Give the Gift of a Great Read

Posted December 8, 2008 at 4:11pm

When a fruitcake can’t be found and a festive sweater just won’t do, it’s always a safe bet to head to the bookstore for that last-minute gift.

But with so many options, it can be tough to pick out something that will suit anyone on your list. Fortunately, the good booksellers at Capitol Hill’s Trover Shop offered their top 10 picks for gift-giving — in no order of preference — for the 2008 holiday season. Prices listed are the Trover Shop’s.

• “The American Journey of Barack Obama” by Life magazine editors. Cost: $24.99

Perfect for history buffs, the book uses compelling, often rare photographs to tell the story of the incoming 44th president. Includes a foreword by Sen. Edward Kennedy (D-Mass.), a narrative biography and a slew of essays on Obama from several prominent writers.

• “American Heritage College Dictionary.” Cost: $26.95

OK, so the newest edition of the dictionary might not be the most exciting gift, but it probably will come in handy over the years more than a fruit basket would.

• “Annie Leibovitz at Work” by Annie Leibovitz. Cost: $40

The latest book by the famed photographer features more than 100 photographs and the stories behind them. Subjects in the book include Presidents Richard Nixon and George W. Bush along with Queen Elizabeth II, Arnold Schwarzenegger and President-elect Barack Obama.

• “Barefoot Contessa Back to Basics: Fabulous Flavor From Simple Ingredients” by Ina Garten. Cost: $35

The sixth book from the popular chef features more than 100 new recipes, including lobster corn chowder, Tuscan lemon chicken and easy sticky buns.

• “The Black List” by Timothy Greenfield-Sanders and Elvis Mitchell. Cost: $29.95

Twenty-five prominent African-Americans share their personal stories and offer unique insight on what it means to be a black person in America. Subjects include author Toni Morrison, media moguls Sean Combs and Russell Simmons, civil rights activist Al Sharpton, former Secretary of State Colin Powell and prominent attorney Vernon Jordan.

• “The New York Times: The Complete Front Pages.” Cost: $60

Another great item for history buffs, this collection spotlights more than 300 historic front pages published by the“Gray Lady,” highlighting events from Abraham Lincoln’s assassination to the terrorism attacks of Sept. 11, 2001. The book also comes with three DVDs that feature 54,266 front pages, making the Times’ vast archive searchable at home.

• “Private Patient” by P.D. James. Cost: $25.95

The latest novel by the famed English author sees Detective Adam Dalgliesh investigating the death of an investigative journalist who went to a private clinic for a routine operation and never made it out alive.

• “Swing!” by Rufus Butler Seder. Cost: $12.95

Last year’s New York Times bestseller “Gallop!” revolutionized children’s books when it introduced the new animation technology “Scanimation” to help teach kids about animals. This time around, the technology is used to tackle sports.

• “Tales of Beedle the Bard” by J.K. Rowling. Cost: $12.99

In December 2007, Rowling published just seven copies of this book, which is marketed as the collection of children’s stories mentioned in “Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows.” This holiday season, Rowling has released the book worldwide — a great gift for even casual fans of the series.

• “United States Capitol” by Fred J. Maroon and Suzy Maroon. Cost: $50

There are dozens of books about the history and architecture of the Capitol, but this collection by the late, beloved photographer takes readers into places normally off- limits to photography.