When I’m unsure of what to get someone during the holidays, especially when they fall into the dreaded category of “the person who already has everything” I always turn to books. Yes, some may consider this a risky move – sometimes seen as imposing or telling of what you think about the giftee. But if you consider the person’s hobbies or interests – if they love astronomy or have started gardening or growing their food during the pandemic – your gift should be well-received. Should. Disclaimer: Please consider who you’ll be gifting a book to and how picky of a gift receiver they are. Your fiancé may be expecting a little more than “Growing Your Own Food” this year.
Afraid of gifting an educational book that’s met with a “why are you gifting me study material?” face? Check out our list of informational, but still enjoyable, book-gifting ideas.
Pocket Ref 4th edition by Thomas J. Glover
The concise all-purpose pocket-sized reference book featuring abundant information on many subjects, hundreds of tables, maps, formulas, constants and conversions. If you need to know it, it is in this book!
With over 100,000 copies sold since first publication, this is one of the most popular astronomy books of all time. It is a unique guidebook to the night sky, providing all the information you need to observe a whole host of celestial objects. With a new spiral binding, this edition is even easier to use outdoors at the telescope and is the ideal beginner’s book. Keeping its distinct one-object-per-spread format, this edition is also designed for Dobsonian telescopes, as well as for smaller reflectors and refractors, and covers Southern hemisphere objects in more detail. Large-format eyepiece views, positioned side-by-side, show objects exactly as they are seen through a telescope, and with improved directions, updated tables of astronomical information and an expanded night-by-night Moon section, it has never been easier to explore the night sky on your own. Many additional resources are available on the accompanying website, www.cambridge.org/turnleft.
Space Atlas combines updated maps, lavish photographs, and elegant illustrations to chart the solar system, the universe, and beyond for space enthusiasts, science lovers, and star gazers, the newly revised edition of National Geographic’s enduring guide to space, with a new introduction by American hero Buzz Aldrin. A guided tour of our planetary neighborhood, the Milky Way and other galaxies, and beyond, with detailed maps and fascinating imagery from recent space missions partnered with clear, authoritative scientific information. Starting with the sun and moving outward into space, acclaimed science writer and physicist James Trefil illuminates each planet, the most important moons, significant asteroids, and other objects in our solar system. Looking beyond, he explains what we know about the Milky Way and other galaxies–and how we know it, with clear explanations of the basics of astrophysics, including dark matter and gravitational waves. For this new edition, and to celebrate the 50th anniversary of his moonwalk, astronaut and American hero Buzz Aldrin offers a new special section on Earth’s moon and its essential role in space exploration past and future.
An eye-opening, original collection of gorgeous, never-before-seen photographic representations of the 118 elements in the periodic table.
The elements are what we, and everything around us, are made of. But how many elements has anyone actually seen in pure, uncombined form? The Elements provides this rare opportunity. Based on seven years of research and photography, the pictures in this book make up the most complete, and visually arresting, representation available to the naked eye of every atom in the universe. Organized in order of appearance on the periodic table, each element is represented by a spread that includes a stunning, full-page, full-color photograph that most closely represents it in its purest form. For example, at -183°C, oxygen turns from a colorless gas to a beautiful pale blue liquid.
Also included are fascinating facts, figures, and stories of the elements as well as data on the properties of each, including atomic weight, density, melting and boiling point, valence, electronegativity, and the year and location in which it was discovered. Several additional photographs show each element in slightly altered forms or as used in various practical ways. The element’s position on the periodic table is pinpointed on a mini rendering of the table and an illustrated scale of the element’s boiling and/or melting points appears on each page along with a density scale that runs along the bottom.
Packed with interesting information, this combination of solid science and stunning artistic photographs is the perfect gift book for every sentient creature in the universe.
Includes a tear-out poster of Theodore Gray’s iconic Photographic Periodic Table!
