It’s that most wonderful time of the year. Have you retrieved your boxes from the basement, yet? For ‘tis now when garlands slither around banisters, lights glow from the boughs of bushes and the ugly ornaments are placed at the back of the tree. Ah…Christmas…The praises of the season are illuminated in verse, song…and presents. Mountains and mountains of glittery, greedy presents! The spoils of our shopping toils will soon huddle under The Tree in a quivering pile, an unrealized kinetic energy waiting to be released on that blessed morn. But with all necessary cynicism aside, I truly love Christmas. Perhaps it is even correct to say that beyond the façade of my cold, unfeeling demeanor of austere criticism and disillusioned malcontent lay a sparkly heart of gold. Yes friends, underneath my daily and carefully-concocted Scrooge, is an embarrassingly giddy Christmas doofus. Wreaths and eggnog, rich food and gift wrap – really now, who can help but feel cheerful with a houseful of merriment-in-the-making?
Shake off those Holiday woes, my brothers! Welcome the season, and dress up the tree skirt with the panache that only presents can impart. Your gift list gets a boost this year from our favorite friends at Carmichael’s Bookstore. The 2011 Holiday Catalog is hot off the press and ready to warm up your mittens with a round-up of the year’s best buys for your favorite bibliophages.
The Holiday Catalog features over 50 titles hand-selected from the booksellers who know best. Whether you find yours peeking in the mailbox (if you’re not on the Carmichael’s mailing list, you should be!) or while cruising the interweb, the list provides you with a perfect opportunity to pick the best, shop local and boycott that hideous Kindle-thingy (it’s sacrilegious; give the gift of pages, not processing power).
For your favorite Photographer – Menagerie by Sharon Montrose $16.99
“This is a little book from a very big talent. Sharon Montrose’s animal photography is renowned, appealing to art and animal lovers alike, and has appeared in magazines and art exhibits around the world. In Menagerie we have a lovely, small-format collection of her stark yet gorgeous photographs of animals isolated in plain surroundings that allows them to jump from the page. Every page offers a new adventure: a clever frame; an intriguing illustration; a beautiful animal, bird, or reptile. It’s a nice gift for the hard-to-buy-for, small and inexpensive, but one that is packed with dazzle and drama.”
For your favorite Hipster – Awkward Family Pet Photos by Mike Bender, Doug Chernack $15.00
“Last year at Carmichael’s, if you saw a group of people huddled around a book and laughing until they cried, they were most likely poring through Awkward Family Photos. Now comes another compendium of cringe-worthy, embarrassing photos, this time featuring not only families, but the family pet as well. What’s interesting is that it’s not the pets that put hilarity on every page, but the kind of weird, slightly creepy, enormously awkward behavior of the pet owners. It’s the perfect gift for someone with just a little kink in their sense of humor.”
For your favorite Little Bug – Red Sled by Lita Judge $16.99
“Judge’s latest may be virtually wordless, but it packs a powerful visual punch that will stick with readers long after the final page is turned. At the end of a winter day, a child props the titular sled outside a cozy cabin. A bear finds it there and sets off to enjoy the ride of all rides, joined in turn by some other forest denizens. As each joins the ride, the animals’ positions change: The bear is on his back with the rabbit perched on his feet, then he is atop the moose’s antlers, a position next occupied by an exhilarated-looking porcupine. It’s a joyful and hilarious read-together picture book for little ones.”
For your favorite Traveler – The New York Times 36 Hours: 150 Weekends in the USA & Canada by Barbara Ireland $39.99
“The New York Times has been offering up dream weekends with practical itineraries in its popular weekly “36 Hours” column since 2002. In this collection of short trips to 150 cities in the U.S. and Canada, expert contributors, experienced travelers, and accomplished writers all have brought careful research, insider’s knowledge, and a sense of fun to their destinations, always with an eye to getting the most out of a short trip. Louisville and Lexington are among the locales included, and we will ‘fess up to the fact that we love this book, not for its gorgeous photographs and unique suggestions, but because the entry on Louisville calls Carmichael’s ‘one of the last great bookstores.’ ”
For your favorite Thinker – The Better Angels of Our Nature: Why Violence has Declined by Steven Pinker $40.00
“This groundbreaking book continues Pinker’s exploration of the essence of human nature, mixing psychology and history to provide a remarkable picture of an increasingly nonviolent world. The key, he explains, is to understand our intrinsic motives—the inner demons that incline us toward violence and the better angels that steer us away—and how changing circumstances have allowed our better angels to prevail. Exploding fatalist myths about humankind’s inherent violence and the curse of modernity, this ambitious and provocative book is sure to be hotly debated from coffee shops to the Pentagon, and will challenge and change the way we think about our society.”
