Holiday books guide
Books: A Holiday Gift Guide
Fiction | Mysteries / thrillers | Science fiction / Fantasy | Poetry
Current events | Science | History | Biography / Memoir | Pop culture | Sports
Kids | Tweens | Young adult
Graphic novels | Coffee table books | Audio
- A daisy chain of writers' recommendations
- E-books and apps to 'unwrap'
- David L. Ulin's recommendations
- Hector Tobar's recommendations
- Carolyn Kellogg's recommendations
Between Heaven and Here
The death of a prostitute stirs memories in the tightknit multiracial community of Rio Seco, Calif.
Bring up the Bodies
Henry VIII and Thomas Cromwell's vicious maneuverings continue in this Man Booker Prize-winning sequel to "Wolf Hall."
New and Selected Stories
This anthology collects 20 years of dark, funny stories by a keen observer of Native American life.
The Care and Feeding of Exotic Animals
Ig Books, $15.95 paper
A woman's humdrum L.A. existence is interrupted by a reptile-loving kidnapper.
The Devil in Silver
Spiegel & Grau, $27
A man wrongly locked in a psych ward rallies other patients to fight a hungry, nocturnal devil that roams the hallways.
J. Robert Lennon
A middle-aged woman inexplicably slips from her life into one that is similar but not the same — or perhaps it's all in her head?
In this final volume of Millet's trilogy, a woman unexpectedly inherits a sprawling mansion, its taxidermy collection and a host of big questions.
Grand Central, $24.99
This multigenerational dramedy about a dysfunctional Chicago Jewish family features an obese mother and her eccentric adult children.
Mr Penumbra's 24-Hour Bookstore
Farrar Straus & Giroux, $25
A young clerk tracks a mystery hidden inside a San Francisco bookstore's dusty volumes in this debut novel.
The News from Spain
Seven Variations on a Love Story
Time, mortality and possibility link these love stories set in a variety of continents and centuries, from 18th-century Vienna to 1940's New York.
Penguin Press, $26.95
Four childhood friends from a poor neighborhood in London grow uneasily toward adulthood in this complex, tragicomic novel.
Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, $24
From a hospital bed, a self-described "slow absorber" hopes to impart his cockeyed wisdom to his unborn son.
Partners in a doomed Oakland record store try to be better husbands, fathers and sons while celebrating the 1970s blaxploitation culture they love.
A Turkish family gathers on the eve of the 1980 military coup in this early novel by Nobel winner Pamuk, published in English for the first time.
This Is How You Lose Her
A long-awaited collection of stories from Diaz centers on a young Dominican man's search for love.
The Yellow Birds
Little, Brown, $24.99
In this debut novel, two young soldiers try to survive the horrors of war in Iraq.
A Prequel to Savages
The latest collection from this Canadian master of short fiction focuses on a defining episode in each character's life.
The Revised Fundamentals of Caregiving
After reaching a low point in his life, a novice caregiver goes on the road with his charge, an angry teenager with muscular dystrophy.
Bloomsbury, $14 paper
Levy turns the South of France novel inside out with this slim, adult tale of a poet whose family vacation — and life — is disrupted by a strange female fan.
A struggling artist becomes entangled in the world of forgery and a decades-old unsolved theft of 13 paintings.
The Black Box
Little Brown, $27.99
Now on the cold-case unit, Det. Harry Bosch searches for a piece of missing evidence to solve a crime that occurred during the L.A. riots.
A plantation-turned-tourist attraction is the setting for this mystery, where a contemporary murder leads to long-buried secrets.
A marriage goes terribly wrong on its fifth anniversary when the wife disappears and husband becomes a suspect in this propulsive thriller.
Live By Night
A cocky Irish-American son of a cop opts for the gangster life during Prohibition, moving up through the mob's ranks (and falling in love) in this noir epic.
The master of the Scandivian thriller brings back Inspector Harry Hole, a hard-drinking Oslo detective who must prove the boy he helped raise is not guilty of murder.
