Holiday Gift Guide Staff Picks: Julie and Kelvin!

Hello readers!

We’re on the second of five special edition blogs featuring our Holiday Gift Guide picks! Small Business Saturday is awfully close after Thanksgiving, so we thought we’d give you time to plan what you’re going to come in and buy! Remember, you’ll get 15% off one item from the catalog per visit!

Today, we’ve got Julie and Kelvin!

Julie’s Picks: 


Are You Scared, Darth Vader?, by Adam Rex
Picture book, perfect for: Star Wars fans of all ages, kids just starting to read on their own who don’t mind still reading aloud with parents, lovers of Halloween

The best Star Wars book ever written (in Megan’s humble opinion), and Julie’s evergreen staff pick, Are You Scared, Darth Vader? explores the many different monsters and things Darth Vader might be scared of…if he got scared of anything. Which he doesn’t. Encouraging kids to face their fears in a hilarious and wonderfully illustrated tale that’s perfect for reading out loud and for kids to practice reading on their own, Adam Rex’s latest take on the galaxy far, far away is an absolute delight.

The Wall in the Middle of This Book, by Jon Agee
Picture book, perfect for: fans of interactive picture books like Press Here, kids who love being read out loud to, parents with inquisitive kiddos

There’s a wall in the middle of the book, and our hero–a young knight–is sure that the wall protects his side of the book from the dangers of the other side–like an angry tiger and giant rhino, and worst of all, an ogre who would gobble him up in a second! But our knight doesn’t seem to notice the crocodile and growing sea of water that are emerging on his side. When he’s almost over his head and calling for help, who will come to his rescue? An individual who isn’t as dangerous as the knight thought–from a side of the book that might just have some positive things to offer after all!

The German Cookbook, by Alfons Schuhbeck
Cookbook, perfect for: home chefs of all skill levels, anyone with German ancestry who wants to have the recipes their grandma used to make, people who enjoy really excellent food and want to learn how to cook it

Germany is made up of a series of distinct regional culinary cultures. From Hamburg on the north coast to Munich in the Alpine south, and from Frankfurt in the west to Berlin in the east, Germany’s cities and farmland yield a remarkable variety of ingredients and influences. This authoritative book showcases this diversity, with 500 recipes including both beloved traditional cuisine and contemporary dishes representing the new direction of German cooking – from snacks to desserts, meat, poultry, and fish, to potatoes, dumplings, and noodles. These recipes have been tested for accuracy in a home kitchen, making them fully accessible to a wide range of cooking abilities. Icons indicate everything from vegetarian, gluten-, and dairy-free options to recipes with five ingredients or fewer and simple one-pot dishes.

Julie’s Wild Card PicksWest of Night, by Beryl Markham and Our Car, by J. M. Brum

Kelvin’s Picks: 


The Illustrated History of the Snowman, by Bob Eckstein
History, perfect for: adults with a playful side, people interested in microhistory (books like Salt, Cod, and Gavin Menzies’ years series), fans of winter and its traditions

A thoroughly entertaining exploration, this book travels back in time to shed light on the snowman’s enigmatic past — from the present day, in which the snowman reigns as the King of Kitsch, to the Dark Ages, with the creation of the very first snowman. Eckstein’s curiosity began playfully enough, but soon snowballed into a (mostly) earnest quest of chasing Frosty around the world, into museums and libraries, and seeking out the advice of leading historians and scholars. With over two hundred illustrations, The Illustrated History of the Snowman is a truly original winter classic — smart, surprisingly enlightening, and quite simply the coolest book ever.

These Truths: A History of the United States, by Jill Lepore
History, perfect for: lovers of non-fiction, anyone interested in the history of America, anyone who needs some enlightening on what America should really stand for

In the most ambitious one-volume American history in decades, award-winning historian and New Yorker writer Jill Lepore offers a magisterial account of the origins and rise of a divided nation, an urgently needed reckoning with the beauty and tragedy of American history. Written in elegiac prose, Lepore’s groundbreaking investigation places truth itself—a devotion to facts, proof, and evidence—at the center of the nation’s history. The American experiment rests on three ideas—”these truths,” Jefferson called them—political equality, natural rights, and the sovereignty of the people. And it rests, too, on a fearless dedication to inquiry, Lepore argues, because self-government depends on it. But has the nation, and democracy itself, delivered on that promise?

The Annotated Memoirs of Ulysses S. Grant, by Ulysses S. Grant, edited by Elizabeth D. Samet
History, biography, perfect for: history buffs of all kinds, people who love Michael Shaara novels or the movie Gettysburg, Ken Burns fans

One hundred and thirty-three years after its 1885 publication by Mark Twain, Elizabeth Samet has annotated this lavish edition of Grant’s landmark memoir, and expands the Civil War backdrop against which this monumental American life is typically read. No previous edition combines such a sweep of historical and cultural contexts with the literary authority that Samet, an English professor obsessed with Grant for decades, brings to the table. Whether exploring novels Grant read at West Point or presenting majestic images culled from archives, Samet curates a richly annotated, highly collectible edition that will fascinate Civil War buffs.

Kelvin’s Wild Card Picks: Beyond Weird, by Philip Ball and The Americansby Robert Frank

You can find all the Wild Card picks over on the Friday What We’re Reading posts–if you don’t see them yet, don’t worry; there will be several more Wild Card Picks posts going up in the next few weeks! So keep an eye out for them!

Small Business Saturday is on November 24th this year! We’ve got a whole bevy of book-related fun–all holiday cards and 2019 wall calendars will be 10% off; all scarves, tote bags, and t-shirts will be 15% off, and if you spend $50 or more, you’ll get to pick out one free book from our stash of ARCs! We hope to see you there!

You can buy any of the Holiday Gift Guide picks by clicking on the titles above! You can find the whole catalog online, here (the “Categories” button at the top of the page toggles between the kids/teen and adult lists!). And remember–all books in the catalog will be 15% off (one per visit) throughout the holiday season!

Happy reading!

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