Note to self. Next year send this before Black Friday!
A thoughtfully chosen book makes the perfect gift for any and everybody – friend, child or business associate. So throughout the year I keep an eye out for interesting lists I can share with you to ease your Holiday angst.
But before I get to the lists, I have to do a quick shout out to Seth Godin who just shipped his latest book.
Seth’s newest project is out in time for Christmas and Christmas giving. No one does Seth like Seth, so I’ll let him explain what his new project is all about:
This is an urgent call to do the work we’re hiding from, a manifesto about living with things that might not work and embracing tension when doing your art.
What To Do When It’s Your Turn is a full-color book in the form of a magazine, without ads, but with heart and soul and speed.
I hope you’ll consider buying multiple copies at the discounted price to share with friends, co-workers and people on your team. It’s the shared copies that make this project work, and it’s the shared copies that will help create the change you seek in the people around you.
The book is back from the printers, and we’re shipping orders now. It’s really beautiful…
I am waiting for mine to arrive.
If you thought this list would be dry, you don’t know me very well. The Tasting Table Drinks Editor Jim Meehan has put together a list of the Season’s best books on spirits. Says Meehan, “The quality of the new material is remarkable. Publishers have cast generic overviews of the ABC’s of mixing drinks aside for detailed manuals and guides such as Jeffrey Morgenthaler’s The Bar Book which are destined to become go-to’s for amateurs moving forward.”
One that caught my eye is Liquid Intelligence: The Art and Science of the Perfect Cocktail. I figured it must be good because it jumped to the Number 1 spot in Alcoholic Spirits on Amazon in less than a month. Lavishly illustrated, I am much taken by Dave Arnold’s Introduction:
Taking cocktails seriously, as with all worthy inquiries, puts you on a lifelong journey. The more you know, the more questions you raise. The better a practicioner you become, the more you see the faults in your technique. Perfection is the goal, but perfection is, mercifully, unattainable.
With all due respects to Sting, that is a message in a bottle.
One of my guilty pleasures is reading Maria Popova’s blog Brain Pickings. Please don’t ask me how she manages to read so much, and write so much, and write so well because I don’t have a clue.
Popova introduces this years Children’s Book list saying that:
Books that bewitch young hearts and tickle young minds aren’t “children’s books” but simply great books — hearts that beat in the chest of another, even if that chest is slightly smaller. This is certainly the case with the most intelligent and imaginative “children’s” and picture-books published this year.
There are 15 titles on the list and links to her lists from 2010-13 so you can find just the right thing. Illustrations are an essential part of many children’s stories and Popova liberally laces her reviews with them. While this is probably meant to make picking the perfect book easier, the illustrations are so wonderful that it actually makes things harder for me. I want them all!
The Lion and The Bird offers some insight into the kinds of issues these books tap into:
One autumn day, a lion finds a wounded bird in his garden. With the departure of the bird’s flock, the lion decides that it’s up to him to care for the bird. He does and the two become fast friends. Nevertheless, the bird departs with his flock the following autumn. What will become of Lion and what will become of their friendship?
– The Lion and The Bird by Marianne Dubuc
If you want to write, you need to read. And surprisingly if you want to write well, you need to read about writing. Daphne Gray-Grant writing for Ragan.com eschews the sacred cows by King, Lamott and others in favor of some less-known authors noting that:
I read them all years ago. I’d like some fresh inspiration, thank you very much. So here’s my list. Five authors you probably haven’t heard of. Five books that are always filed, ready for action, on my writing bookshelves, if not already in my hands…
When this post first appeared in March, I bought Sin and Syntax: How to Craft Wickedly Effective Prose by Constance Hale. I bit because Hale was the former editor of Wired – a magazine I have long admired for its visual style and crisp writing.
Hale also wrote Wired Style: Principles of English Usage in the Digital Age – a whacky spiral bound, slip-cased gem that Newsweek proclaimed “The Chicago Manual of Style for the new Millennium.” So much has changed since it was published in 1996 that it is in need of a technology update, but it still offers interesting clues about how our language has evolved to meet the needs of all things digital.
At Wired we write geek and we write street. We insist on accuracy and literacy, but we celebrate the colloquial voice… True colloquial writing doesn’t just reflect the vernacular of your reader – it limns the lives and speech of the characters you write about… – Wired Style by Constance Hale
This list is by Jason Wachob, the Founder & CEO of MindBodyGreen. Jason’s goal is to inspire people around the world to live healthy lives, by making informed choices about how they treat their minds, bodies, and the environment. Says Jason:
It’s the list I wish I had before I began the journey of becoming an entrepreneur and creating MindBodyGreen.
It’s an eclectic collection – everyone from Norman Vincent Peale to Paulo Coelho to Yvon Chouinard and a bunch of doctors on wellness. Instead of summaries, he provides a quote from each book so that you can get an inkling of the tone and style.
Ideas are like fish. If you want to catch little fish, you can stay in the shallow water. But if you want to catch the big fish, you’ve got to go deeper. Down deep, the fish are more powerful and more pure. They’re huge and abstract. And they’re very beautiful.
– Catching The Big Fish by David Lynch
The Best Cookbooks To Give Your Super Snooty Foodie Friend
Leave it to HuffPo Taste to get right to the heart of the gifting problem.
The only thing worse than having someone so difficult in your life is when that person also happens to be food obsessed. Not only does eating out reach a whole new level of snobbery, but gift giving becomes downright impossible. You know they only want something food related, but what to buy that they won’t scoff at?
There are books on the new Nordic cuisine, books by and about Bay Area restaurateurs, books about baking, books about dessert and Liquid Intelligence makes an appearance which I take as a very good sign.
If that’s not enough, at the bottom of the article is a slide show called 10 Great Cookbooks which starts with the 1,360 page classic Larousse Gastronomique.
While I still haven’t unpacked my cookbooks from the last move, I will have to buy Never Trust a Skinny Italian Chef by Massimo Bottura. He is the proud papa behind Osteria Francescana, a three Michelin star restaurant in Modena, Italy. He walked away from the law to open a restaurant studying with the likes of Alain Ducasse and Ferran Adria at elbulli.
The book is a wonder – full of photos of food, setting and whimsy. Fascinating windows into the workings of one of cooking’s greatest minds.” – LA Times
What’s to say that you don’t already know – not everybody on Santa’s list loves to read…
2014 was another phenomenal year for music, illuminating darkness when it often seemed that the only light was from buildings burning in Ferguson, Missouri. Veterans like U2, Bruce Springsteen, Tom Petty, Jackson Browne and Leonard Cohen were showing the youngsters how it’s done, but classic rock was being revived in more unlikely ways too.
There are a lot of familiar names here and some surprises like Miranda Lambert at #5. But as I sit here watching U2 be introduced by William Jefferson Clinton on World AIDS Day, it is with great satisfaction that I see that their album – the great Apple giveaway that powered my most popular posts this year – is Number One.
There was no bigger album of 2014 – in terms of surprise, generosity and controversy. Songs of Innocence is also the rebirth of the year. Bono, the Edge, Adam Clayton and Larry Mullen Jr. put their lives on the line: giving away 11 songs of guitar rapture and frank, emotional tales of how they became a band out of the rough streets and spiritual ferment of Seventies Dublin.
#onestep4RED celebrates what can only be considered a tremendous accomplishment in the global fight against AIDS. It is a celebration and a metaphor of what we can all do, if we do it together. Which is why it is fitting that the Boss carried it for Bono. Jersey for Dublin. It’s another reminder that together we are the world. Get well soon Bono.
Click on the photo to see what you missed: