Holiday Gift Guide Staff Picks: Susie, Tara, and Teresa!

Hello readers!

This is the last one, we promise! We know you’re super busy, cooking and cleaning and getting ready for Thanksgiving, and we sincerely hope you have the best holiday possible! Thank you for always being the best patrons, the best readers we could ask for! We couldn’t do what we love without your support, so this Thanksgiving, we’re absolutely grateful for all of you!

We’ve got one more set of Holiday Gift Guide staff picks for you. Our store owner, Susie, and our most veteran bookseller, Tara–who won our Gift Guide sales competition last year–didn’t pick from the catalog this year, but I’ll go ahead and feature their Wild Card picks here (I don’t want to leave them out!). And Teresa is our last Gift Guide feature–save the best for last, right? 🙂


Susie’s Wild Card Picks:

Unsheltered, by Barbara Kingsolver
Fiction, perfect for: readers of literary fiction, anyone who loves a good dual narrative, hard-to-shop-for aunts and mothers

Barbara Kingsolver returns with a timely novel that interweaves past and present to explore the human capacity for resiliency and compassion in times of great upheaval. Unsheltered is the compulsively readable story of two families, in two centuries, who live at the corner of Sixth and Plum in Vineland, New Jersey, navigating what seems to be the end of the world as they know it. With history as their tantalizing canvas, these characters paint a startlingly relevant portrait of life in precarious times when the foundations of the past have failed to prepare us for the future.

How to Be a Good Creature, by Sy Montgomery
Nature, science, perfect for: animal lovers of all kinds, readers of quirky but beautiful memoirs, anyone who wants to explore how animals and humans communicate and impact one another

Understanding someone who belongs to another species can be transformative. No one knows this better than author, naturalist, and adventurer Sy Montgomery. To research her books, Sy has traveled the world and encountered some of the planet’s rarest and most beautiful animals. From tarantulas to tigers, Sy’s life continually intersects with and is informed by the creatures she meets. This restorative memoir reflects on the personalities and quirks of thirteen animals—Sy’s friends—and the truths revealed by their grace. It also explores vast themes: the otherness and sameness of people and animals; the various ways we learn to love and become empathetic; how we find our passion; how we create our families; coping with loss and despair; gratitude; forgiveness; and most of all, how to be a good creature in the world.


Tara’s Wild Card Picks:

Art and Arcana: A Visual History, by Wizards of the Coast
Art, gaming, perfect for: artists of all kinds, your friend who just got really into D&D thanks to The Adventure Zone and/or Critical Role, anyone who loves the history of art and games

From one of the most iconic game brands in the world, this official DUNGEONS & DRAGONS illustrated history provides an unprecedented look at the visual evolution of the brand, showing its continued influence on the worlds of pop culture and fantasy. Inside the book, you’ll find more than seven hundred pieces of artwork—from each edition of the core role-playing books, supplements, and adventures; as well as Forgotten Realms and Dragonlance novels; decades of Dragon and Dungeon magazines; and classic advertisements and merchandise; plus never-before-seen sketches, large-format canvases, rare photographs, one-of-a-kind drafts, and more from the now-famous designers and artists associated with DUNGEONS & DRAGONS. This is the most comprehensive collection of D&D imagery ever assembled, making this the ultimate collectible for the game’s millions of fans around the world.

The Outlaw Poetry Bible, by Alan Kaufman
Poetry, perfect for: poets of all kinds, anyone who appreciates the poetic aesthetic, readers of literary histories and social concepts

A primer for generational revolt and poetic expression, and an enduring document of the visionary tradition of authenticity and nonconformity in literature. From the Beat poetry of the ’50s to the spoken word of the 1990s, The Outlaw Bible of American Poetry brings readers the words, visions, and extravagant lives of bohemians, beatniks, hippies, punks, and slackers. This exuberant manifesto includes lives of the poets, on-the-scene testimony, seminal underground articles never before collected, photographs of clubs and cafes, interviews, and, above all, the poems.


Teresa’s Picks:

Made Out of Stars, by Meera Lee Patel
Journals, self-help, perfect for: anyone who wants to pick up guided meditation in the new year, people who need to take some time for self-care (who doesn’t in this day and age?), writers and non-writers who love gorgeous art to go with the words they write down

Meera Lee Patel’s first guided journal, Start Where You Are, has inspired hundreds of thousands of readers through a rare combination of stunning watercolor art and thoughtful, empowering prompts and quotations. Her next journal will pick up the journey, encouraging readers to recognize and embrace what makes them truly special. A booster shot of self-care when you need it most, this beautiful, intimate book will be a touchstone for anyone looking to better understand themselves so they can clear out the “noise” and be who they are.

Wild Land, by Peter and Beverly Pickford
Photography, nature, perfect for: lovers of the earth, photographers and artists of all kinds, anyone on your list with a serious case of wanderlust

Spanning seven continents, Wild Land showcases a unique journey to document and protect the last untouched expanses of wilderness. In more than two hundred awe-inspiring images, renowned wildlife photographers Peter and Beverly Pickford portray the epic visual story of some of the most remote and pristine places on the planet, from Africa’s savannahs to Tibet’s highest peaks, Alaska’s expansive system of rivers and lakes, to the Antarctic Ocean. This book about wild land and wildlife is also the fascinating tale of the Pickford’s own adventures once they chose to devote their lives to the search for untouched wilderness areas. And most of all, this unique book also expresses the timely and urgent message to protect wilderness areas for future generations and for the future of our planet.

Seeing Stars, by Sara Gillingham
Kids non-fiction, science, perfect for: aspiring astronomers, lovers of Rick Riordan and Greek mythology, hard-to-shop-for seven-to-ten-year-olds and older kids who love a beautiful book

This artful and accessible introduction to constellations equips readers with the information they need to locate, name, and explain all 88 internationally recognized constellations. Each cluster of stars is featured alongside the “story” (mythological or historical) behind its naming, tips on how to find it, what times of year it is visible, and key stars and asterisms within its grouping. Complete with star maps and a glossary, this keepsake volume of visual reference and beauty is perfect for inquisitive young stargazers. Colors are brighter than they appear – printed in pure Pantones. Book jacket features foil stamping and laser-cut pinholes.

Teresa’s Wild Card Picks: The Beastie Boys Book, by Michael Diamond and Adam Horovitz and Becoming, by Michelle Obama


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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