All in Gift Guides

Gift Guide: Fantastic DVD Box Sets

As promised last week, I have another gift guide for you!

Maybe I'm old school, but I love DVDs (despite that I effectively burned up my last Roku player). I adore the bonus features and the swag and all that. Plus, some have some pretty rad packaging to boot. 

Furthermore, a gift of a DVD box set is perfect for your introvert family members and friends, who'd much rather hole up with their television than ski or whatever other nonsense normal people do in the winter. (Winter: I'm not a fan.)

Gift Guide: 7 Books to Give This Year

A couple years ago, I created a series of gift guides that are still pretty popular--check them out here. I thought it would be fun to add to those guides with at least one new list for this holiday season. (I will try to do another one that I have sketched out--stay tuned!)

Buying books for other people can be a bit of a challenge. I always want to be sensitive to not imposing my taste and preferences on other people--just because I like something, doesn't mean that they'll love it too. But at the same time, I love putting good books in people's hands, so I strive for recommendations that will appeal to a broader audience. 


Gift Guide: Books for Home Cooks

One of the things I love to do is cook and bake. I don’t like to make elaborate meals, because I don’t have time for that nonsense, but I like to make good, fresh eats. In fact, I keep threatening promising some folks on twitter that because I buy so many cookbooks, I should probably start reviewing them on Clear Eyes, Full Shelves.

Here are a few of my recommendations for books to gift to your favorite home cook.

How to Cook Everything by Mark Bittman - on Clear Eyes, Full Shelves
Plenty by Yotam Ottolenghi - on Clear Eyes, Full Shelves


Books by Mark Bittman

I’m a big fan of Mark Bittman’s style of simple, flavorful cooking. My favorite of his books is How to Cook Everything: Vegetarian (which includes the secret to the perfect mac & cheese), but the newly-reissued Basics cookbook is extra nice with loads of great photos. The Basics books would be a particularly thoughtful gift for someone just starting out, because the recipes are largely budget-friendly.

Amazon / Goodreads

Plenty by Yotam Ottolenghi

Plenty is a Chronicle book, which means even if the recipes weren’t awesome, the book is absolutely beautiful. But, I’ve cooked many recipes from this book and they’ve turned out wonderfully—my favorite is for the Malaysian stir fry, which taught me how to properly stir fry noodles. 

Amazon / Goodreads

Gift Guide: Books + Things for Creative Folks

I teach at an art college and am around creative folks all the time—and I tell you, not only do they drive me kind of crazy, they are some of the hardest people to shop for. Here are some ideas for those particular peeps on your list. 

Like our previous list with gift ideas for sports fans, these are all items we own or have gifted, so they’re quality picks. 


Steal Like an Artist

Steal Like an Artist by Austin Kleon

I mentioned this in my first-half favorites posts, but I’ve recommended Austin Kleon’s inventive and accessible book to many of my students and clients who are creative folks. I think a lot of people (including myself) see creativity as a magical thing requiring a decoder ring found only in a secret box of cereal only special people are allowed to buy—Kleon debunks that perception and presents the keys to being more creative in a way that will resonate with most everyone. 

Amazon / Goodreads

Elmore Leonard’s 10 Rules of Writing

Elmore Leonard’s short book about writing is one of my favorites—it’s very… succinct. Even though I don’t do creative writing (most of my professional writing has been articles/features/profiles/columns), many of his reminders have served me well (my favorite being to avoid the word “suddenly,” which used to be a big problem for me). Like I said, this is short, but the illustrations really make the book and it’s one many people will appreciate.

Amazon / Goodreads

Gift Guide: Books + Things for Sports Fans

There are a lot of bookish gift guides floating around at the moment, and I though we’d jump on the bandwagon, but with our own twist.

The first is for those sports fans on your list. (And yes, these are all things we own or have gifted.)



Flip Flop Fly Ball: An Infographic Baseball Adventure by Craig Robinson

This is one of the more interesting sports books I own and one I’d recommend to both sports and design fans. Robinson has created an outstanding book that describes baseball visually, both hard statistics and weird things such as how tall Alex Rodriguez’ salary would be if it were paid in pennies. Awesome, right?

Amazon / Goodreads

The Macrophenomenal Pro Basketball Alamanac by Free Darko

I almost didn’t include this book on this list because when I went to the author’s event in Portland a few years ago and he was really insufferable (and exercised extremely poor judgment regarding his language choices at an event with many children in attendance). However, it’s an awesome book and like the previous one, it’s graphical so even if you’re not a fan of sports, it may appeal to you non-sports fans as well. 

Amazon / Goodreads

Counting Coup by Larry Colton

I’ve written about this one before but it’s a stellar book about the impact of basketball on the lives of people in an impoverished community. This is one of those, “it’s not really about sports” sorts of books. It’s about community. 

Amazon / Goodreads

Pacific Rims by Rafe Bartholomew

I love stories about unexpected places. Rafe Bartholomew’s chronicle of basketball in the Philippines (where people, FYI, are not particularly tall) is a book any sports fan will love. The humor in the narrative is really fantastic as well. (My Twitter friend Patrick Truby wrote an excellent review of this book on my good friend Mookie’s blog, A Stern Warning.)