The St. Zita Society
Secrets lurk upstairs and downstairs on an upscale London street, where servants' attempts to band together produces deadly consequences.
Twenty Year Death
Hard Case, $25.99
Three interlocking crime novels, each set in a different decade and in the style of a different author (Georges Simenon, Jim Thompson, Raymond Chandler), tell a single, chilling story.
Agent of Hel
The author of the "Kushiel" books launches a new fantasy series focusing on a half-human half-demon heroine who serves as liaison between the paranormal world and the police in a small midwestern town.
The Dog Stars
In the wake of a flu pandemic, a pilot and his dog go in search of a voice he heard on the radio in this evocative post-apocalyptic debut.
The Lotus War Book One
Thomas Dunne, $24.99
This vivid dystopian steampunk epic is set in feudal Japan, where hunters of the imperial court are ordered by their Shōgun to capture a mythological thunder tiger.
The Unreal and the Real
Selected Stories Volume One: Where on Earth
Selected Stories Volume Two: Outer Space, Inner Lands
Ursula K. Le Guin
Small Beer Press $24/volume
The National Book Award winning author selected the tales in this two-volume collection, which showcases five decades of her realistic fiction and magic realism.
A Compendium of Strange and Dark Stories
Ann and Jeff VanderMeer
An omnibus with 110 of the most peculiar stories from the past century includes writers William Gibson, George R.R. Martin, Haruki Murakami, China Mieville and Neil Gaiman.
The Hydrogen Sonata
Iain M. Banks
In the eight-book in Bank's Culture series, the Gzilt civilization is imperiled.
The Rise of Ransom City
Two factions struggle for power in a reimagined steampunk-wild west in the sequel to "The Half-Made World."
This Book Is Full of Spiders
Seriously, Dude, Don't Touch It
St. Martins, $25.99
In this fun sequel to the online-turned-book horror cult classic "John Dies at the End," a pair of slackers battle spider-like creatures that may or may not be turning people into zombies.
The Folly of the World
A 1421 flood devastates Holland and spawns gruesome, unusual alliances, including one between a madman, a con man and a swimming girl.
A werewolf and a mage trek to enemy territory to rescue five women in this new fantasy novel by the author of the "Blood" series.
A Beautiful Marsupial Afternoon
Wave Books, $18
An electric, edgy combination of poems and writing exercises that push the creative envelope.
New Poems and Translations
University of Chicago Press, $18
Octogenarian Ferry won the 2012 National Book Award with this intimate, subtle collection.
Selected and New 1971-2012
Influential feminist poet Adrienne Rich died in March ; this collection includes her last unpublished poems.
Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, $23
The new U.S. Poet Laureate mixes personal and political histories of race and inheritance.
Useless Landscape, or A Guide For Boys
Don't be confused by the title: Powell, the winner of Claremont's prestigious Kingsley Tufts Award, writes rollicking poetry for adults.
David St. John
A provocative triptych set in California that showcases the range and skill of St. John, a National Book Award Finalist.
Pity the Beautiful
Emotionally resonant poems with a dose of humor make up Gioia's first collection since stepping down as chairman of the National Endowment for the Arts.
Generational and geographical visions of change and the unknown from a Pulitzer Prizewinner.
Separation, sex, sorrow and freedom intertwine in this collection by the always-candid Olds.
Anne Carson, illustrated by Bianca Stone
New Directions, $24.95
Carson's translation/ retelling of Sophokles' tragedy includes hand-lettered text and illustrations on vellum.
The Obama White House and the Supreme Court
The New Yorker staff writer explores the relationship between the Obama administration and the current Supreme Court as well as recent cases and their momentous implications for the near future.
Our Kind of People
A Continent's Challenge, A Country's Hope
This stunning inquiry into the HIV/AIDS crisis in sub-Saharan Africa makes the epidemic personal through a series of character portraits, primarily from the author's native Nigeria, where 3 million people live with the disease.
