Give happy with this eclectic list of beautiful, inspiring books for all tastes.
A book can be a magical gift. The right book can show someone how well you know them. Share a smile, a laugh or some inspiration this holiday season by gifting a book from our eclectic list of books to suit every taste, from the family foodie to the photography lover. Make your gift book even more personal by including a handwritten notecard or inscription inside.
1. Alton Brown: EveryDayCook
by Alton Brown
Beloved TV host Alton Brown (best known for his 14 seasons of Good Eats and his role on Iron Chef America) has written a new cookbook that puts easy weeknight meals front and center. Bits of science and food lore—along with photos that he took on his iPhone—accompany the 101 recipes. Look for Alton’s take on American comfort food and plenty of his signature humor threaded throughout. It’s the perfect gift for the family foodie.
2. Cats in Paris: A Magical Coloring Book
by Won-Sun Jang
This charmant coloring book of intricate pen-and-ink drawings is perfect for the friend or family member who loves to relax with a box of colored pencils but is tired of mesmerizing mandalas. Of course, it will also please the crazed cat lovers in your life. Take a trip through Paris with a gaggle of finely drawn felines—allergenic fur not included.
3. Little Humans
by Brandon Stanton
A celebration of little humans everywhere. Brandon Stanton, creator of the popular blog, Humans of New York, which has spawned a series of equally popular coffee-table books. Here Brandon has compiled 40 of his favorite photos of kids expressing their individuality. These fun, beautiful and moving images of kids from his website are intended to inspire a sense of community and imbue the reader with the free spirit of childhood. The book makes a perfect gift for a child, parent or child at heart who appreciates the way that children just radiate joy.
4. My Favorite Things
by Maira Kalman
How do the objects in our lives tell a story? Bestselling author and illustrator Maira Kalman captures the human experience by exploring the significance of the physical things we have in our lives. With artifacts, recollections and selections from the collections of the Cooper-Hewitt, Smithsonian Design Museum and her own personal collections, My Favorite Things features more than 50 special objects to view and ponder. See the pocket watch Abraham Lincoln was carrying when he was shot, original editions of Winnie-the-Pooh and Alice in Wonderland as well as photographs taken by Maira. An ideal gift for the art or design enthusiast.
5. National Parks of America: Experience America’s 59 National Parks
by Lonely Planet
Ideal for the nature lover or travel enthusiast, this book celebrates America’s 59 awe-inspiring national parks. The year 2016 was a big one for the parks; the 100th anniversary of their founding meant renewed interest and a slew of new documentaries and books for all ages. This book highlights the best activities and trails of each park, proposes ideal itineraries, explains how to get there, and even gives advice on where to stay. What’s more, the stunning color photographs will inspire wanderlust and a burning desire to hop in the car and see the magnificent views—of the world’s tallest trees, towering cliffs and snow-covered mountains—for yourself.
6. Queen of Your Own Life
by Kathy Kinney and Cindy Ratzlaff
Actress Kathy Kinney and comedian Cindy Ratzlaff have created a successful series of fun, fabulous books that feature vintage images and wry, inspiring quotes. The quotes are “queenisms,” and each book invites women to recognize and celebrate themselves as the queens they are. Their latest venture, Queen of Your Own Life, reminds women to take control of their relationships, happiness and destiny. A great gift for any woman who loves the vintage aesthetic and could use a couple positive affirmations once in a while.
7. The Book of Joy: Lasting Happiness in a Changing World
by Dalai Lama and Desmond Tutu
The title and author byline pretty much say it all: Two of the world’s greatest spiritual leaders—both winners of the Nobel Peace Prize—have come together to collaborate on a book about joy. Written with compassion and humor, The Book of Joy includes personal anecdotes from the two men, teachings about happiness, as well as some of the science behind it. They also offer suggestions of daily practices to increase your own happiness, turning it from a fleeting emotion into an authentic way of living your life.
8. Think Happy: Instant Peptalks to Boost Positivity
by Karen Salmansohn
Happiness guru and author Karen Salmansohn has collected 50 inner “peptalks” for readers to employ in different situations, as needed, punctuated with adorable color illustrations and watercolors. The situations vary from “trying something new” to more serious perils such as “facing failure.” You can think of this book as a charming and quirky form of cognitive behavioral therapy. The perfect gift for anyone you know who needs to occasionally quiet their inner critic.
9. Zen Dogs
by Alexandra Cearns
Who can resist this photo collection that captures some very cool canines—just chilling. Award-winning animal photographer Alexandra Cearns celebrates the serenity of dogs by finding them in joyful moments of relaxation. See 80 beautiful color photographs of a variety of breeds from the beloved golden retriever to the unique French bulldog. To emphasize the mindful, Zen feel, the book includes inspirational words of wisdom from the Buddha, Eckhart Tolle, Thich Nhat Hanh and others. A perfect gift for the mellow dog lover in your life.
Sandra Bienkowski is a regular contributor to Live Happy and the founder and CEO of TheMediaConcierge.net.