A visionary new master class in cooking that distills decades of professional experience into just four simple elements, from the woman declared “America’s next great cooking teacher” by Alice Waters. In the tradition of The Joy of Cooking and How to Cook Everything comes Salt, Fat, Acid, Heat, an ambitious new approach to cooking by a major new culinary voice. Chef and writer Samin Nosrat has taught everyone from professional chefs to middle school kids to author Michael Pollan to cook using her revolutionary, yet simple, philosophy. Master the use of just four elements—Salt, which enhances flav∨ Fat, which delivers flavor and generates texture; Acid, which balances flav∨ and Heat, which ultimately determines the texture of food—and anything you cook will be delicious. By explaining the hows and whys of good cooking, Salt, Fat, Acid, Heat will teach and inspire a new generation of cooks how to confidently make better decisions in the kitchen and cook delicious meals with any ingredients, anywhere, at any time. Echoing Samin’s own journey from culinary novice to award-winning chef, Salt, Fat Acid, Heat immediately bridges the gap between home and professional kitchens. With charming narrative, illustrated walkthroughs, and a lighthearted approach to kitchen science, Samin demystifies the four elements of good cooking for everyone. Refer to the canon of 100 essential recipes—and dozens of variations—to put the lessons into practice and make bright, balanced vinaigrettes, perfectly caramelized roast vegetables, tender braised meats, and light, flaky pastry doughs. Featuring 150 illustrations and infographics that reveal an atlas to the world of flavor by renowned illustrator Wendy MacNaughton, Salt, Fat, Acid, Heat will be your compass in the kitchen. Destined to be a classic, it just might be the last cookbook you’ll ever need. With a foreword by Michael Pollan.
Python Crash Course by Eric Matthes
Python is the most popular programming language for beginners because it’s fun, powerful, and easy to learn. So why should your introductory Python book be long and tedious? Python Crash Course gets you up and running with Python, teaching you the basics quickly so that you can solve problems, make things, and do cool stuff. Each chapter explains a new programming concept and includes a set of exercises to help reinforce your new knowledge. But most important of all, Python Crash Course includes three hands-on projects to put your new programming skills into practice, so it’s not just syntax and theory. You’ll learn how to create a simple video game, use data visualization techniques to make interactive graphs and charts, and build a simple Web application. Python Crash Course teaches you Python the fun way—it’s quick, hands-on, and totally useful.
Darryl Cheng offers a new way to grow healthy house plants. He teaches the art of understanding a plant’s needs and giving it a home with the right balance of light, water, and nutrients. After reading Cheng, the indoor gardener will be far less the passive follower of rules for the care of each species and much more the confident, active grower, relying on observation and insight. And in the process, the plant owner becomes a plant lover, bonded to these beautiful living things by a simple love and appreciation of nature. The New Plant Parent covers all of the basics of growing house plants, from finding the right light, to everyday care like watering and fertilizing, to containers, to recommended species. Cheng’s friendly tone, personal stories, and accessible photographs fill his book with the same generous spirit that has made @houseplantjournal, his Instagram account, a popular source of advice and inspiration for thousands of indoor gardeners.
In All New Square Food Gardening, 3rd Edition, the best-selling gardening book in North America is re-launched and updated for the next generation of gardeners and beyond.
Since Square Foot Gardening was first introduced in 1981, the revolutionary new way to garden developed by Mel Bartholomew has helped millions of home gardeners grow more fresh produce in less space and with less work. Now, based largely on the input and experience of these millions, the system has been even further refined and improved to fully meet today’s changing resources, needs, and challenges.
With over 150 new photos and illustrations, this new edition makes it easier than ever to achieve nearly-foolproof results in virtually any situation: 100% of the produce; 20% of the water; 5% of the work.
Perfect for experienced Square-Foot-Gardeners or beginners, the original method created by Mel has not changed in any significant way with this new 3rd edition of All New Square Foot Gardening. It remains: build a box; fill it with Mel’s Mix; add a grid. But along with the classic steps, you will find some interesting and compelling new information, such as:
- Adding trellises and archways
- Substituting with new materials
- Adding automatic watering systems
- “Thinking Outside the Box” with creative configurations and shapes
- Square Foot Gardening in dense urban areas with little or no yard
- Square Foot Gardening with kids
- Crop protection
Don’t wait another season to try Mel’s brilliant approach to gardening! We’re sure it will work for you and you won’t look back.
