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Arts & Culture

This Christmas, give books

To your friends, your family or yourself

We won’t waste time trying to justify why you should buy books; if you’re in the books-are-dead crowd, you’re probably not reading this. But if you agree that books still matter, you already know that they are the perfect present – they can help pass an hour or change the direction of a life. What other gift has so much power? Not socks, that’s for damn sure.

And hey, we’re no purists; fit each book to its use. You’ll want to experience The Wes Anderson Collection in all its weighty coffee-table beauty, whereas some of our more prosaic cookbook picks may be most useful in the kitchen as a Kindle edition. Just remember, it’s tough to fetchingly wrap a wireless transmission.

[To see this post as a slideshow, click here.]

COOK

A baker’s dozen of the year’s best cookbooks

Le Livre Blanc by Anne-Sophie Pic (Jacqui Small): Stunning photography highlights artful dishes by one of the world’s true top chefs.

René Redzepi: A Work in Progress by René Redzepi (Phaidon Press): The Scandinavian chef’s journey of self-discovery charted in cookbook, journal and snapshots.

Elizabeth David on Vegetables by Elizabeth David (Studio): Reissue of a simple yet world-changing masterwork.

Robicelli’s: A Love Story, With Cupcakes: With 50 Decidedly Grown-Up Recipes by Allison and Matt Robicelli (Viking Books): Tart prose matches adult flavors.

Vegan Secret Supper: Bold & Elegant Menus from a Rogue Kitchen by Mérida Anderson (Arsenal Pulp Press): Innovative dishes sourced from the underground supper club.

Balaboosta by Einat Admony (Artisan): Like an Israeli Nigella Lawson, Admony is more home cook, less fancy chef.

Ivan Ramen: Love, Obsession and Recipes from Tokyo’s Most Unlikely Noodle Joint by Ivan Orkin (Ten Speed Press): A man, a plan, a bowl: Ivan. Recipes From an Edwardian Country House: Classic Tastes From the English Stately Home by Jane Fearnley-Whittingstall (Atria Books): Get your Downton on.

Pok Pok: Food and Stories from the Streets, Homes and Roadside Restaurants of Thailand by Andy Ricker (Ten Speed Press): Travelogue-cum-cookbook of so-called humble dishes.

The Four & Twenty Blackbirds Pie Book: Uncommon Recipes from the Celebrated Brooklyn Pie Shop by Emily and Melissa Elsen (Grand Central): Unexpected flavors and high-low combos.

Smoke and Pickles: Recipes and Stories From a New Southern Kitchen by Edward Lee (Artisan): Korean-Southern fusion from the Top Chef: Texas fan favorite.

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