Literary Gifts Made Easy

Local Bookshops Have Compiled Some Tips for the Befuddled Shopper

Posted December 17, 2007 at 6:38pm

Whether you are stuffing a stocking for an aspiring chef, a budding young artist or even an unfamiliar co-worker, a book is always an easy fix — especially with the help of some local bookstores’ suggestions. Several area stores have put together guides that may help you in your shopping.

For this year’s holiday season, Politics & Prose Bookstore has created a unique list, compiled by the employees at the branch on Connecticut Avenue. The Politics & Prose Holiday Newsletter offers suggestions for seven different categories of books, including favorite books of the year, art and gift books, and music and dance books. Members get 20 percent off the price of books, 15 percent off of music and 10 percent off of DVDs from now until New Year’s Day.

Under favorite books of the year, some of the Politics & Prose nonfiction suggestions include “A Long Way Gone: Memoirs of a Boy Soldier,” by Ishmael Beah, $22; “Arsenals of Folly: The Making of the Nuclear Arms Race,” by Richard Rhodes, $28.95; and “The Black Swan: The Impact of Highly Improbable,” by Nassim Nicholas Taleb, $26.95, in which Taleb explains the unlikelihood of greatly feared world events.

For the culinary pallet, Politics & Prose recommends buying your cooking-inclined friends and relatives “No Reservations: Around the World on an Empty Stomach,” by Anthony Bourdain, $34.95; “The Tenth Muse: My Life in Food,” by Judith Jones, $24.95; and “Secret Ingredients: The New Yorker Book of Food and Drink,” edited by David Remnick, $29.95, among others.

Politics & Prose thinks a poetry lover might enjoy, “Old Heart,” by Stanley Plumly, $23.95; “Telephone Ringing in the Labyrinth: Poems 2004-2006,” by Adrienne Rich, $23.95; or “Gulf Music,” by Robert Pinsky, $22.

As for the family-owned Capitol Hill bookstore Trover Shop on Pennsylvania Avenue, some surefire hits for gift-givers include “Bird Songs from Around the World,” by Les Beletsky, $45; “Blacklisted by History: The Untold Story of Senator Joe McCarthy and his Fight Against America’s Enemies,” by M. Stanton Evans, $29.95; and “Boom!” by Tom Brokaw, $28.95.

At Olsson’s Books and Records, all of the shopping suggestions listed in the 2007 Holiday Gift Guide are on sale until New Year’s Day at any Olsson’s location — in Arlington-Courthouse, Crystal City, Dupont Circle, Old Town Alexandria, Penn Quarter and Reagan National Airport. The Olsson’s staff selected the discounted items and included a wide range of books, CDs and DVDs.

Olsson’s staff picks include “War and Peace,” by Leo Tolstoy and translated by Richard Pevear and Larissa Volokhonsky, $29.60; “I Am America (And So Can You!),” by Stephen Colbert, $24.29; and “Tree of Smoke: A Novel,” by Denis Johnson, $24.30.

To beef up a CD collection, Olsson’s guide says you might consider giving “Magic,” Bruce Springsteen’s latest album, $16.99, or picking up a copy of pop singer Josh Groban’s “Noel,” $16.99.

Olsson’s DVD suggestions include the 2007 Pixar and Disney animated film “Ratatouille,” $23.99, and Michael Moore’s 2007 “Sicko,” $23.99.