101 Guidesgift

2012 D*S Gift Guide: Books

by Amy Azzarito

The book gift guide is one of my favorite gift guides to put together. There were so many great books this year that I had a tough time narrowing them down. Did I leave any favorites off the list? I’m always looking for book recommendations, so let me know in the comments. (For more book suggestions, check out the 2011 Book Gift Guide.) — Amy Azzarito

See all the 2012 Gift Guides here.

Image above: 1. Surf Cafe Cookbook, Jane and Myles Lamberth: This is a great cookbook about coastal living at its best. I wrote a review earlier this fall here. | 2. Sprouted Kitchen: A Tastier Take on Whole Foods, Sara Forte: This is a great gift for anyone who’s making an effort to eat healthier. There’s a recipe for the classic baked artichoke dip that is made healthier by the addition of cannellini beans and tempeh balls to replace classic meatballs. Yum. | 3. Food in Jars, Marisa McClellan: Here are a few ways to put those mason jars to use. Recipes for everything from jam to chutney to salsa. | 4. Small Plates & Sweet Treats: My Family’s Journey to Gluten-Free Cooking, Aran Goyoaga: Perfect for anyone trying to go gluten-free. | 5. Homemade Winter, Yvette van Boven: This absolutely stunning book is filled with reinterpreted classic recipes. | 6. Tartine: The Boxed Set, Elisabeth Prueitt and Chad Robertson: This set of two cookbooks from the famous San Francisco restaurant would make a great gift for any baker in your life. | 7. Barefoot Contessa Foolproof: Recipes You Can Trust, Ina Garten: We revere Ina Garten in the D*S office. Not only has she built an amazing business, but she’s also a pretty fantastic cook. I don’t think I’ve ever made anything by her that hasn’t been delicious. | 8. Smitten Kitchen Cookbook, Deb Perelman: The first cookbook by the popular New York food blogger. It’s filled with delicious recipes and beautiful photographs — someone make me the blintzes!

Image above: 1. American Beauty: Renovating and Decorating a Beloved Retreat, Thom Filicia — Thom was a guest on After the Jump with Grace a few weeks ago. After the show, I read this entire book. Thom’s first lake house was my dream vacation home, so I was eager to see what he could do with a bigger budget. This book is one big “before & after,” which pretty much means it’s irresistible. | 2. Diane Keaton: House Diane Keaton has a passion for house flipping. In House, she showcases the work of architects who repurpose old buildings or use iconic forms in the building of new structures. A fun book for any Diane Keaton fan. | 3. The Life of the House: How Rooms Evolve Written by Henrietta Spencer-Churchill, the great-granddaughter of Consuelo Vanderbilt, this coffee table book traces the evolution of rooms in the home through beautiful photographs, so we learn how the medieval great hall is related to the practical place to store umbrellas and coats and about the relatively recent luxurious addition of indoor bathrooms. | 4. The Things That Matter: Nate Berkus Part memoir, part design portfolio, this book is all about bringing your individual personality into your home and is filled with inspiration to help you do just that. Nate is completely open about how he started in design, about the tsunami that killed his partner and how that changed his life and about how he creates homes that honor all aspects of people’s lives. | 5. Roman and Williams Buildings and Interiors: Things We Made — You can’t walk around New York without tripping over a Roman and Williams-designed space. They did the Standard Hotel, the Breslin, the Ace Hotel, Stumptown Coffee and the Dutch, to name a few. They’ve also designed elaborate sets for movies like Zoolander.

See more book gift guide suggestions after the jump . . .

Image above: 1. Vintage Wedding Style, Elizabeth Demos — Written by one of our favorite Southern ladies (we did a Christmas video with Liz a couple years ago), Liz sure can plan a party. This book features real-life weddings that Liz styled paired with projects and ideas that allow you to replicate the look. All the weddings are vintage-inspired — everything from a Gatsby wedding to a circus wedding. Even if you’re not planning a wedding, this could be a great book to help you throw some fantastic parties. | 2. Stitched Gifts, Jessica Marquez — A great gift for the DIYer on your list. I grew up cross-stitching with my mom and have wanted to take it up again. This book is filled with simple projects and templates to take your cross-stitching to the next level. | 3. Tiny World Terrariums, Michelle Inciarrano and Katy Maslow — This book explains how to create tiny terrariums complete with toys and figurines to create a whimsical, personal touch. | 4. The Handbuilt Home: 34 Simple, Stylish and Budget-Friendly Woodworking Projects for Every Room, Ana White — As a young mom on a tight budget, Ana learned she could save thousands of dollars by making furniture herself. | 5. Happy Home, Jennifer Paganelli with Dolin O’Shea — Twenty sewing projects all depicted in bright, happy fabrics to cheer up your home.