Rose Book of Bible Charts, Maps & Time Lines is an outstanding study, teaching and pastor reference resource for understanding biblical dates, geography, events, and much more. Compare Bible times and now at a single glance. Look inside the Tabernacle and Solomon’s Temple. Compare religions. There are literally thousands of facts to enrich one’s Bible study, understanding, and teaching. Here is a sampling of the content found in this bestselling book: Full-color Bible Charts Overviews of the Old and New Testaments The Creation Maps that compare Bible and modern times The Holy Land: The Middle East; Where Jesus Walked Paul’s Journeys Detailed illustrations of the Tabernacle, Temple and High Priest The Tabernacle Palm Sunday to Easter Biblical and historical Time Lines Christian History Timeline Bible Time Line How We Got the Bible Christianity, Cults & Religions Denominations Comparison Islam & Christianity
An illustrated tutorial of prehistoric to contemporary world art, from cave paintings to video art installations to digital and Internet media in an easy-to-understand format. This heavily illustrated crash course in art history is revised and updated from the second edition published in 2007. Featuring succinct page-length essays, instructive sidebars, and more than 300 photographs, The Annotated Mona Lisa: A Crash Course in Art History from Prehistoric to Present takes art education out of the realm of dreary textbooks, demystifies jargon and theory, and makes the history of art movements accessible to beginning art museum-goers – even at a cursory reading. From Stonehenge to the Guggenheim and from African art to Warhol, more than 25,000 years of art is distilled into five sections (prehistoric and medieval, renaissance and baroque, the nineteenth century, modern art, and contemporary art) covering a little more than 230 pages.
Learning Japanese Hiragana and Katakana: A Workbook for Self-Study by Kenneth G.Henshall
Learning Hiragana and Katakana is a systematic and comprehensive Japanese workbook that can be used along with a Japanese language textbook or as a stand-alone resource to learn the Japanese alphabet (kana).Written Japanese combines three different types of characters: the Chinese characters known as kanji, and two Japanese sets of phonetic letters, hiragana and katakana, known collectively as kana, that must be mastered before the Japanese kanji can be learned. For students learning Japanese who wish to understand the basics of reading and writing Japanese kanji and kana, Learning Japanese Hiragana and Katakana, a best-selling book since 1990, is a favorite tool of students and teachers worldwide. The new third edition has been expanded and revised to include many additional reading and writing exercises. Accompanying online recordings demonstrate the correct pronunciation of all the characters, vocabulary, and sentences in the book. Learning Japanese Hiragana and Katakana provides beginning-level students of Japanese a thorough grounding in the basic hiragana and katakana phonetic symbols or syllabaries. A comprehensive introduction presents their basic function, origin, pronunciation and usage. The main body of the book is devoted to presenting the 92 hira and kata characters along with their variations, giving step-by-step guidelines on how to write each character neatly in the correct stroke order, with plentiful practice spaces provided for handwriting practice. Interspersed among the practice pages are regular review sections containing reading and writing exercises designed to help the reader consolidate the meaning and usage of newly introduced characters. This is essential to read Japanese as well as to write Japanese. Additional practice sections at the end of each chapter and at the end of the book provide fun exercises, quizzes, and extended reading and writing practice to help beginning Japanese language students take their first steps toward attaining fluency in reading and writing Japanese. This workbook is a perfect companion to Tuttle Publishing’s Japanese Hiragana & Katakana for Beginners or any other Japanese textbook on the market and is an essential reference tool to learn Japanese. This workbook includes: Systematic and comprehensive coverage of the two Japanese kana systems, Ample provision for Japanese kana practice, review, and self-testing at several levels, Detailed reference section explaining the origin and function of kana, and the various kana combinations, Access to online Japanese audio files to aid in correct pronunciation, Helpful additional information for language students accustomed to romanized Japanese Vocabulary selected for usefulness and cultural relevance.
