One-size-fits-all gifts that look good on any shelf.
Short Nights of the Shadow Catcher: The Epic Life and Immortal Photographs of Edward Curtis
(Houghton Mifflin Harcourt)
In his book Short Nights of the Shadow Catcher: The Epic Life and Immortal Photographs of Edward Curtis, National Book Award-winning author and Seward Park-resident, Timothy Egan delves into the fascinating life of photographer Edward Curtis, who took over 40,000 photographs of Native Americans between 1900 and 1930, documenting their culture and traditions as it was disappearing before his very lens. $28 at The Elliott Bay Book Company (Capitol Hill, 1521 10th Ave.; 206.624.6600; elliottbaybook.com).
How to Be a Person: The Stranger’s Guide to College, Sex, Intoxicants, Tacos, and Life Itself
From the writers and editors of The Stranger comes a true, real-life guide to conquering life on your own, covering a range of topics (such as majors to avoid, how to do laundry and everything you need to know about philosophy in a single paragraph) with no-holds-barred realism. $16.95, available at Elliott Bay Book Company and on amazon.com
The Best Shots you’ve Never Tried: 100+ Intoxicating Oddities you’ll Actually Want to Put Down
Shots, yes shots, are making a comeback, and West Seattleite Andrew Bohrer's book The Best Shots You’ve Never Tried is leading the way. Packed with a host of recipes that take shots to a new level of deliciousness and creativity, the book is ideal for anyone who appreciates a good drink. And not only are the recipes tasty, but they're illustrated with lovely photos, illuminating history and Andrew's wit and charm. $14.95 at The Elliott Bay Book Company.
The Everyday Wok Cookbook
Proving that a wok is good for more than just stir-frying meats and veggies, Lorna Yee (co-author of The Newlywed Kitchen cookbook and a food writer at Seattle magazine) shows readers how to use the ancient kitchen tool to make bananas Foster French toast, spaghetti (with bison meatballs) and “The Creamiest Mac and Cheese.” $21.95, available at Book Larder (Fremont, 4252 Fremont Ave. N; 206.397.4271; booklarder.com)
Things I Want to Punch in the Face
(Prospect Park Books)
In this book based on the wildly popular blog of the same name, author Jennifer Worick manages to offend just about everyone (Bluetooth headset users, minivanners with those family stickers, the Blue Man group) in such a delightfully snarky manner that all finger pointing is forgiven; your resident Grinch will even crack a smile. $11.95, available on amazon.com
The Nutcracker is perhaps the most beloved Christmas ballet of all time, delighting kids and adults alike with its festive and familiar story. Since 1983, attendees of Seattle's Pacific Northwest Ballet's version have been extra lucky, enjoying enchanting sets and costumes designed by beloved children's author and illustrator Maurice Sendak, who died earlier this year. Give the gift of his amazing work inspired by this classic story in the form of a lovingly rendered hardcover book ($24.99), written by E.T.A. Hoffmann, with pictures by Sendak himself. Available at Elliott Bay Books.