Beloved local author Neil Gaiman put it best: “Books make great gifts because they have whole worlds inside of them. And it’s much cheaper to buy somebody a book than it is to buy them the whole world!” Here’s a round-up of must-have gift books from local authors, all available at those worthy bastions of freedom of expression, democracy, and ingenious entrepreneurship—your local independent bookstore. We encourage our readers, as always, to shop local this year, starting with their gift books.
Flatiron Books, $19.99, 2018
New Yorker cartoonist and Rhinebeck resident Donnelly has created a book of canine wit and wisdom just in time for the holidays. Self-help as seen through the eyes of man’s best friend, Donnelly’s charming and clever drawings invite us to be better people by emulating the empathetic natures of dogs. Plus, this volume reminds us that you’re just about the best person there is—to your dog.
Taschen, 2018, $70
Before becoming the acclaimed filmmaker of Dr. Strangelove and The Shining, Kubrick spent five years as a photographer for Look magazine. The Bronx native joined the staff in 1945, when he was only 17 years old, and shot humanist slice-of-life features that celebrate and expose New York City and its inhabitants. A fascinating look at an incubating artist, with an introduction by Kingston’s own Luc Sante.
Rizzoli, 2018, $85
Robert Livingston came to the American Colonies in 1673 from Scotland and started amassing land and wealth. His descendants built some of the most magisterial estates in the region. Architectural Digest photographer Estersohn profiled and photographed 35 historic homes built between 1730 to 1946, including such treasures as Clermont, Montgomery Place, and Wilderstein. Most are so meticulously maintained that it’s a shock to turn a page and spot an electric guitar under an ancestral portrait.
Globe Pequot, 2018, $28.95
Chronogram contributor Kott teams up with music obsessive Mike Katz for this chock-a-block resource for finding the former homes and haunts of rock legends. The recollection of group sex by rock journalism legend Legs McNeil in the foreword is worth the price of admission by itself: «I thought I wasn›t being kinky enough, so I dumped maple syrup over the two girls during the sex and ended up glued to the sheets in the morning.” Browseable by neighborhood, with call-outs for iconic hometown acts like the Ramones, Madonna, and the Beastie Boys, it’s a perfect gift for the stalker-y music fan in your life.
Little, Brown and Company, $18.99, 2018
Rhinebeck-based educator and photographer Ewald collaborated with 18 immigrant teenagers to create an alphabet defining their experiences in images and words. At a time of great division in this country, Ewald and her young co-authors tell poignant personal stories of change, hardship, and hope from across the globe that humanize the often faceless way we talk about immigration.
Bluemountainbistro.com, $29.95, 2018
This cheerful, user-friendly cookbook tells the story of the beloved restaurant cum gourmet take-out joint and provides home-kitchen versions of Chef Richard’s signature Mediterranean-plus dishes. You’ll find all the secrets here: what makes the spice-roasted sweet potatoes so fragrant, how the skin on that poulet roti grand-mere gets so crisp, what’s in chimichurri and muhammara, how to whip up the best dark chocolate mousse.
Ulster County: Discovering Home
Noroadunturned.com, 2018, $40
Many elegant coffee table books celebrate the Hudson Valley’s scenic splendor, but where Fischer shines is portraying the idiosyncratic beauty of the region’s residents. If you live here, you probably know someone who appears in these pages: Chef John Novi; Rosendale Picklefest founder Bill Brooks; Diane Reeder of the Kingston Candy Bar; Wired Gallery’s Sevan Melikyan; or one of many local farmers, shopkeepers, DJs, teachers, kids, nuns, volunteers, or Little Brays of Sunshine donkeys.
Rizzoli, 2018, $55
From the author of Never Stop To Think…Do I Have Space for This comes another apologia to collecting. Carter, a Dutchess County resident, loves junk, loves searching for it, loves telling stories about it. Carter traveled this great nation to bring back epic tales of people who find worth in the seemingly worthless.
Chronicle Books, $35, 2018
The Kingston-based chef, author, and activist has published her third cookbook, a compendium of 125 easily doable recipes and 20 creative menu ideas to help cooks of all skill levels gather friends and family around the table. Now & Again also serves as a how-to for throwing flawless parties and tips on being thrifty when shopping and using leftovers in new ways. Turshen reads and signs at bluecashew Kitchen Homestead in Kingston on December 9.