These seven “short lessons” guide us, with admirable clarity, through the scientific revolution that shook physics in the twentieth century and still continues to shake us today. In this short, playful, entertaining and mind-bending introduction to modern physics, Rovelli explains Einstein’s theory of general relativity, quantum mechanics, black holes, the complex architecture of the universe, elementary particles, gravity, and the nature of the mind. In under one hundred pages, readers will understand the most transformative scientific discoveries of the twentieth century. Not since Richard Feynman’s celebrated best-seller Six Easy Pieces has physics been so vividly, intelligently and entertainingly revealed. Carlo Rovelli is an eminent physicist with an extraordinary ability to write about complex topics in a lucid, clear prose. His book was top of the bestseller charts in Italy for months and has sold over 150,000 copies since publication in November. He is the head of the Équipe de Gravité Quantique at the Theoretical Physics Department of Aix-Marseille University. It has sold in over a dozen languages.
Spiders, bugs, moths, butterflies, beetles, bees, flies, dragonflies, grasshoppers, and many other insects are detailed in more than 700 full-color photographs visually arranged by shape and color. Descriptive text includes measurements, diagnostic details, and information on habitat, range, feeding habits, sounds or songs, flight period, web construction, life cycle, behaviors, folklore, and environmental impact. An illustrated key to the insect orders and detailed drawings of the parts of insects, spiders, and butterflies supplement this extensive coverage.
Introduced in 1977 and completely revised in 1994, these bestselling photographic field guides have become the birding bibles of more than four million enthusiasts. Virtually every bird found in North America is brought to life in a full-color photograph and with textual information on the bird’s voice, nesting habits, habitat, range, and interesting behaviors. Accompanying range maps; overhead flight silhouettes; sections on bird-watching, accidental species, and endangered birds make these the most comprehensive field guides to birds available. Note: the Western Edition covers the Rocky Mountain range and all the states to the west of it, while the Eastern Edition generally covers states east of the Rocky Mountains.
An inspired tribute to the astonishing beauty and priceless cultural treasures of America’s National Parks, this volume is a lavish celebration of the 100th anniversary of the National Park Service. “National Geographic The National Parks” collects the very best of National Geographic’s photographs, combined with an expertly told history: from the multi-hued layers of the Grand Canyon to the verdigris flame of the Statue of Liberty, this book presents a breathtaking panorama of the National Parks.With the stories behind the first female park ranger, a decidedly amateur scuba expedition that unearthed a submerged Civil War treasure trove, and so much more, Heacox takes readers on a VIP tour of America’s rich natural and cultural heritage. The full sweep of wonders–from pristine coral reefs to the Gettysburg battlefield to glaciers and all the glorious diversity in between–offers a breathtaking tour of the very best of America’s national treasures.
From recreation areas and trails to historic sites, from nature hikes to seashores, this comprehensive travel guide and reference to the United States National Parks has been completely revised and updated, with a brand-new cover, more than 30 new photos, and 15 new properties that have been approved by President Barack Obama since the publication of the first edition. The ultimate travel planner and reference guide for all things national parks, this 544-page resource from National Geographic is filled with full-color photos, detailed maps, historical background, and practical facts on the location of the park system properties, as well as the best times to visit and top-rated activities.
Bird by Bird Some Instructions on Writing and Life by Anne Lamott
“Thirty years ago my older brother, who was ten years old at the time, was trying to get a report on birds written that he’d had three months to write. It was due the next day. We were out at our family cabin in Bolinas, and he was at the kitchen table close to tears, surrounded by binder paper and pencils and unopened books on birds, immobilized by the hugeness of the task ahead. Then my father sat down beside him, put his arm around my brother’s shoulder, and said, ‘Bird by bird, buddy. Just take it bird by bird.'”