An Untold Story of American Valor
Little, Brown, $29.99
A gripping, detailed history of the doomed Combat Outpost Keating in Afghanistan, site of a deadly Taliban attack, written by ABC's senior White House correspondent.
The Rise of the New Global Super-Rich and the Fall of Everyone Else
Penguin Press, $27.95
Forget the 1%: this new book offers a glimpse at the lives of an even more elite group while also painting a sobering picture of the widening gap between the working class and filthy rich.
The Signal and the Noise
Why Most Predictions Fail — But Some Don't
Penguin Press, $27.95
A cult figure thanks to his presidential election forecasts, Silver explains how we can all interpret data to make better predictions.
A Wilderness of Error
The Trials of Jeffrey MacDonald
Penguin Press, $29.95
The award-winning documentary filmmaker digs into the notorious case of a man convicted for brutally murdering his wife and young daughters in this mesmerizing book, turning the facts inside out in his quest to prove Dr. Jeffrey MacDonald's innocence.
Far From the Tree
Parents, Children, and the Search for Identity
This National Book Award-winning author interviewed more than 300 families for an ambitious exploration of how parents deal with raising children who are different in some way, whether disabled, schizophrenic or transgender.
American Military Command from World War II to Today
Thomas E. Ricks
Penguin Press, $32.95
This intensive study analyzes the performance of Army leaders from Pearl Harbor to Iraq and Afghanistan - and finds many recent generals lacking.
This Machine Kills Secrets
How WikiLeakers, Cypherpunks, and Hacktivists Aim to Free the World's Information
WikiLeaks cofounder Julian Assange is one of several stars in this lively reported history of politically motivated computer hackers who have chosen to reveal classified materials and leak state secrets.
Seven Variations on a Love Story
Liveright, $75 boxed
A monumental two-volume history of Western political thought that suggests how great thinkers such as Plato, Hobbes and Marx reflected their times and what they offer us now.
In this revelatory "anthology of hallucinations," Sacks uses medical case studies and his own youthful experimentation with drugs to explore illusory sensations and what they tell us about being human.
The Particle at the End of the Universe
How the Hunt for the Higgs Boson Leads Us to the Edge of a New World
A scientific detective story, this saga of the search for the Higgs boson particle (known as the "God particle") traces the international cooperation that enabled this amazing discovery, driven by a fundamental need to understand: What is the nature of the universe?
A Journey to the Center of the Internet
An in-depth look inside the Internet's physical infrastructure, chronicling how it developed and peeking at the real objects and places, such as fiber-optic cables and massive data centers, that keep the Internet whirring.
Why Does the World Exist?
An Existential Detective Story
Hoping to understand the origins of the universe, Holt interviews an engaging bunch of philosophers, theologians, scientists and writers, grounding it all in his own experiences and sense of wonder.
People and Nature in the Modern World
Stephen R. Kellert
Yale University Press., $32.50
Personal anecdotes combine with scientific study as well as literary and spiritual examples in this exploration of humanity's reliance on and connection to the natural world.
What's a Dog For?
The Surprising History, Science, Philosophy, and Politics of Man's Best Friend
Penguin Press, $25.95
Using his own dog as a starting point, Homans delves into the evolution of the human-canine relationship, from wild animals to coddled family members.
The Black Count
Glory, Revolution, Betrayal, and the Real Count of Monte Cristo
This biography uncovers the amazing life story of Gen. Alex Dumas, father of the famous novelist; born to an African slave, Dumas' swashbuckling life took him from servitude to glory in the French Revolution to a doomed encounter with Napoleon.
The Crushing of Eastern Europe, 1944-1956
A revelatory chronicle of how Communism took over and transformed Eastern Europe in the years after World War II by this Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist, using newly opened archives and personal accounts of the regime's effect on daily life.
