2013 Holiday Gift Guide: Part 2
Looking for more gift ideas? Here are additional picks courtesy of our staff:
This is a great gift for the artist/ photographer/ designer (or wannabe) in your life. A tribute to the pamphlet art books Ed Ruscha created in the 1960s and 1970s. The book is richly illustrated with great anecdotes and a fabulous essay on the staying power of Ruscha’s art. Not a true coffee table book, this offering can be toted around, read on the go and treasured like the well-designed piece of art it is.
Waves by Fredric Raichlen
This book is the perfect stocking stuffer for anyone who is curious on your Christmas list. In the cold dark winter reading about waves and the ocean will warm your heart and bring you back to the times when childhood wonder had you sitting on the beach wondering just what makes an ocean wave! This book delivers that, explaining waves in all their wonderful detail.
Mapping Boston edited by Alex Krieger and David Cobb
This handsome, lavishly produced book offers a history of Boston in maps. Maps spanning several centuries are accompanied by essays that explain and evoke Boston’s past.
Evocative Objects: Things We Think With edited by Sherry Turkle
In this book Sherry Turkle collects essays from scientists, artists, and humanists. Each person writes about the meaning of one object. The book offers a personal essay and afterword by Turkle, pertinent bits of philosophy and theory to mirror each essay, and some interesting images of the objects in question (salvaged photographs? bruise wine? wooden transistor radio?). I like it because it invites the reader to consider his or her own 'evocative object'.
The News Gap by Pablo J. Boczkowski and Eugenia Mitchelstein
This book is for the news junkie friends and family members among us. For anyone tired of hearing about how great aunt Mildred can’t stand to watch the evening news anymore or read a newspaper because it’s full of either entertainment rubbish about reality television or paranoia-inducing real crime coverage, The News Gap is an enlightening read. Boczkowski and Mitchelstien show that (despite what aunt Mildred may say) news consumers across the world often prefer the least newsworthy stories—those about weather, sports, and violence—to those stories with the most social, political, and economic weight, and that this disconnect could have a lasting impact on just what it means to be an informed public—or news junkie.
Borges and Memory by Rodrigo Quian Quiroga
A fascinating little book, perfect for a Borges fan with an interest in science and philosophy, but no capacity for scientific jargon. The highlight: a particularly special chapter on Solomon Shereshevskii, a real-life man who could not forget.
Snapshot Photography: The Lives of Images by Catherine Zuromskis
The recent social media trend of Throwback Thursday (#tbt) proves that people love point-and-shoot photography. Catherine Zuromskis explores the meaning of these types of blurry, amateur shots not as individual works of art but as a singular cultural phenomenon. A fascinating and engaging read, the book is also cleverly designed and features beautifully reproduced images throughout. Art fans, cultural critics, and photographers (professional and amateur alike) would be delighted to receive it.
Jake, Digital Initiatives:
Second Person edited by Pat Harrigan and Noah Wardrip-Fruin
If you love a nerd, this holiday season, consider springing for Second Person, the middle volume of a trilogy of edited collections on all things gaming. This Dungeon Master has flipped through the impressive tome on occasions too numerous to count, reveling in the insights brought to bear by some of the world’s best game designers and scholars, and a few popular genre authors, too. You even get three—count ‘em, three!—new games in the mix. Editors Pat Harrigan and Noah Wardrip-Fruin have rolled a critical hit with this book!
The Metamorphosis of Plants by Johann Wolfgang von Goethe
This beautiful little book really takes Goethe’s original work to a whole new level. Filled with gorgeous photography and art, it’s a wonderfully thought-provoking read on the nature of transformation and creativity. The perfect gift for nature-lovers, philosophers and creative types alike.
Adhocism: The Case for Improvisation by Charles Jencks and Nathan Silver
While we’re buying so much disposable junk this holiday season, we could all reflect on the ethical and aesthetic importance of Adhocism. The message of this book—using materials at hand to solve our problems rather than buying (or inventing & producing) another gimmicky unitasker—should give us pause. Ask for things that will serve a lasting function, and buy gifts that are useful and that won’t end up on a trash heap by next year. Skip the Automotive French Fry Holder and the Automatic Wine Opener, and give a copy (to yourself?) of Adhocism.