Looking for The Perfect Gift? (Part Three)

Haven’t found it yet?  Here are more books to consider…


Is your giftee one of those “glass-half-empty” people? Then be sure to wrap up “Survive the Bomb”, edited by Eric G. Swedin. This book, filled with Cold War-era hints and tips on being safe in the case of a nuclear attack, is quaintly innocent and will put a smile on the face of anyone who’s sure a target is painted on their roof.  Wrap it up with “Manksills: how to Avoid Embarrassing Yourself and Impress Everyone Else” by Chris Peterson, to guarantee a better chance of Armageddon survival.

Are the words “Bah. Humbug” on the lips of your giftee right about now? Then you might – just might – get a smile from “The Misanthrope’s Guide to Life (Go Away)” by Meghan Rowland & Chris Turner-Neal. This is the book your grump needs, the one your curmudgeon craves.  Give it – then slink away.

The Trekkie on your list will be over the moon when you give “Shatner Rules: Your Guide to Understanding the Shatnerverse and the World At Large” by William Shatner. Part advice, part memoir, and part tongue-in-cheek, this book is pure fun. Engage.

Here’s a gift that will be welcome, but only to the right person so beware: “Weed: 420 Things You Didn’t Know (or Remember) About Cannabis” by IM Stoned; “The Quotable Stoner” by Holden Blunts; and “The Danktionary: An A-Z Guide to Stoner Slang” by Will B. High. Yes, indeed, these are funny books and will give the right person a high (no pun intended) amount of snickers… but beware who opens the wrapping and who’s in the room when that happens.


For the wine aficionado on your gift list, “Naked Wine” by Alice Feiring” will make the perfect gift. This book, the story of a neophyte wine-maker, will surely spur your wine lover on a journey of his or her own. Wrap it up with a special pair of goblets, and ask to be invited to the first uncorking.

What can be said about comfort food – other than that everybody loves it?  If your giftee is always looking for a different kind of recipe, then wrap up “Gudrun’s Kitchen: Recipes from a Norwegian Family” by Ingeborg Hydle Bauth, Irene O. Sandvold, Edward O. Sandvold, and Quinn E. Sandvold. Filled with recipes and a family history, this book also includes celebrations to match the special dishes. Be sure to ask for a sample from the first dish made…

For the nostalgic cook, you can’t go wrong with “The Unofficial Mad Men Cookbook” by Judy Gelman and Peter Zheutlin. This book is filled with old food ads, sidebars about cooks and culture, and – of course – recipes that might now be considered “comfort food.” Yum!

What foodie worth his salt doesn’t like to travel for (you guessed it) food?  If there’s someone on your gift list, then look for “Feeding the Dragon” by Mary Kate Tate & Nate Tate. Is it a travelogue with recipes, or a cookbook with travel stories?  With food like this, does it matter?  For more adventure, wrap up “Blood, Bones, and Butter” by Gabrielle Hamilton, a book about the life of a Manhattan chef.

It seems like everybody has a baker on their gift list, and if you’re no exception, then wrap up “Vegan Pie in the Sky” by Isa Chandra Moskowitz & Terry Hope Romero. In this book, you’ll find 75 recipes for dessert and pictures to match. Wrap it up with a new pie pan and offers to use your house as a laboratory.


Does your giftee wear purple and hark back to “1999”?  Then you just need to wrap up “Prince: Chaos, Disorder, and Revolution” by Jason Draper this holiday.  This book looks at the Purple One’s life, from the beginning of his career to recently. Bonus: pictures!

So you’ve got a Dead Head in your family, and the holidays are a challenge? Not any more. Not with “Dead Letters: The Very Best Grateful Dead Fan Mail” by Paul Grushkin, foreword by Bill Walton. This book is part art, part music, and a definite labor of love, and will thrill any Dead fan, music maven, or pop-culture artist with a tune in his heart.

Does someone on your list love a little Beat with his beats?  Then look for “Fug You” by Ed Sanders, co-founder of the Fugs. This book takes the reader back to a time when underground was a movement and counterculture wasn’t hip quite yet. Wrap this biography up with “This is a Call: The Life and Times of Dave Grohl” by Paul Brannigan, a “definitive” biography about the drummer for Nirvana and songwriter for the Foo Fighters.