Image above: 1. John Robshaw Prints: Textiles, Block Printing, Global Inspiration and Interiors, John Robshaw — Celebrated textile designer John Robshaw shares the secrets of his creative process and his inspiration. If you’re a pattern junkie, this is your poison. | 2. At Home in Italy: Under the Summer Sun, Massimo Listri — A tour through Italy via 30 houses, this book is perfect for the Italophile on your list. The colors alone are enough to write home about. | 3. Fortuny Interiors, Brian Coleman — This beautiful book celebrates the Venetian textile company Fortuny. The perfect gift for any textile or pattern person, this book showcases the Fortuny textiles in a variety of homes, from grand palaces to modern condos. | 4. The Scottish Country House, James Knox — If you like historic homes, this book is for you. It’s filled with beautiful photos of historic Scottish castles and grand estates. | 5. Bringing Nature Home, Ngoc Minh Ngo — One of our favorite books that came out this year. Grace wrote a long review here. | 6. The Irish Country House, Desmond FitzGerald, the Knight of Glin, and James Peill — This book examines the houses and castles that have not only survived, but are also in the hands of their original families. My favorite of the little details that capture a family’s personality is the secret door at Tullynally that leads from the library to the magnificent dining room.

Image above: 1. The Where, the Why and the How: 75 Artists Illustrate the Wondrous Mysteries of Science, Jenny Volvovski, Julia Rothman and Matt Lamothe — A visual science book that explains the mysteries of nature in essays by working scientists and then illustrated by 75 different artists. | 2. Gem and Stone: Jewels of Earth, Sea and Sky, Jen Altman — We’ve been going crazy for crystals, stones and minerals. (In fact, I have agate slices right next to me for a DIY project.) So we’ve been anxiously awaiting this book by Jen Altman. And it doesn’t disappoint. For example, did you know that agate was once believed to grant the wearer the power of invisibility? Or that pyrite was once used in China to prevent crocodile attacks? (If you need more convincing, Grace wrote a review here.)| 3. Brooklyn Makers, Jen Causey — Finally! We’ve long been admirers of Jen Causey’s beautiful blog, The Maker’s Project, which documents creative folks in Brooklyn — everyone from florists and  builders to jewelers. Now her amazing photos have been turned into a book. It’s a great way to meet those behind the indie maker movement in Brooklyn. | 4. I’m a Good Dog: Pit Bulls, America’s Most Beautiful (and Misunderstood) Pet, Ken Foster — We’ve all become addicted to the TV show Pit Bulls and Parolees, and this book is the perfect companion to that show. Author Ken Foster has made it his mission to bring this misunderstood breed into the limelight. | 5. The Life of a Bowerbird, Sibella Court — Australian stylist Sibella Court can do no wrong. She has an amazing eye, and all of her books are beautifully shot and styled. This one is all about collections — perfect for anyone with a flea market habit.

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  • I am wondering if anyone else is having problems viewing D*S on their Ipads? Since I did the latest update, I can’t see the comment bubble or title of a post anymore. Thoughts?


    • Hi Tracy – Thanks for commenting. We’ll look into it and see what we can figure out. Thanks for letting us know.

  • I love giving and receiving books as gifts. Lovely selection of cookbooks. I would add Understanding Baking by Joseph Amendola and Nicole Rees as a great resource for the serious baking geeks.

  • I love The Surf Cafe cookbook! I would also highly recommend Jerusalem: A Cookbook by Yotam Ottolenghi and Sami Tamimi. The food, stories, photographs and history lessons throughout are engaging and masterfully edited.

  • I collect cookbooks and one of the best this year is “Come In, We’re Closed,” about family/staff meals at 30 great restaurants (Oleanna, Mugaritz, Uchi . . . ). It’s beautifully illustrated and the stories are warm and touching. Best cookbook of the year, IMO.

  • How is Jonathan Adler’s ‘100 Ways to Happy Chic Your Life’ not on this list?!?!?!

  • Young House Love: 243 Ways to Paint, Craft, Update & Show Your Home Some Love, By Sherry and John Petersik :)

  • I was thrilled to see that A Year of Pies, by Ashley English, my favorite Design Sponge contributor, was one of the American Library Association’s top ten food books of the year. And I was quite excited to see her book recommended on the Chronicle’s SF Gate’s gift guide. However, I was very disappointed, and frankly more than a bit surprised to see her book overlooked here. Have you seen it? It is a really wonderful book, and the recipes are heavenly. This is a genuinely odd oversight.

  • I just read At Home by Bill Bryson. It is a hilarious book about the history of why our homes are the way they are as he travels from room to room in his house in England. It being so easy for me to take the things in my home for granted, I was captivated to learn about the bloody history behind “ordinary” things like salt and pepper. I loved it!