For your favorite Nerd – Listomania: A World of Fascinating Facts in Graphic Detail by The Listomaniacs $25.99
“From the same team that brought you Show Me How and More Show Me How comes a whole new way of looking at the crazy facts that drive the world—and discovering that real life is not only stranger than fiction but more unexpected than anything you’ve ever dreamed of. Trivia fanatics and anyone fascinated by the new frontiers of visual information design—books like Everything Explained Through Flowcharts, Visual Miscellaneum, and the cartooning of Chris Ware—will be enthralled by the quirky, captivating graphics of Listomania.”
For your favorite Mixologist – See Mix Drink by Brian D. Murphy $14.99
“Have you tried mixing a Mojito? What about a Rusty Nail? Or a Cosmopolitan? With See Mix Drink, the first-ever cocktail book to offer instruction through info-graphics, making the drinks you love at home is as easy as, well, See Mix Drink. This unique, illustrated guide graphically demonstrates how to make 100 of today’s most popular cocktails. No other cocktail book is this easy or fun. Instantly understandable 1-2-3 steps show exactly how each drink is prepared, and anecdotes, pronunciation guides, and photographs of the finished drinks will turn newbie bartenders into instant mixologists.”
For your favorite Foodie – Plenty by Yotam Ottolenghi, Jonathan Lovekin $35.00
“Sometimes it takes an outsider to shed new light on a well-worn topic: Meat-eating chef Yotam Ottolenghi makes vegetarian cooking sexy and exciting again. Counterintuitive? Yes, but it works. Imbued with a Middle Eastern flair, the recipes reimagine vegetables and grains for a new audience, though even the most seasoned of vegetarians will find the food flavorful and inventive. Ottolenghi's gift may be the food, but he also has an infectious fervor for making stars out of ingredients that traditionally sit on the sidelines. Plenty has been on almost every Best Cooksbooks of 2011 lists.”
For your favorite Creative – F nish Th s B k by Keri Smith $15.00
“Keri Smith has created a one-woman industry with quirky little projects that invite the “reader” to participate in the act of creation. In books like Wreck this Journal and This is Not a Book, Smith’s “books” weren’t really books, but more opportunities to create books. Now, in F nish Th s B k she goes a step further by offering up some strange and random pages abandoned in a park, and an invitation to take off your reader hat and become the author of a puzzling mystery. Keri Smith is a true original, and it is difficult to describe what she does—perhaps the best description comes from her introduction: ‘this book does not exist without you.’ ”
For your favorite Poet – Traveling at Home by Wendell Berry, John DePol $22.00
“The fifteen poems and one essay included here, personally selected by Wendell Berry from among his previously published work, quietly and joyously celebrate the enduring satisfactions of good work and a happy home. Originally published as a limited edition in 1988, Traveling at Home pairs Mr. Berry’s eloquent essays and poetry with John DePol’s exquisite woodcuts. It is one of the most beautiful presentations of this treasured Kentucky writer’s work.”
Shop online or in-store and give the gift of story time this year! Browse the catalog, make your picks and cross off your list with flare. Not quite the titles you’re after? Carmichael’s can still find what you seek. Elusive titles can be shipped to store at no cost, so the perfect book can make the perfect present. And polish off your purchase with Carmichael’s complimentary gift wrapping in-store, with many sweet styles for your Holiday trimmings. Remember friends: sweaters are sorry, gadgets are gross and fruitcake is more than unfortunate. Books are always beautiful; shop Carmichael’s this year, your family and your community will thank you for your good deed – may it be one of many this Holiday season.
Carmichael’s Bookstore has two area locations: 1295 Bardstown Road and 2720 Frankfort Avenue
Photo: Courtesy of Carmichael’s Bookstore website www.carmichaelsbookstore.com