Saturday, December 19, 2009

My Favorite Gift Books of the '00s

This might not seem like a very weighty topic, but several sagging bookcases prove otherwise. After I deferred to my friend Dave for the Favorite Books of the '00s list because he read much more than I did, I came to realize that while he was basically spotlighting his favorite new novels of the decade (with a couple of non-fiction works), there was another type of book I did do a good bit of delving into.

So, perhaps to aid anyone still not done with their holiday shopping, I thought I'd spotlight my favorite gift/coffee table-type books of the decade. I probably bought most of these as bargains from Barnes & Nobles and Borders, some several years ago, but as a point of reference I am supplying links to Amazon (or wherever the book seems currently available online cheapest):

1. Hirschfeld On Line (Al Hirschfeld cartoons)
2. Headless Body in Topless Bar (NY Post front pages)
3. Frank Gehry Architect
4. The Complete Cartoons of the New Yorker
5. Cash by the Editors of Rolling Stone
6. The Clash
7. The Beatles Anthology
8. Total White Sox
9. Best By Number (Jersey numbers across various sports)
10. The Holocaust Chronicle

Honorable Mention:

LIFE: 70 Years of Extraordinary Photography
Sports Illustrated: The Baseball Book
A Fine Romance: Hollywood/Broadway
The Marilyn Monroe Treasures
Take Me Out to the Ballpark
Stay Tuned: Television's Unforgettable Moments
Speeches That Changed the World
America the Book (by the Daily Show)
When You Ride Alone You Ride with Bin Laden (by Bill Maher)
Kurt Cobain Journals

Also, although it is a bit tangential, I thought I'd mention that when it comes to travel guides, those authored by Rick Steves (primarily for European destinations) are far & away the best. What his guide books lack in colorful photos, they more than make up for in detailed insight and literally step-by-step guidance about what to explore and discover.

The only other travel series I have come to regularly rely upon are the Eyewitness Top 10 Travel Guides, such as this one on London. Cutting to the chase in easily transportable books, they have been quite valuable in narrowing in on what to see, where to eat, etc.

Finally, although I admittedly have not read every page of several of these, you or a gift recipient might appreciate these fine biographies released in the '00s about:

John Coltrane
Arthur Miller
Laurence Olivier
Sandy Koufax
Roberto Clemente
Ted Williams
Joe Dimaggio
Kurt Cobain
Pete Maravich
Lester Bangs

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