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The gift of words: Holiday book picks

Stumped on what to get a certain someone this holiday season? Books make great gifts, and there's always something for everyone.

Here, four independent booksellers from around the country give their recommendations for the best books in four categories: fiction/nonfiction, food, children's books and coffee table books. Browse away!

Vivien Jennings
Rainy Day Books, Fairway, Kan.Fiction/nonfiction

  • "Sing Them Home" by Stephanie Kallos (Atlantic Monthly Press)

  • "The Little Book" by Selden Edwards (Dutton Publishers)

  • "Wesley the Owl" by Stacey O'Brien (Free Press)

  • "Faberge's Eggs: The Extraordinary Story of the Masterpieces That Outlived an Empire" by Tony Faber (Random House)

  • "Roads to Quoz" by William Least Heat-Moon (Little, Brown and Co.)

  • "The House at Riverton" by Kate Morton (Atria)

  • "Goldengrove: A Novel" by Francine Prose (Harper)

  • "In Hovering Flight: A Novel" by Joyce Hinnefeld (Unbridled Books)

Food

  • "Chanterelle" by David Waltuck (Taunton)

  • "A Year in Chocolate" by Jacques Torres (Stewart, Tabori & Chang)

  • "Bakewise" by Shirley Corriher (Scribner)

  • "The Fireside Cookbook 60th Anniversary Edition" by James Beard (Simon and Schuster)

  • "The Culinary Institute of America Cookbook" (Lebhar-Friedman Books)

  • "Things Cooks Love" by Sur la Table and Marie Simmons (Andrews McMeel Publishing)

  • "Cooking with Les Dames D'Escoffier" by Marcella Rosene (Sasquatch Books)

  • "Cooking with the Seasons at Rancho La Puerta" by Deborah Szekely and Deborah Schneider (Stewart, Tabori & Chang)

Marva Allen
Hue-Man Bookstore, New YorkCoffee table books

  • "21 Nights" by Prince (Atria Books)

  • "Life: The American Journey of Barack Obama" by the Life editors (Little, Brown, and Company)

  • "The Complete Quincy Jones: My Journey & Passions" by Quincy Jones

  • "Definition: The Art and Design of Hip-Hop" by Cey Adams (Harper Collins)

  • "The Blacklist" by Timothy Greenfield-Sanders and Elvis Mitchell (Simon and Schuster)

  • "Black Britain" by Paul Gilroy (Saqi Books)

  • "Obama: The Historic Campaign in Photographs" by Deborah Willis Amistad (Harper Collins)

Food

  • "Yolele!" by Pierre Thiam (Lake Isle Press)

  • "The Soul of New Cuisine" by Marcus Samuelsson (Wiley)

  • "Chef Jeff Cooks" by Jeff Henderson (Scribner)

  • "Dining In" by Gerry Garvin (Meredith Books)

  • "Get 'Em Girls Guide to the Power of Cuisine" by Shakara Bridgers, Jeniece Isley, and Joan A. Davis (Simon and Schuster)
  • "The Kitchen Diva: The New African-American Kitchen" by Angela Shelf Medearis (Lake Isle Press)

  • "Nyam Jamaica: The Caribbean" by Rosemary Parkinson (Macmillan)

Roxanne Coady
R.J. Julia Booksellers, Madison, Conn.Fiction/nonfiction

  • "Unaccustomed Earth" by Jhumpa Lahiri (Knopf)

  • "The Secret Scripture" by Sebastian Barry (Viking Adult)

  • "Lincoln: The Biography of a Writer" by Fred Kaplan (Harper Collins)

  • "The Hemingses of Monticello" by Annette Gordon-Reed (W.W. Norton & Co.)

  • "The Hour I First Believed" by Wally Lamb (Harper Collins)

  • "Promised Land: Thirteen Books That Changed America" by Jay Parini (Doubleday)

  • "American Lion" by Jon Meacham (Random House)
  • "Titanic's Last Secret" by Brad Matsen (Thorndike Press)

Coffee table books

  • "The New York Times: The Complete Front Pages 1851-2008" (Black Dog & Leventhal Publishers)

  • "National Geographic Society Exploration Experience: The Heroic Exploits of the World's Greatest Explorers" by Beau Riffenburgh (National Geographic)

  • "At Work" by Annie Leibovitz (Random House)

  • "The New Yorker Cartoon Caption Contest Book" by Robert Mankoff (Andrews McMeel Publishing)

  • "America: A History in Art" by William Scheller (Black Dog & Leventhal Publishers)

  • "Breach of Peace: Portraits of the 1961 Mississippi Frleedom Riders" by Eric Etheridge (Atlas & Co.)

  • "Cities of the World: Complete Edition of the Colour Plates of 1572-1617" (Taschen)

  • "On Reading" by Andre Kertesz (W.W. Norton)

Kristine Abramowitz
Storyopolis, Los AngelesChildren's books

  • "Tickets to Ride: An Alphabetic Amusement" by Mark Rogalski (Running Press Kids)

  • "Butterflies in My Stomach and Other School Hazards" by Serge Bloch (Sterling)

  • "The Runaway Dolls" by Ann M. Martin, Laura Godwin and Brian Selznick (Hyperion Books for Kids)

  • "The Graveyard Book" written by Neil Gaiman and illustrated by Dave McKean (Harper Collins)

  • "Too Many Toys" by David Shannon (The Blue Sky Press)

  • "Kitty Cat, Kitty Cat, Are You Waking Up?" by Bill Martin Jr. and Michael Sampson (Marshall Cavendish Corp/Ccb)

  • "The Mysterious Benedict Society" by Trenton Lee Stewart (Little, Brown, and Company)

  • "Theodosia and the Staff of Osiris" by R.L. LaFevers (Houghton Mifflin Company)
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