Remember the 70s?  If you do, then you’ll remember CSNY, James Taylor, Simon & Garfunkel, and you’ll want to borrow “Fire and Rain: The Beatles, Simon & Garfunkel, James Taylor, CSNY, and the Lost Story of 1970” by David Browne after you’ve given it as a gift. This book about rock legends takes a look at the music and how these important and iconic artists shaped the way we pad our iPods. And if you loved the 70s (or the 50s, or the 60s, or…. well, any time in history), then check out “Retromania: Pop Culture’s Addiction to Its Own Past” by Simon Reynolds. Then dig out your bobby sox, your tie-died T-shirt, your frizzy bangs and sequined glove….

If there’s a Clapton fan on your list, you’ll get big-time hugs when “Clapton: The Ultimate Illustrated History” by Chris Welch is unwrapped. This huge, beautiful book is just jammed with photos, information, concert posters, and more. This Ultimate book is for the ultimate Eric Clapton fan. Really.

You’ve undoubtedly got someone on your list who lives with earbuds in his ear, right? Then wrap up “Aerosmith: The Ultimate Illustrated History of the Boston Bad Boys” by Richard Bienstock.  This gorgeous book is filled with pictures, discographies, cover reproductions, concert shots and more. Definitely, if you give this book, you’ll have your giftee walking this way…

Is there someone on your list who longs for the days of California girls and surfing music? Then you know “The Beach Boys FAQ” by Jon Stebbins will make the ultimate gift. This book is filled with discographies, information, trivia, biographies, and all kinds of argument-enders.

Is there a music lover on your list who loves anything with a tune? Then look for “Best Music Writing 2011”, edited by Alex Ross and Daphne Carr, and wrap it up. Your giftee will read about blues, rock, soul, grunge, and all kinds of music and artists from today’s best music writers.


Got a street lit lover on your gift list? Then wrap up “Street Divas” by De’Nesha Diamond. In this book, four women in Memphis rule the hood but when men step into the picture, they must decide: are they together, apart, or both?  Also look for “Nookie” by Anieshea Dansby, a book about a sweet little something who finds the streets to be a place she needs to capture or die trying…

When it comes to a gift, do you like to put a little bling into the thing? Then you can’t go wrong with “Lifestyles of the Rich and Shameless” by Kiki Swinson and Noire, two novellas by two acclaimed authors in one hott book. Pair it with “Back on Top” by Angela Winters, one story about three women and their risky, dangerous, sexy lives in our nation’s capital.

For the romance lover, why not wrap up “Breaking the Ties That Bind” by Gwynne Forster?  This book includes a little love, a little mother / daughter drama, and a lot of entertainment for not a lot of cash. Wrap it up with “Should Have Known Better” by Octavia Grace, for the best holiday gift ever.

If your giftee loves a little fast action, then you can’t go wrong with “Tre Pound” by Jordan Belcher. This novel tells the story of a hustler from a long line of hustlers who finds himself fighting for his life on the streets, but his criminal behavior isn’t just his business… it also affects his teenage cousin. Also look for “Allure of the Game” by Danielle Santiago, the story of a female hustler and her losing game she’s playing.

If there’s a political animal on your gift list, then wrap up “The GQ Candidate” by Keli Goff. This book, inspired by the last presidential election, is the story of a man who aspires to be the next president, until a campaign of negativity and his own wife serve to squash his political dreams.

Somebody on your list needs some spiritual guidance, no doubt, so you know they’ll appreciate getting “64 Lessons for a Life Without Limits” by T.D. Jakes. In this book, Rev. Jakes leads his readers on a path to wealth, both personally, financially, and spiritually, and you know that will make for a great New Year.

If there’s a musician on your gift list, here’s two good suggestions: “What a Wonderful World” by Ricky Riccardi is a book about Louis Armstrong in the post-World War II years until his death in 1971. This is a big book and I defy you not to hum the song to match the title as you’re giving it… Wrap it up with “Flavor Flav: The Icon, The Memoir” by Flavor Flav for a good representation of all kinds of music.

Disclaimer: The views expressed on this weblog are mine alone and do not necessarily reflect the views of PBG Lifestyle Magazine.

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