What better gift for your loved ones, whether family or friends, than putting the world in their hands? Here are eight fabulous gift books that cover many corners of the globe, as well as covering every person on your list.
1. Red Star Over Russia: A Visual History of the Soviet Union From the Revolution to the Death of Stalin, by David King. Part art book, part history book, the cinema verité style of this hipster coffee-table softcover will please all the great-looking bearded and calf-tattooed 20- to 30-somethings in your life. And it might just please your mom and dad, who went on a tour of the city (then known as Leningrad) with a group from their synagogue in the late 1980s. (Abrams, 352 pages, $45)
2. New York: Through a Fashion Eye, by Megan Hess. This hardcover book is beautiful from every point of view, with gold-edged pages and an inside cover that looks like a wallpaper I’d want to buy. The lovely illustrations touch on every fashionable spot, from the New York Public Library to the Henri Bendel shop to the Soho Grand Hotel to the Chelsea flea market. (Hardie Grant, 208 pages, $25)
3. Tokyo Precincts: A Curated Guide to the City’s Best Shops, Eateries, Bars and Other Hangouts, by Steve Wide and Michelle Mackintosh, goes beyond fashion with highly stylized, artsy photos that show you where to eat, where to drink and where to simply kill some time in Japan’s capital. If Tokyo is even half as fun as this hardcover book, I’m there! (Hardie Grant, 256 pages, $30)
4. Variety: An Illustrated History of the World From the Most Important Magazine in Hollywood, by Tim Gray. Could there be anything more celebrity-centric than viewing history through the lens of one glittery corner of Los Angeles? Not really. And that’s why this hardcover is such a pleasure. The egomania of Hollywood is in glorious bloom in this fabulous photo-illustrated coffee-table book. (Rizzoli, 320 pages, $50)
5. Baltimore Graffiti: The Definitive Charm City Style Collection, by Michael Sachse, is also the definitive Charm City hardcover gift book. No one knows better than the people who live here that “The City that Reads”—aka “The Greatest City in America” and so on—also has some of the best graffiti in the world. Why not have your kids memorize the tags and then make a game of this book, identifying who’s who as you drive together across town? (Schiffer, 208 pages, $45)
6. Tintin: Hergé’s Masterpiece, by Pierre Sterckx, will take you to Brussels, where Tintin first appeared in 1929 as a celebrated comic strip. Loaded with rarely seen sketches and drawings, Tintin, in hardcover, chronicles Hergé’s development from a playful amateur to a full-fledged artist. This is the perfect book to introduce young people to one of Europe’s greatest cartoonists. (Rizzoli, 240 pages, $40)
7. Intricate Coloring Book for Adults Vol. 3 will transport the adult coloring enthusiasts in your life to Africa. The beautifully rendered designs feature animals, masks, people and African-inspired florals that will hypnotize your giftees with their minute detail. Include a pack of colored pencils with this softcover book, whose finely drawn images demand them, and not crayons. (Art Therapy Coloring, 88 pages, $13)
8. Miniscapes: Create Your Own Terrarium, by Clea Cregan, is for the introvert in your life, the person who wants to travel inward to a smaller Earth, smaller spaces, tiny containers of recreated terrain. I like to pretend I’m someone who would actually drive to Michael’s and buy the stuff necessary to make one of these microworlds. Give me this hardcover book, and we’ll see if that’s true! (Hardie Grant, 160 pages, $25)
Conveniently, most of these cool books can be found at the Ivy Bookshop—ivybookshop .com/410-377-2966—and/or AtomicBooks—atomicbooks.com/410-662-4444. But please call ahead to be certain.