A practical guide for beginner and advanced comic book writers that outlines the steps needed to successfully craft a story for sequential art. With this latest book in the SCAD Creative Essentials series from the esteemed Savannah College of Art and Design, comics writer and instructor Mark Kneece gives aspiring comic book writers the essential tools they need to write scripts for sequential art with confidence and success. He provides a practical set of guidelines favored by many comic book publishers and uses a unique trial and error approach to show would-be scribes the potential pitfalls they might encounter when seeking a career in comics writing. Supported by examples of scripting from SCAD’s students, faculty, and alumni, The Art of Comic Book Writing strips away the mysteries of this popular artform and provides real-world advice and easy-to-follow examples for those looking to write for the comics medium.
A nostalgic compendium of essential knowledge that can help you show the world that you’re smarter than a ten-year-old after all! Have you ever stared blankly at your kids when they’ve asked why the sky is blue? Or clumsily changed the subject when they’ve wanted to know why the wind blows? If you’re done with school, it’s likely you’re also done knowing the difference between an isosceles and equilateral triangle, and you probably leave participles dangling all over the place. Well, not anymore! Thanks to professional know-it-alls Foley and Coates, you can now gain back your self-respect and actually show those kids a thing or two as you tell it to them straight (and not make it up from fragments of facts you kind of remember). Packed with all the basic facts that have managed to free-fall from our heads over the years, Homework for Grown-ups is the ultimate grammar school refresher course in book form. In fact, there’s even a quiz at the end of each chapter to ensure you’ve been paying attention! Written in the light, engaging style of a favorite teacher and featuring lessons in English, math, history, science, geography, art, and even home economics and recess, this fun and handy guide will help you stop hemming and hawing and start speaking with a lot more authority and a little less shame. E. FOLEY and B. COATES are editors at Vintage who both live in London.
A New York Times Bestseller. “It’s no exaggeration to say that Behave is one of the best nonfiction books I’ve ever read.” — David P. Barash, The Wall Street Journal “A quirky, opinionated and magisterial synthesis of psychology and neurobiology…Darwin would have been thrilled.” – Richard Wrangham, The New York Times Book Review From the celebrated neurobiologist and primatologist, a landmark, genre-defining examination of human behavior, both good and bad, and an answer to the question: Why do we do the things we do? Sapolsky’s storytelling concept is delightful but it also has a powerful intrinsic logic: he starts by looking at the factors that bear on a person’s reaction in the precise moment a behavior occurs, and then hops back in time from there, in stages, ultimately ending up at the deep history of our species and its evolutionary legacy. And so the first category of explanation is the neurobiological one. A behavior occurs–whether an example of humans at our best, worst, or somewhere in between. What went on in a person’s brain a second before the behavior happened? Then Sapolsky pulls out to a slightly larger field of vision, a little earlier in time: What sight, sound, or smell caused the nervous system to produce that behavior? And then, what hormones acted hours to days earlier to change how responsive that individual is to the stimuli that triggered the nervous system? By now he has increased our field of vision so that we are thinking about neurobiology and the sensory world of our environment and endocrinology in trying to explain what happened. Sapolsky keeps going: How was that behavior influenced by structural changes in the nervous system over the preceding months, by that person’s adolescence, childhood, fetal life, and then back to his or her genetic makeup? Finally, he expands the view to encompass factors larger than one individual. How did culture shape that individual’s group, what ecological factors millennia old formed that culture? And on and on, back to evolutionary factors millions of years old. The result is one of the most dazzling tours d’horizon of the science of human behavior ever attempted, a majestic synthesis that harvests cutting-edge research across a range of disciplines to provide a subtle and nuanced perspective on why we ultimately do the things we do…for good and for ill. Sapolsky builds on this understanding to wrestle with some of our deepest and thorniest questions relating to tribalism and xenophobia, hierarchy and competition, morality and free will, and war and peace. Wise, humane, often very funny, Behave is a towering achievement, powerfully humanizing, and downright heroic in its own right.