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Gift Guide: Books for everyone on your gift list

November 6, 2020, 2:00 PM UTC
Updated November 16, 2020, 4:04 PM UTC

Not everyone has time to shop around (not to mention most people have no desire to shop in stores at all right now) and look for the newest items on the market that could appeal to the loved ones and colleagues on their gift-giving lists. (Or for themselves, because let’s be honest, we look at holiday gift guides and deals for ourselves just as much as for others.)

Here’s a list of new releases this year that could delight readers of all ages on your gift list this season.

Courtesy of Hardie Grant Books, Voracious and Chronicle Books

Accidentally Wes Anderson by Wally Koval

From the creator of the popular @AccidentallyWesAnderson Instagram account (with 1 million followers and counting), Accidentally Wes Anderson (Voracious/Little, Brown) brings that particular whimsical aesthetic so synonymous with Wes Anderson films to your coffee table. The book is filled with images submitted from followers all over the world from more than 200 locations, encouraging the reader to indulge in a bit of virtual wanderlust and add some new places to the travel bucket list when borders reopen.

A Very Special 90210 Book: 100 Absolutely Essential Episodes from TV’s Most Notorious Zip Code by Tara Ariano and Sarah Bunting

It’s hard not to automatically hear in your head the guitar riff from the opening credits of Beverly Hills, 90210 when thinking about this show. It’s also hard to believe (or accept) that 2020 marks the 30th anniversary of the debut of the most influential teen soap of all time (I will hear no arguments). But if you’re looking for yet another show to rewatch and binge during the pandemic, 293 episodes of 90210 could pass some considerable time. If you don’t want to sit through 10 seasons (you could definitely skip a few of the later ones), entertainment writers and podcast hosts Tara Ariano and Sarah D. Bunting recap the 100 most crucial episodes in A Very Special 90210 Book (Abrams), covering all the must-see drama from West Beverly High School to California University to the Peach Pit After Dark.

Behind the Bar: 50 Cocktail Recipes From the World’s Most Iconic Hotels by Alia Akkam

Curated by a longtime New Yorker now living in Budapest, Behind the Bar: 50 Cocktail Recipes From the World’s Most Iconic Hotels (Hardie Grant) is an ode to luxurious, transporting hotel bars around the world—grandes dames and contemporary classics alike. Travel and luxury writer Alia Akkam introduces readers to the histories and distinctive personalities of 50 bars with 50 signature cocktails, complete with recipes so that you can make one at home. It is also interspersed with anecdotes from hospitality tastemakers and illuminates standout menus and design.

Chinatown Pretty: Fashion and Wisdom from Chinatown’s Most Stylish Seniors by Andria Lo and Valerie Luu

What is Chinatown Pretty? As examined in this gorgeous photo book from photographer Andria Lo and writer Valerie Luu, it’s a signature style worn by pòh pohs (grandmothers) and gùng gungs (grandfathers) in Chinatowns everywhere. A mix of modern and vintage, high and low, handmade and store bought, it’s all brought together into one unexpected and effortless look. Lo and Luu say they became fascinated with the style, and for the past five years, they have been photographing and interviewing trendsetting seniors in six Chinatowns across North America—New York City, San Francisco, Oakland, Los Angeles, Chicago, and Vancouver—asking each subject (more than 100 over the course of the book) to participate in a street-style photoshoot and to tell their personal story—sometimes funny, sometimes bittersweet, and always unexpected—behind their eye-catching outfits.

Dolly Parton, Songteller My Life in Lyrics by Dolly Parton and Robert K. Oermann

Both a visual memoir and annotated songbook, Dolly Parton, Songteller (Chronicle Books) is a candid, intimate look at Dolly’s enduring career as a songwriter, musician, and country legend—a career further contextualized by the unofficial historian of Nashville’s musical heritage, Robert K. Oermann. This deluxe volume will explore her remarkable life and career through 175 of her best-loved songs.