The Story of America
Essays on Origins
Princeton University Press $27.95
These engrossing essays, many published in the New Yorker, offer alternative angles from which to study American history, tackling topics that include George Washington, voting rights, Paul Revere and inaugural speeches.
The Last Lion
Winston Spencer Churchill: Defender of the Realm, 1940-1965
William Manchester and Paul Reid
Little, Brown and Co., $40
The long-awaited final volume of this trilogy takes on the last 25 years of Winston Churchill's life, from 1940-65.
Lincoln, Little Crow, and the Beginning of the Frontier's End
Scott W. Berg
Drawing on memoirs and contemporary reports, this remarkable history chronicles the 1862 skirmish between young Dakota Indian warriors and white settlers that left five whites dead, an act that would reverberate, leading to mass execution and war.
One World War II Soldier's 500-Day Odyssey from the Beaches of Sicily to the Gates of Dachau
The battlefield odyssey of Felix Sparks and his infantry unit as they fought over 500 days to liberate Europe in World War II.
Round About the Earth
Circum- navigation from Magellan to Orbit
Joyce E. Chaplin
Simon & Schuster, $35
This compelling history tracks the many brave souls who attempted to travel around the Earth, from early explorers like Magellan and Cook through the technologically dizzying present day.
The Distance Between Us
Grande's memoir of her childhood as an undocumented immigrant from Mexico in Los Angeles is a groundbreaking addition to the literature of the Latino-American experience.
In the House of the Interpreter
Ngugi wa Thiong'o
The second volume of the Kenyan novelist, poet and playwright's memoirs depicts his emergence as a writer and conveys an intimate view of the epic cultural and political shifts that created modern Africa.
Life After Death
Blue Rider Press, $26.95
As one of the West Memphis Three, wrongly convicted of murdering three 8-year-olds as a teenager, Echols spent half his life on death row before being released last year; now he recounts his harrowing side of the story.
The Richard Burton Diaries
Edited by Chris Williams
Yale University Press, $35
Written between 1939 and 1983, these diaries offer a delightfully unvarnished glimpse at the actor's life, from his reading habits and jet-setting to his tumultuous relationship with Elizabeth Taylor.
All We Know
Farrar, Straus and Giroux, $30
A fascinating biographical study of three largely forgotten women — Madge Garland, Esther Murphy and Mercedes de Acosta — whose lives intersected in the close-knit lesbian networks of the early 20th century.
Brain on Fire
My Month of Madness
Free Press, $25
A 24-year-old reporter inexplicably descends into madness — and then chronicles her experience in a book that is part memoir and part neurological detective story.
The Pulitzer Prize-winning novelist's memoir recounts his upbringing in working-class upstate New York and his intense relationship with his indomitable mother.
Every Love Story Is a Ghost Story
A Life of David Foster Wallace
This thoroughly researched first biography of the late author charts his torments and triumphs, his struggle to write in the face of addiction and depression.
Random House, $30
The author's memoir harks back in great detail to the years of the fatwa when he was in hiding under British government protection, trapped in a clandestine life with a wife who didn't want to be there, moving from house to house while trying to maintain a social life and continue to write.
A Family Romance
Farrar, Straus & Giroux, $23
A literary critic looks back at his formative years, growing up in the 1980s and '90s with a scientist father who suffered from AIDS.
Short Nights of the Shadow Catcher
The Epic Life and Immortal Photographs of Edward Curtis
Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, $28
An enlightening biography of Edward Curtis, an influential photographer who captured Native American life.
The Voice Is All
The Lonely Victory of Jack Kerouac
A Beat insider explores Kerouac's journey to becoming a writer in this engrossing biography.
After the death of her mother and her marriage, a writer embarks on a 1,100-mile solo hike on the Pacific Crest Trail and lives to tell the tale.
The Big Screen
The Story of the Movies
Farrar, Straus and Giroux, $35
Film guru Thomson takes a passionate, idiosyncratic tour of the history of movies and the transformative role they play in modern life.
