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Holiday Gift Guide 2013: Books 

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Track Life: Images and Words
Juliet R. Harrison
Paper Trail Press, 2013, $49.99

Red Hook's Juliet Harrison has been devotedly capturing horses on film for decades, and it shows. These exquisite equine photographs elevate racing horses to demigod status. Rarely is a book such a sensual experience, with hints of mud, hay, and sweat rising from the pages. Evocative writings by noteworthy equestrians and simpatico authors make Track Life a winner by several lengths. Appearing 12/14 at 3pm, Golden Notebook, Woodstock.  RBW

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Love Where You Live: At Home in the Country
Joan Osofsky & Abby Adams, foreword by Mary Randolph Carter
Photography by John Gruen
Rizzoli, 2013, $50

The look is gracious, relaxed, embracing the rustic imperfect—the weathered patina of barnboard, muddy boots by the hearth. Shoppers at Osofsky's Hammertown stores and Garden Conservancy visitors to Adams's Ancram home know their great taste, captured in Gruen's lush photos. These portraits of 18 "well-loved houses" capture the quirky details and inspired combinations that make them so inviting. Appearing 12/14 at 4pm, Oblong Rhinebeck.NS



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Catskills Resorts: Lost Architecture of Paradise
Ross Padluck
Shiffer, 2013, $50

The Catskills had two resort booms: Victorian "mountain houses" and the swanky Borscht Belt hotels of the '50s and '60s. Mixing period postcards, stunning duotone photos, and architectural drawings, Padluck evokes vanished eras. "Mad Men" fans and midcentury modern collectors will drool over the Concord's sinuous hanging staircase, the Fallsview's red-on-red Harlequin Lounge, and the Nevele's luxe Stardust Room. —NS

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Private Gardens of the Hudson Valley
Jane Garmey, photographs by John M. Hall
Monacelli Press, 2013, $65

Garmey notes that while English gardeners "have" gardens, Americans "make" gardens. That active verb reverberates as she details the creation of 26 private worlds, including Richard Jenrette's reinvention of Gore Vidal's Edgewater estate and food writer Amy Goldman's vegetable empire. Hall's large-format photos are sumptuous; one features an antlered buck posing pondside like landed gentry. —NS




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Little Santa
Jon Agee
Dial Books, 2013, $17.99

Nyack native Jon Agee adds to his impressive list of acclaimed children's books with this delightful tale of a relentlessly cheerful boy in a family of North Pole sad sacks. The boy is Little Santa, full of pluck and courage, and sporting red footie pajamas. Tinkering with the Santa narrative is bold, indeed, but Agee's playful alternate version of the icon's early years more than holds its own. —RBW





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Come Back, Moon
David Kherdian, illustrated by Nonny Hogrogian
Beach Lane Books, 2013, $16.99

With a Newbery (his) and a Caldecott medal (hers), this Kingston couple knows how to spin a yarn. Here, they present an Armenian folk tale in which Bear steals the moon and Wily Fox assembles creatures to help rescue it while Bear sleeps. Kherdian and Hogrogian beautifully illustrate how teamwork can right a boorish being's wrong, and how a timely story can become timeless. —RBW

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Réveil and the Old One at the Edge of the World
Gail Straub, illustrated by Carol Zaloom
High Point Press, 2013, $32.95

Women's empowerment is the focal point of this "adult fairy tale" by Omega instructor and Empowerment Institute co-director Straub. Illustrated with stunning linocuts by Saugerties artist Carol Zaloom, it's an allegorical odyssey for seekers. Crushed by her modern life, Réveil embarks on a journey that, ultimately, restores her connection to the natural world—and, so, her soul. Appearing 12/6 at 7pm, Inquiring Minds, New Paltz; 12/7 at 6pm, Oriole9, sponsored by Golden Notebook, Woodstock. —JM

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Goodbye to All That: Writers on Loving and Leaving New York
Edited by Sari Botton
Seal Press, 2013, $16

Yes, there is life after Zabar's. Botton's breakout anthology gathers contributions from an articulate flash mob of recovering ex-New Yorkers, including Cheryl Strayed, Dani Shapiro, and upstaters Valerie Eagle, Maggie Estep, Dana Kinstler, Janet Steen, Eva Tenuto, and Rebecca Wolff. By turns wistful and caustic, nostalgic and heartbreaking, it's the perfect book to read on a northbound train from Grand Central Station. NS