Icons: 50 Heroines Who Shaped Contemporary Culture by Monica Ahanonu and Micaela Heekin

From singers to writers, activists to artists, politicians to filmmakers, Icons: 50 Heroines Who Shaped Contemporary Culture (Abrams) is a visual celebration of modern women. Illustrated by Monica Ahanonu, each portrait is accompanied by a short biography about what makes each woman a force to be reckoned with. Among the women featured in the book include Michelle Obama, Beyoncé, Aretha Franklin, Ruth Bader Ginsburg, Yayoi Kusama, and Diana Ross, whose portrait is on the book’s cover.

Love Is All Around: And Other Lessons We’ve Learned from the Mary Tyler Moore Show by Paula Bernstein

In Love Is All Around: And Other Lessons We’ve Learned From The Mary Tyler Moore Show (Running Press), entertainment journalist and Fortune contributor Paula Bernstein revisits the groundbreaking TV show on the 50th anniversary of its 1970 debut. Bernstein delves into what made the show’s star Mary Richards (Mary Tyler Moore) an inspiration for future generations of women, including Oprah Winfrey, Tina Fey, and Lena Dunham. Featuring trivia, quizzes, and countless fun facts, this homage to The Mary Tyler Moore Show includes “life lessons” gleaned from the show, including inspirational tips on how to “make it after all.”

Nevertheless, She Wore It by Ann Shen

Expressing yourself as a woman is a political act. Women’s clothing and bodies have too often been subject to scrutiny by a patriarchal structure, and fashion is often dismissed as frivolity. But fashion and what a woman wears can be used to convey silent messages and symbolism, sometimes far more effectively and powerfully than words. From the bikini to the pantsuit, illustrator Ann Shen shares her striking study of 50 of the most iconic styles and the women who changed the world while wearing them in Nevertheless, She Wore It (Chronicle Books). These radical looks—from the flapper dress to the Afro, Madonna’s cone bra to Ruth Bader Ginsburg’s dissent collar—defied their time and demonstrated the power of fashion as a political and cultural tool for making change.

Open Book by Jessica Simpson

Jessica Simpson’s memoir was published in February, which might seem like a lifetime ago. But the tea stayed hot for months and provided a lot of entertainment, comfort, and perhaps unexpected wisdom. (The audiobook version, narrated by Simpson, is even more effective and enjoyable to listen to on long walks.) Beyond some never-before-revealed gossip involving past celebrity boyfriends and her competition on the audition circuits, Simpson’s reflections prove she deserves a lot more credit than any of us have given her. Sure, this was written with a ghostwriter, but Simpson’s journey to becoming a pop singer and a multimillionaire (mostly thanks to her very successful eponymous apparel line) involved overcoming a great deal of adversity, anxiety, and pressure from the adults around her growing up—not least of which included a gross amount of oversexualization even when she was just a preteen. Nevertheless, Jessica Simpson persisted.

Tales of East Africa: Folktales From Kenya, Uganda, and Tanzania by Jamilla Okubo

This collection of 22 traditional tales from Kenya, Uganda, and Tanzania transports readers to an enthralling world. Translated and transcribed by folklorists and anthropologists in the early 20th century, these stories evoke the distinctive beauty and humor of East African folklore. Readers will encounter mischievous hares, plucky heroes and heroines, and fearsome monsters. Each tale is paired with a bold and vibrant illustration by artist Jamilla Okubo. And a special gift edition includes an embossed, textured case and a ribbon marker.

The Incredible Women of the All-American Girls Professional Baseball League by Anika Orrock

For fans of the magnificent 1992 film A League of Their Own (which is soon getting a new adaptation on Amazon Prime), The Incredible Women of the All-American Girls Professional Baseball League (Chronicle Books) details the history of the league and tells the stories of the first women to play professional baseball in a league of their own. Illustrator and author Anika Orrock collects a variety of charming and powerful (and sometimes cringe-inducing, given the gender barrier these women were forced to overcome) vignettes told by the players themselves about their time participating in America’s pastime, along with hard-to-find player statistics, historical beats, and headlines, fully illustrated in Orrock’s vibrant style.