OK, so hes biased, but hes also correct. Book sales increase significantly during the holidays.
This season, instead of giving the reader on your list the Steve Jobs biography, Stephen Kings 11/22/63 or a box set of The Hunger Games, consider something that literally strikes closer to home. The past year has offered no shortage of worthy titles, among several categories.
Loved the exhibit? Buy the book! Missed the exhibit? Buy the book! Often, you can do so right from the respective museums gift shop.
For the Oklahoma City Museum of Art, that includes the paperback La Serenissima: Eighteenth-Century Venetian Art from North American Collections (OKCMOA, $35) and the hardback Michael Eastman: Havana (Prestel, $60).
For Fred Jones Jr. Museum of Art in Norman, it means Robert Rauschenberg: Prints from Universal Limited Art Editions, 1962-2008 (FJJMA, $25), The Eugene B. Adkins Collection: Selected Works (University of Oklahoma Press, $29.95) and Tea and Immortality: Contemporary Chinese Yixing Teapots from the James T. Bialac Collection (Phoenix Art Museum, $16.99).
Oklahoma City journalist B. Kent Anderson, who wrote a four-book Department Thirty series under the pseudonym David Kent, debuts under his own name with the hardcover thriller Cold Glory (Forge Books, $24.99). Following a template popularized by The Da Vinci Code, the story follows a professor on the run with a woman in tow from shadowy figures who seek the same historical artifact. In this case, its a cache of Civil War loot, found at a site familiar to Sooners: Fort Washita.
Another novel with historical context is A Rainbow in the Dark (Neoziel Publishing, $16.99), cowritten by Bethany physician Wade McCoy in his debut and Tulsa-based third-time author Patrick Chalfant. The book is set in 1945 rural Oklahoma (Weatherford and Atoka) amid a white-collar crime scheme. Notably, its a fictionalized account of the life of longtime educator Henry Kirkland, to whom a few of his former college students pay tribute following the tale.
I would be remiss not to throw in a brazen plug for the winter anthology Sleigh Ride (Buzz Books USA, $12.95), edited by my wife, Malena Lott. Im justifying it because one of the seven female writers featured is Oklahoma Gazettes former ShopGirl and lifestyles editor, Jenny Coon Peterson, with her first piece of published fiction. We knew her when.
Local attorney Kent F. Frates Oklahoma Courthouse Legends (Courthouse Legends LLC, $49.95) takes
a county-by-county look at state courthouses and the notables who
either served there or had justice served upon them there. As
fascinating as the architecture and personalities featured is the crisp
color photography by David G. Fitzgerald, whose work is never less than
The Garner Files (Simon & Schuster, $25.99) by
James Garner and Jon Winokur, recounts the life and career of
Oklahomas first draftee of the Korean War. Of course, we know him now
as the star of TVs The Rockford Files and Maverick. At the end,
Garner rates his own movies and pulls no punches, i.e. Another piece of
crap and [The director] didnt know his ass from second base.
seemingly as many entries as those For Dummies titles is Arcadia
Publishings Images of America collection. Although the publisher is
based in South Carolina, it offers 56 books dedicated to cities,
counties, groups and other aspects of the Sooner State, including two
new ones: Route 66 in Oklahoma by Joe Sonderman and Jim Ross, and Guthrie and Logan County by Glen V. McIntyre. Whether youre a frequent traveler or an armchair historian, these photo-packed paperbacks ($21.99) should delight.
Once the head of the University of Oklahomas journalism college, David Dary shares more than 50 Stories of Old-Time Oklahoma (University of Oklahoma Press, $24.95) in
a collection that reprints many columns originally published in The
Norman Transcript to celebrate the states centennial. Rather than rest,
however, Dary has revised them for this hardback, and added some that
never had seen print. Among other things, he writes about the naming of
our towns, the outlaws who tore across them, the treasures that never
were found in them, and the disasters that befell them.
state as photogenic as ours deserves some solid books of photography
ready-made for display on your coffee table. Just keep coffee and other
beverages away from them.
Life at the Kiowa, Comanche, and Wichita Agency: The Photographs of Annette Ross Hume (University of Oklahoma Press, $34.95) presents the work of a 19th-century shutterbug in Anadarko, with text by Kristina L. Southwell and John R. Lovett.
J. Don Cooks Shooting from the Hip: Photographs and Essays (University of Oklahoma Press, $29.95) may
bear a pun of a title, but the OKC resident is a seriously good
photographer. How else could he convince James Garner to provide the
Finally, Portrait of a Generation: The Children of Oklahoma Sons and Daughters of the Red Earth (Southwestern Publishing, $65) is
a charming collection of beautiful shots by M.J. Alexander that is as
much a tribute to the land as it is to those of us lucky enough to live
Check it out
Do you trust your friends to take good care of the books you loan them? Then godspeed, and pick up the Personal Library Kit (Knock Knock, $16) to keep them honest. It contains 20 self-adhesive pockets to stick into the endpapers, plus the checkout cards, a date stamp with ink pad, and an appropriate nub of a pencil. What your charge for late fees is up to you, but I recommend stiff penalties.