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Knitting Yarns: Writers on Knitting
Edited by Ann Hood
W. W. Norton & Co, 2013, $24.95

Writers are often accused of woolgathering, and the soothing rhythm of knitting needles can ease burdened minds. Bestselling author Hood, who learned to knit in the wake of an unthinkable loss, gathers an A-list posse of writers (including Woodstock Writers Festival doyenne Martha Frankel, festival guest Andre Dubus III, Sue Grafton, Barbara Kingsolver, Anita Shreve, and Jane Smiley) to share knitting stories. Cast on! Appearing 12/7 at 4pm, Golden Notebook, Woodstock. NS






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The Second Chance Dog: A Love Story
Jon Katz
Ballantine Books, 2013, $25

WAMC perennial Jon Katz's latest is a candid, uplifting tale of canine and human redemption. Katz, spiraling downhill, had the good fortune to meet artist Maria Wulf (now his wife). But Wulf's dog Frieda, an untrained, rescued Rotteweiler-shepherd cross, saw her job as protecting Wulf—from Katz. Patiently working to gain Frieda's trust, Katz won two hearts instead of one, healing himself as well. —JM







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If You Like the Ramones...
Peter Aaron
Backbeat Books, 2013, $16.99

The Ramones kickstarted a punk upheaval that changed rock forever. Writer/rocker and Chronogram music editor Peter Aaron smartly traces their simple, infectious Hey Ho back to some surprising influences (Bo Diddley!). He re-creates the NYC punk scene with you-are-there immediacy, and tracks the band's biker-jacketed legacy into the present (Avril Lavigne!). Packed with trivia, it's also a great read. Appearing 12/7 at 7pm with Maggie Estep, Inquiring Minds, Saugerties; 12/9 at 7pm, Poughkeepsie Barnes & Noble; 12/22 at 2pm, Albany Barnes & Noble. JM






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Hineni
Jonathan Kligler
Blue Thread Communications, 2013, $19

Rabbi Jonathan Kligler has been a Woodstock treasure for a quarter century, building community within and beyond the Woodstock Jewish Congregation. With Hineni—Hebrew for "I am here"—you can enjoy his collected sermons; incisive, revelatory, and often funny exegeses in which he brings ancient texts into the light of modern day, showing their relevance and transformative power for good. —RBW








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Wartimes Remembered: World War II and Korea
by Residents of Woodland Pond, New Paltz
Residents Association of Woodland Pond, 2013, $9.95

This stirring collection of personal histories—some written, some gathered in interviews—is a great gift for Greatest Generation relatives and anyone seeking inspiration to write down invaluable memories. "Like their authors, these stories are fragile," write editors Anne and Ray Smith; the book's managing editor, veteran journalist Donald H. "Pete" Johnson, died in 2013—but not before teaching his fellow retirees to "get the lead right." They did. —NS







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Pasta: Classic and Contemporary Pasta, Risotto, Crespelle, and Polenta Recipes
Gianni Scapin and Alberto Vanoli, photographs by Francesco Tonelli
John Wiley & Sons / Culinary Institute of America 2013, $29.99

This cookbook is all business. There's no introduction, no photographs of the chefs zooming around on Vespas, no charming stories about learning to cook at Grandma Massimina's elbow. Just 150 recipes from Gianni Scapin (chef/owner of Cucina and Market Street restaurants) and Alberto Vanoli, CIA professors intent on keeping it clear and simple. You know someone who wants to learn how to make and cook pasta like a CIA grad? Here's their crash course at a fraction of the price.       —BKM

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Chelsea Market Cookbook: 100 Recipes from New York's Premier Indoor Food Hall
Michael Phillips with Rick Rodgers, photographs by Jennifer May
Stewart, Tabori & Chang, 2013, $29.95

As irresistible as the food and drink Mecca it celebrates, this is far more than a cookbook. It takes you inside the vibrant, eclectic world of the ultimate food court: top chefs, artisanal goods, and 100 scrumptious recipes (Buddakan's Hoisin Glazed Pork Belly, Ruthy's Rugelach). But also: interviews, entertaining tips, colorful anecdotes, and Woodstock photographer May's incredible, mouthwatering images. —JM

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