the duration of Lee Wilson’s Rebel on Pointe: A Memoir of Ballet and Broadway. Wilson expertly describes how she grand jetéd from the stifling suburbia of the 1950s, a world of rigid gender roles, to the only domain where women and men were equally paid and equally respected—in grand, historic dance theaters and under the bright lights of the Broadway stage.

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BONUS: Swap dance success stories after reading Sharon Savoy’s Ballroom!: Obsession and Passion inside the World of Competitive Dance.

 

Your neighbor has a beautiful garden, but he might not be able to put those tools you got him to good use all-year round. Keep him united with his favorite flora with Craig Pittman’s page-turner of a book, The Scent of Scandal. Pittman reveals how the most beautiful orchid in the world sparked great chaos when it was smuggled into the United States. And don’t worry if your neighbor usually reads fiction—The Scent of Scandal unspools like a riveting mystery novel with cliff-hangers at every turn.

BONUS: Thirsty for a true crime story for yourself? Making Sense of Marshall Ledbetter: The Dark Side of Political Protest by Daniel M. Harrison tells the story of a prankster turned mental patient after he invaded the Florida State Capitol and demanded an extra-large pizza and 666 donuts for the cops waiting outside.

Did you finally cave and bring home the puppy your children were crying for? Or maybe you managed to placate them with a fluffy and loyal pet rock instead. In any case, your entire family has an animal obsession (admit it, even you teared up a little when that little beagle howled behind his pet store bars), and you’ll love Larry Allan’s Florida Animals for Everyday Naturalists. It doesn’t matter if you live in Florida or Montana—the animals in these pages are sure to spark “Aww!”s nationwide. And take heart: most of the wildlife can’t be kept as pets, so you won’t have to drag them away crying.

BONUS: Sit back with die-hard Northeasterner Andrew Furman’s Bitten: My Unexpected Love Affair with Florida and complete your mental portrait of Florida.

Your uncle’s been tooting away on his new e-cigarette, but does he know how the tobacco craze began? Educate him with Georgia L. Fox’s The Archaeology of Smoking and Tobacco, a fascinating look at the discovery, production, consumption and trade of this once staple crop.

BONUS: Speaking of crops, you meant to work on those herbs of yours. Don’t just settle for the obvious ones! Pick up Florida’s Edible Wild Plants and follow Peggy Lantz’s advice to find and eat the wild plants already growing in your backyard!

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After your trip to the Museum of Florida History, you brought the Civil War expert in the family a few souvenirs. But he doesn’t think they deserve the same place beside his other Civil War trinkets. Teach him about Florida’s pivotal role in the war with Daniel L. Schafer’s Thunder on the River. Schafer details the dynamic racial and cultural factors that led to Florida’s engagement on behalf of the South, an oft-forgotten theater of war.

BONUS: Start planning your next Florida vacation with Laura Albritton’s Miami for Families: A Vacation Guide for Parents and Kids.

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You bought James Joyce’s Ulysses for the bookworm in your family, but now that smarty pants college grad keeps ranting about Joyce’s superiority to your favorite author, D.H. Lawrence. Teach her how both men were quite similar with Matthew J. Kochis and Heather L. Lusty’s Modernists at Odds: Reconsidering Joyce and Lawrence, and let her rethink the entire scope of her thesis that inaccurately polarized these two twentieth century writers.

BONUS: Pre-order Lee M. Jenkins’s The American Lawrence. This reevaluation of Lawrence as a creator and critic of American literature will suit any of his fans. And we know you’re out there.

STOCKING STUFFER

You sat down to have a beer last year with, well, everyone in your family. So stuff everyone’s stocking with The Great Florida Craft Beer Guide by Mark DeNote. Florida beer isn’t just for locals. Craft beer enthusiasts take pride in the sense of community surrounding their movement. And what better way to see what Florida has to offer than to mark up this book, take a trip down, and tour the breweries?

BONUS: Do we really need to tell you to get yourself the same book? It’s a beer book. Get it. Enough said.

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Categories: Holiday Gift Guide

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