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The Gift of Words

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Our friends at Cascadia Weekly asked us for holiday book picks. We were happy to oblige! 

Booksellers' Best

The gift of words

By Mary Vermillion

Wednesday, December 5, 2018

Last December, I bought books for everyone on my gift list—whether they were avid readers or not. This required a bit of sleuthing. What exactly were my 20-year-old twin nephews in Missouri interested in these days? I discovered terrific books and, best of all, learned more about the people on my list.

Don’t have time to track down titles? Here are a few of the gift books staff members are talking about at Village Books.

For food fans, Claire suggests The Complete Cookbook for Young Chefs, by America’s Test Kitchen. “This is, without a doubt, the best cookbook I have ever come across for young people. Even the pickiest eater will agree the recipes are fun, healthy and delicious,” she reports.

On the same topic, McKenna recommends Magnolia Table: A Collection of Recipes for Gathering, by Joanna Gaines. “With gorgeous photography and delicious comfort food recipes, this is the perfect gift for anyone looking to bring loved ones to their table,” she says.

Nature lovers will want to pick up Sing a Song of Seasons: A Nature Poem for Each Day of the Year, written by Fiona Waters and illustrated by Frann Preston-Gannon. “With stunning illustrations, this book is the perfect addition to your loved ones’ coffee table,” Hana says. “Look up your birthday poem while you’re at it!”

On the same note, I recommend Robert Macfarlane’s The Lost Words. Illustrated by Jackie Morris, it’s a spell book to conjure nature words deleted from the Oxford Junior Dictionary. Originally published in 2017 in the United Kingdom, the large-format, richly illustrated book began a grassroots movement to re-wild childhood.

For books that will get people in your life talking, Stephanie suggests picking up copies of Sharlene Teo’s Ponti. “Looking for a book for that one reader in your life who always seems to be on the cutting edge and gravitates toward novels that are quirky but moody, offbeat but slightly dark?” she queries. “Search no more; Ponti has you covered.”

Paul points to Timothy Egan’s The Big Burn: Teddy Roosevelt and the Fire that Saved America, the next Whatcom READS selection. “Though set in 1910, the story of the nation’s largest wildfire and the birth of the national conservation movement is a timely, provocative story sure to spur interesting discussions,” he says, noting that Village Books will donate 10 percent of The Big Burn purchases to the community-wide book discussion.

For whodunnits and sci-fi selections, Terri says The Annotated Big Sleep by Raymond Chandler—which was edited by Owen Hill, Pamela Jackson, and Anthony Dean Rizuto—fits the bill. “Raymond Chandler’s first novel is a foundation of the modern detective story. The editors explain long-lost jargon (what are ‘jet buttons?’), provide maps and illustrations of 1930s Los Angeles, and even contrast the book to the classic Bogart movie.”

The Broken Earth Trilogy box set by N.K. Jemisin is on Lauren’s list.  “Jemisin won the Hugo Award for each book in this series—an incredible achievement,” she says. “This is one of my all-time favorite fantasy series. The box set makes it a perfect gift!”

Kids and kids at heart will want copies of Little Moments of Love: A Have a Little Pun Collection, by Catana Chetwynd. “Originally an online sensation, this book of comics is adorable, heartwarming, and the perfect gift to playfully say, ‘I love you,’” Melissa says.

Hana says Pearl (by Molly Idle) and The Snow Lion (by Jim Helmore, illustrated by Richard Jones) would each make great gifts for the youngest readers on your list. “With breathtaking illustrations, Pearl shares a message of small things making a big difference. The Snow Lion is a beautifully quiet tale of imagination, courage and the value of friendship.”

Finally, Sarah recommends The Official Scrabble Players Dictionary by Merriam-Webster. “A brand-new edition four years in the making!” she says. “It’s the last word (ha, ha) to end all Scrabble spats.”

Mary Vermillion is marketing director at Village Books and Paper Dreams.