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Picks and Pans Main: Books

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For traditionalists

PENGUIN DROP CAPS SERIES

Various Authors

Sumptuous redesigns of classics including Pride and Prejudice, Swann’s Way and Siddhartha. For reading and home beautifying.

A CHARLIE BROWN CHRISTMAS

by Lee Mendelson

An inside look at the making of everyone’s favorite holiday special. Who wouldn’t want to find this under their Charlie Brown tree?

THE WIZARD OF OZ

by Jay Scarfone and William Stillman

Filled with behind-the-scenes facts and photos (Judy Garland in a soon-to-be-nixed blonde wig!), the film’s 75th-anniversary compendium is a must-have for fans.

FOR AUDIO LOVERS

MATILDA

read by Kate Winslet

by Roald Dahl

It takes a Brit to give proper voice to Dahl’s delicious classic, the story of a precocious little girl who triumphs over her hideous parents and evil headmistress. Winslet aces it.

THE THINGS THEY CARRIED

read by Bryan Cranston

by Tim O’Brien

Walter White who? The Breaking Bad star leaves his meth-monster persona behind with this nuanced narration of O’Brien’s Vietnam saga.

THE TESTAMENT OF MARY

read by Meryl Streep

by Colm Tóibín

Margaret Thatcher, Julia Child and now Mary – that Mary. Streep pulls it off, of course, in her reading of Tóibín’s novel about Christ’s aging mother looking back on his life and death.

For Adventurers

SKYSCRAPERS

by Judith Dupré

An updated version of historian Dupré’s ’96 tour of the world’s tallest buildings, this edition includes the new Freedom Tower and more. How do they build those things? You’ll find out.

INDIA

by Eric Meola

Whether you’ve been there or just long to go, Meola’s visual celebration – including essays by the likes of Jhumpa Lahiri and Bharati Mukherjee – is a Technicolor treat.

BEFORE THEY PASS AWAY

by Jimmy Nelson

“Entire communities are disappearing due to global evolution,” writes Mark Blaisse in this glorious volume. If Nelson’s photos of tribal cultures can’t change that, they can help ensure that lost won’t mean forgotten.

FOR NESTERS

REMODELISTA

by Julie Carlson

Lovely, simple decorating ideas from the team behind Remodelista.com.

MUCH LOVED

by Mark Nixon

Photos of worn stuffed animals along with paeans from their grateful owners. Aw.

AT HOME

by Bill Bryson

Illustrations enhance Bryson’s bestselling 2010 history of domesticity.

For fans

ALL THE SONGS

by Jean-Michel Guesdon and Philippe Margotin

Fun facts about every one of the Fab Four’s creations, with photos. Yeah yeah yeah.

HOLLYWOOD IN KODACHROME

by David Wills

Candy-colored glam shots of Lauren Bacall, Humphrey Bogart, Elizabeth Taylor and other ’40s greats.

VERVE

by Richard Havers

From the label that signed America’s jazz legends in the ’50s and ’60s, a look at the music, its stars and its continuing influence.

For animal lovers

GIRAFFE REFLECTIONS

by Dale Peterson and Karl Ammann

They’re not beautiful, exactly – kind of like horses with dinosaur necks. But this book is informative and strangely mesmerizing.

THE BIG NEW YORKER BOOK OF CATS

Foreword by Anthony Lane

Feline-themed covers, text and cartoons from The New Yorker magazine. Cat fanciers will lap it up.

SHAKE

by Carli Davidson

All manner of dogs caught in the act. Pretty darn cute.

For kids

DOT.

by Randi Zuckerberg

When a screen-addicted tot gets sent outside to play, she remembers what “tap,” “touch,” “tweet” and “tag” really mean. Fun for the littlest tech-savvy set—from Mark Zuckerberg’s sister (ages 4—8).

YEAR OF THE JUNGLE

by Suzanne Collins

A girl’s dad goes to Vietnam in this autobiographical book by the Hunger Games author (4 and up).

MY PEN PAL, SANTA

by Melissa Stanton

Ava writes Santa Claus a thank-you note (what a thought!), and he’s so delighted that he writes back (3—7).

LOCOMOTIVE

by Brian Floca

“Here is a road made for crossing the country …” A stunningly illustrated tale of the earliest days of America’s railroads (4—10).

FOR TEENS

BOXERS & SAINTS

by Gene Luen Yang

A two-volume graphic novel exploring the contrasting experiences of a boy and a girl in 19th-century China (12—17).

GO

by Chip Kidd

Reknowned graphic designer Kidd offers up an introduction to his field. Not surprisingly it’s a thing of beauty (10 and up).