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Buy the Book: Gifts for This Holiday Season

While there are toughies on everyone’s list, usually there are others that graciously—and genuinely—love everything they receive. Booklovers comprise one such category. Their curiosity makes them agreeable to any pretty volume containing wisdom worth sharing.

Plus books make great gifts, so we couldn’t help but suggest several of our favorites this season. Even non-bibliophiles will relish judging these new releases by their winsome covers.

FENDI by Karl Lagerfeld

FENDI by Karl Lagerfeld
Fashion fans will love taking a peek into Maestro Lagerfeld’s personal sketches. Done during his tenure at Fendi, these colorful illustrations showcase his influences and stylish preoccupations—on everything from Eskimos to informatics. While the drawings conjure couture-clad fantasylands, the actual book is so neatly packaged (in an artful crate, with digital and paper versions) as to be a playful escape itself.

A Photographic Memory 1968-1989 by Peter Schlesinger
Photographer Peter Schlesinger moved to London with the painter David Hockney in 1966. There he was thrust into the stratosphere of burgeoning celebrity. Showing the full range of his work from this period, including intimate shots of Andy Warhol, Cecil Beaton, Grace Coddington and others, plus his still lifes, A Photographic Memory is an unparalleled look through the lens of this great cultural documenter.

Vogue: Like a Painting, Edited by Lucy DaviesVogue Like a Painting by Lucy Davies
Both fashion and art enthusiasts will appreciate this tome based on the Museo Thyssen-Bornemisza’s exhibit, which highlighted overt or implicit references to European artworks in Vogue’s fashion photo shoots. Comparisons are drawn between the works of Mario Testino, Irving Penn, Peter Lindbergh, Annie Leibovitz and painters such as Vermeer, Hopper and Zurbarán.

Picasso Sculpture
Not since 1967 has Picasso’s three-dimensional work been displayed so significantly in the United States. MoMA’s retrospective (through February 7, 2016) features 150 of Picasso’s sculptural pieces, photographed for this book from various perspectives. From his early anatomical bronze figures to his wood carvings to his ceramics to his metal and public monuments, this book explores an often ignored but ever-present medium of this master’s work.

Diary: How to Improve the World (You Will Only Make Matters Worse) by John Cage
Avant-garde composer John Cage forever altered the landscape of American music and intellectualism. With his singular humor and creativity, he offers his take on life, as he’s lived it, in eight parts collected in this book and for the first time. Writing on an IBM Selectric typewriter and inserting rhythmic line breaks, these musings read like a work of music from this truly unique mind.

Modern History of Fashion by Daniel James Cole and Nancy Deihl Bitch Planet by Kelly Sue DeConnick and Valentine De Landro
Comic-book-loving pals (well, most) will adore this tribute to feminist exploitation literature. This sci-fi serial book features a planet occupied by rebellious women who challenge the patriarchy of their native sphere. Follow them as they subvert male privilege and authority in this extraterrestrial tale that tackles issues close to home for many on planet Earth.

The History of Modern Fashion by Daniel James Cole and Nancy Deihl
Take a long look at the styles that have shaped us from 1850 to the present. Historians Cole and Deihl expertly delve into archives and popular culture to highlight the looks that span centuries and trends—including the globalization of the industry and its leading labels.

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—Britt Olson