The Gershwins and Me
A Personal History in Twelve Songs
Simon & Schuster, $45
Popular singer Feinstein pays tribute the songwriters in this illustrated account, told through 12 of their classic songs.
How Music Works
The former Talking Heads frontman explores the creative aspects of making and listening to music in fascinating detail.
The Untold Story
This well-researched book traces the byzantine histories of the colorful personalities and behind-the-scenes melodrama of the publisher that created superhero comics.
Peter Ames Carlin
An intimate portrait of the Boss from his working-class childhood in New Jersey to worldwide stardom.
The John Lennon Letters
John Lennon, edited by Hunter Davies
Little, Brown, $29.99
An annotated collection of some 300 personal letters from the late musician, sometimes illustrated, offers a glimpse of the late Beatle.
The Lands of Ice & Fire
George R.R. Martin
A boxed collection of 12 maps from the fictional fantasy books and TV series "Game of Thrones."
Life Is a Gift
The Zen of Bennett
The crooner's enlightened lessons on how to succeed in music and life.
The Rolling Stones 50
The Rolling Stones with Mick Jagger, Keith Richards, Charlie Watts and Ronnie Wood
Filled with more than 1,000 illustrations, this tome looks back at the phenomenal, epoch-defining career of the Rolling Stones.
Waging Heavy PeaceNeil Young
A memoir from the rock musician reveals creative doubts and fears.
How Michael, Magic, Larry, Charles, and the Greatest Team of All Time Conquered the World and Changed the Game of Basketball Forever
The story of the famed 1992 U.S. Olympic Men's Basketball Team, recounted by a Sports Illustrated staff writer.
Obsession, Pain, and the Search for Something Like Transcendence in Competitive Yoga
St. Martin's, $25.99
A lively, startling first-person exploration of the competitive and sometimes controversial world of Bikram yoga.
The Last Headbangers
NFL Football in the Rowdy, Reckless '70s — The Era That Created Modern Sports
Pittsburgh Steelers Franco Harris' "Immaculate Reception" is just one highlight from the glory days of the NFL between 1972 and 1982.
The Secret Race:
Inside the Hidden World of the Tour de France: Doping, Cover-ups, and Winning at All Costs
Tyler Hamilton and Daniel Coyle
Olympic gold medalist and former professional cyclist Hamilton contributes to this detailed chronicle of Lance Armstrong and the doping culture inside the world of professional cycling.
A Father First
How My Life Became Bigger Than Basketball
How single fatherhood has transformed the NBA star.
The Good Son
The Life of Ray "Boom Boom" Mancini
Free Press, $27
The tragic downfall of the boxing great after the death of his opponent in the ring 30 years ago.
An Unorthodox Hall of Fame
Franklin Foer and Marc Tracy
This collection pays homage to Jewish athletes' accomplishments and foibles, from Sandy Koufax to Hank Greenberg to Mark Spitz.
Winning and Losing in Football's Forgotten Town
Crown Archetype, $25
The story of the impoverished town of Belle Glade, Fla., and its legendary high school football program.
Simon & Schuster, $28
The life of the late Penn State football coach, and the scandal that tarnished his legacy.
The Queen of Katwe
A Story of Life, Chess, and One Extraordinary Girl's Dream of Becoming a Grandmaster
The inspiring story of Phiona Mutesi, a teenage chess prodigy from the slums of Kampala, Uganda.
120 Years of Hockey Supremacy
Controversial playoff moments, personal stories and illustrated details of every championship team since 1893.
The Enigmatic Life of Walter Payton
A revealing look at the professional life and personal struggles of the Hall of Fame running back.
Bear Has a Story to Tell
Philip C. Stead, illustrations by Erin Stead
Roaring Brook Press, $16.99, ages 2-6
A bear tries to tell a tale to his animal friends who are busy preparing for winter.
Charley's First Night
Amy Hest, illustrations by Helen Oxenbury
Candlewick, $15.99, ages 3-6
The first night at home for a boy and his new puppy.
