New York City might be home to the big houses, but this scrappy city just happens to be the epicenter of publishing on the Best Coast. Join Alexis Coe every Wednesday for Read Local, a series on books produced in the Bay Area.
By now, you're likely making good progress on your Christmas shopping list. If not in execution, than at least in theory, right? With less than a week to go, store shelves are starting to look rather bare, so if you're still in search of good ideas, here are four great options from Chronicle books.
For that special 4-10 year old in your life:
We can't all live in Hawaii. Sure, the weather is nice, and there are plenty of tasty tropical fruits, but jobs are scarce and housing is expensive. Author Marilyn Singer more or less applies this kind of pragmatic advice to animals who have chosen habitats that have "less competition and more safety from predators." In A Strange Place to Call Home: The World's Most Dangerous Habitats & the Animals That Call Them Home ($16.99), blind fish find their way through the deepest, darkest caves and ice worms multiply by the billions in inhospitable glaciers. The habitats of 14 animals are explored through an arsenal of witty, charming, and downright weird poetic verse. Caldecott winning illustrator Ed Young offers simply stunning abstract paper cuts as he "celebrates some of these great adapters and the risky places they live."
For anyone 13-Infinity years old:
Chronicle tasked 75 of today's most-talented illustrators to address life's big questions, while working scientists penned the essays in The Where, The Why, and The How. A variety of mysteries guaranteed to engage both sides of your brain are explored in much more detail than you could ever get from a basic Google search, and yet the succinct information presented is not overwhelming. The topics themselves vary greatly in both seriousness and complexity, always in the form of questions: Why do we blush? Are there more than three dimensions? Is sexual orientation innate? Do immortal creatures exist?
I suggest you buy two copies of The Where, The Why, and The How: 75 Artists Illustrate Wondrous Mysteries of Science by Jenny Volvoski, Julia Rothman, and Matt Lamothe ($24.95), lest you be tempted to keep the present all for yourself.
For the budding blogger:
When Blog INC: Blogging for Passion, Profit, and to Create Community ($16.95) arrived, I avoided it for weeks, worrying it would not be substantial enough to hold my interest, or informative enough for me to recommend to the many bloggers, both nascent and experienced, who are on my gift list.
My fears were allayed as soon as I opened the book. This is nothing short of an authoritative handbook that progresses alongside the blogger, from initial questions -- Tumblr or WordPress? -- to pragmatic business advice, like health insurance and understanding analytics. The abundance of useful information is interspersed with truly inspiring and interesting interviews with successful bloggers of every genre, including Emily Schuman of Cupcakes and Cashmere and Joel Henriques of Made By Joel.
For everyone, everywhere:
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