Goldilocks and the Three Dinosaurs
Balzer + Bray, $17.99, ages 3-7
A new take on the classic fairytale starring hungry dinosaurs.
This Is Not My Hat
Candlewick, $15.99, ages 4-8
A darkly comical story of a little fish who steals a bowler hat.
A Story From the Underground Railroad
Scholastic Press, $16.99, ages 3-7
A farmer's daughter discovers runaway slaves in her barn during the Civil War.
Jacqueline Woodson, illustrations by E.B. Lewis
Penguin/Paulsen, $16.99, ages 5-8
Watercolor paintings illustrate a lesson on how to treat others.
Hang Glider & Mud Mask
Jason Jägel and Brian McMullen
McSweeney's McMullens, $14.95, ages 4 and up
A fun fold-out book links two sides of the same story.
A Game of Basketball and Imagination
Egmont USA, $18.99, ages 5 and up
A celebration of the old-school shooting hoops challenge.
A Perfect Day
Greenwillow, $16.99, ages 4-8
The joy and excitement of a snow-filled day.
When I Was Small
Sara O'Leary, illustrations by Julie Morstad
Simply Read, $16.95, ages 4-8
"When I was small...I slept in a mitten" is one of a mother's exaggerations in this delicately illustrated Thumbelina-like fantasy.
Dan Kainen and Carol Kaufmann
Workman, $24.95, ages 4-8
Photicular technology makes animals leap from the page in this 3D-like safari ride through Kenya.
Liar & Spy
Random/Lamb, $15.99 ages 9-12
Two self-appointed 12-year-old spies track a mysterious upstairs neighbor.
The Mighty Miss Malone
Christopher Paul Curtis
Random/Lamb, $15.99, ages 9-12
A young girl and her family search for their father, who left to find work during the Depression.
Greenwillow, $16.99, ages 9 and up
A fantastical tale about a pair of impoverished kids living in fairy slums with a child snatcher on the prowl.
Lauren Oliver, illus. by Iacopo Bruno
Harper, $16.99, ages 8 and up
A girl ventures into a secret underground to save her brother from soul-sucking spiders.
Who Could That Be At This Hour?
All the Wrong Questions
Lemony Snicket, illus. by Seth
Little, Brown, $15.99, ages 8 and up
A young Lemony Snicket begins his apprenticeship in this book, the first in a new series.
The Race to Build — and Steal — the World's Most Dangerous Weapon
Roaring Brook/Flash Point, $19.99, ages 10 and up
A history of the plotting, spying and treachery behind the building of the atomic bomb.
Diary of a Wimpy Kid
The Third Wheel
Abrams/Amulet, $13.95, ages 8 and up
A Valentine's Day dance turns Greg's world upside down in the latest volume of the popular series.
Drawing from the City
Tara Books, $35.95, ages 8-14
Intricate, hand-screen-printed drawings illustrate this self-taught artist's journey from a poor childhood in rural India to the rich inner world of art.
Hilda and the Midnight Giant
Nobrow Press, $24 Ages 10 and up
Fantastical creatures, tiny elves and a giant who comes out at night fill a young girl's isolated life in a hillside cottage.
Iron Hearted Violet
Kelly Barnhill, illustrated by Iacopo Bruno
Little, Brown, $16.99, ages 8-12
This fairytale goes against the grain with its tale of a prickly princess and the last dragon in existence.
Will Sparrow's Road
Clarion, 16.99, ages 10-14
A runaway boy joins a traveling troupe of oddities in the rowdy world of market fairs in Elizabethan England.
Ashley Edward Miller and Zack Stentz
Razorbill, $17.99, ages 12 and up
An amateur teen detective with Asperger's investigates an incident at his high school.
Little, Brown, $19.99, ages 15 and up
Young New Yorkers in the 1920s investigate occult-based murders.
Days of Blood & Starlight
Little, Brown, $18.99, ages 14 and up
The war between the angels and the chimera continues in this sequel to "Daughter of Smoke and Bone."
Tor, $19.99, ages 13 and up
After illegally making movies on his computer a teen runs away to fight a bill criminalizing internet creativity.
The Raven Boys
Scholastic Press, $18.99, ages 13 and up
The teenage daughter of psychic parents finds herself in a paranormal love triangle.
Ask the Passengers
Little, Brown, $17.99, ages 14-17
A young girl struggling with her sexuality can confide only in passengers flying in the planes overhead.
Dutton, $17.99, ages 14 and up
Cassia, Ky, and Xander return to battle the Society in this conclusion to "The Matched" trilogy.
Houghton Mifflin, $17.99, ages 12 and up
The conclusion to the dystopian series "The Giver" presented in three interlinked novellas.
HarperTeen, $17.99, ages 13 and up
Is a tiny island off the grid causing a high school boy to go mad is this pseudo-adaptation of "The Turn of the Shrew."
Jepp, Who Defied the Stars
Hyperion, $16.99, ages 12 and up
A dwarf ventures out into late-16th century Europe to find his fate.
The Carter Family
Don't Forget This Song
Frank M. Young and David Lasky
Abrams ComicArts, $24.95
This illustrated biography gets inside the lives of early country music legends the Carter Family.
This volume collects Panter's scifi comic strip, interconnected stories that launched in the LA Reader in 1983, set in a dystopic future.
The Collected Work of R. and A. Crumb
R. Crumb and A. Crumb
The autobiographical collaborations of the pioneering underground comics couple are gathered in this collection.
Heads or Tails
A collection of striking and gothic short stories in comics form from the author of "The Lagoon."
The graphic novelist offers a second volume of the graphic horror trilogy that started with "X'ed Out."
Mania, Depression, Michelangelo, and Me: A Graphic Memoir
An irreverent graphic memoir about the artist's battle with depression.
The Nao of Brown
A half-English, half-Japanese young woman struggles with OCD and violent urges in this lush and literate graphic novel.
New York Drawings
Drawn and Quarterly, $29.95
A decade of the artist's comics, drawings, illustrations and New Yorker covers are gathered in this volume.
Saga, Vol. 1
Brian K. Vaughan and Fiona Staples
Image Comics, $9.99
Vaughan ("Y the Last Man") spins an epic, adult space tale of lovers raising their baby on a war-torn planet.
Or: The Mermaid in the Hudson
First Second, $24.99
A moody, historical love story about a riverboat captain who rescues a mermaid from the Hudson River.
20th Century World Architecture
The Phaidon Atlas
Editors of Phaidon
Phaidon Press, $200
An overview of 750 of the world's architectural icons and regional masterpieces.
From Dante Rosseti to Paul Klee
The evolution of angelic depictions as painted by master artists through the early 20th century.
At the Fights
Inside the World of Professional Boxing
Sports Illustrated, $75
256 sumptuous photos of star fighters, trainers and promoters provide a unique look at the sport.
Cabinets of Wonder
Christine Davenne & Christine Fleurent
An illustrated history of curiosity cabinets showcasing oddities and treasures, now back in style.
Classic Hollywood Style
Frances Lincoln, $29.95
Iconic looks like Rita Hayworth's strapless dress in "Gilda" and Faye Dunaway's "Bonnie and Clyde" beret influenced American style.
Hello Kitty, Hello Art!
Sanrio Company LTD., Roger Gastman
Sanrio's popular feline infiltrates contemporary art with interpretations by artists such as Gary Baseman, Ron English and Yosuke Ueno.
The James Bond Archives
This collection celebrating 50 years of 007 features thousands of previously unseen stills, storyboards, posters and designs from every James Bond film.
Love Looks Not with the Eyes
Thirteen Years with Lee Alexander McQueen
Lush, previously unpublished backstage photographs from many of the late designer's provocative fashion shows.
Jon Savage, William Gibson and Linder Sterling
Posters, zines and ephemera, drawn from public and private archives, illustrate the punk aesthetic's influence on contemporary graphic art and design.
Life-size Portraits of Puppies at 6 Weeks Old
J. Nichole Smith
Stewart, Tabori & Chang, $29.95
Photographs of 25 breeds of adorable puppies taken at 6 weeks old.
Reporting the Revolutionary War
Before It Was History, It Was News
Private correspondence and battlefield letters accompany newspaper clippings documenting America's fight for independence.
A decade-by-decade account of the last century of show business as reported by the daily trade paper.
Young New Yorkers in the 1920s investigate occult-based murders.
A World in One Cubic Foot
Portraits of Biodiversity
University of Chicago Press, $45
A photographic experiment demonstrating how various ecosystems live in one cubic foot.
Columbia Records Story
After illegally making movies on his computer a teen runs away to fight a bill criminalizing internet creativity.
The Art and Making of Peanuts Animation
Celebrating Fifty Years of Television Specials
A visual history and in-depth look at the making of Peanuts specials from 1965 to 2011.
The Original Watercolors for The Birds of America
Roberta J.M. Olson
Skira Rizzoli, $85
The original masterpieces painted by John James Audubon tells the story of their creation.
The Book of Mormon
The Testament of a Broadway Musical
Trey Parker, Robert Lopez, Matt Stone
Newmarket Press/It Books/HarperCollins, $45
Behind the curtain of the creation of the hit Tony Award-winning musical.
This volume, accompanying the LACMA exhibit of the same name, argues for drawing as a central facet of the movement, alongside collage, photography and paintings.
Photographs from the John Kobal Foundation
Antique Collectors Club Dist, $75
Jimmy Stewart playing with his dogs, Ingrid Bergman fishing and Burt Lancaster playing tennis are just a few of the hundreds in this collection of candid shots from Hollywood's Golden Age.
Diane Keaton & D.J. Waldie
Antiquated buildings and decaying structures transformed and redefined through innovative design and repurposing.
The Lost Christmas Gift
Princeton Architectural Press, $29.95
A lost package arrives 60 years late containing a handmade book filled with maps and photos from an adventure a boy had with his father before he left for the war.
Los Angeles Street Art
G. James Daichendt
Cameron + Company, $35
Murals, graffiti, wall paintings and wheat-pasted works are crammed into this book showcasing L.A.'s vivid street art scene.
Then & Now
Hatje Cantz, $70
Memorable portraits of Robert Kennedy Jr. and Martin Luther King Jr. are featured alongside rare of-the-cuff moments from the set of "Taxi Driver" and "The Godfather."
Richard Schickel and Steven Spielberg
Photos and analysis of the Oscar-award winning director's 40-year career highlighting every film from "Jaws" to "Lincoln."
The latest collection from the surf photographer reveals the passion behind the sport.
Whole Larder Love
Grow Gather Hunt Cook
An culinary adventure illustrating how to live off the land.
America Again: Re-Becoming the Greatness We Never Weren't
Hachette Audio, $25.98
"The Colbert Report" isn't enough for you? Let Colbert's own voice (along with a few readers) lead you through his satirical guide to fixing America.
Harper Audio, $19.99 Hyperion
The tangled love story in this novel spans 50 years from Hollywood to the Italian coast, masterfully performed read by Edoardo Ballerini.
The Casual Vacancy
Hachette Audio, $49.98
British actor Tom Hollander reads Rowling's first adult novel about petty hypocrisies stirred up in a small English town.
Random House Audio, abridged $32
A Grisham thriller about a jailed former attorney who hopes to win his own freedom by helping to solve the murder of a judge, as read by J.D. Jackson.
The Time Keeper
Hyperion Audiobooks, $24.95
"Downton Abbey" star Dan Stevens reads this bestseller about the inventor of the world's first clock, who must teach humans the true meaning of time.
Copyright © 2013, The Los Angeles Times