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A book can be the perfect present, as long as you keep in mind the recipient’s passions and personality when making your selection. Our 14 picks below, all released in 2022, are likely to appeal to many on your holiday gift list — whether they’re film fans, art lovers, royals watchers, happiness seekers, home bakers, traveling foodies, skywatchers or history buffs.
Creativity and the arts
Number One Is Walking: My Life in the Movies and Other Diversions by Steve Martin
The multitalented comedic entertainer relays anecdotes about his hobbies (banjo playing, for one) and experiences making iconic films such as The Jerk, Dirty Rotten Scoundrels, and Planes, Trains and Automobiles. Martin, 77, writes that while creating the last, he and costar John Candy “ad-libbed so much that the film reel ran out.” It’s a charming, lighthearted memoir, illustrated comic-strip style by New Yorker cartoonist Harry Bliss.
The Extraordinary Life of an Ordinary Man by Paul Newman, written with David Rosenthal
You don’t have to be a huge Newman fan to find this posthumous memoir/biography fascinating. Compiled in part from the acting legend’s own writings, it’s stunningly revealing, full of expressions of self-doubt, regret and uncertainty from a man many still view as an icon of cool masculinity. The actor’s goal, he wrote, was to “leave some kind of record that sets things straight, pokes holes in the mythology that’s sprung up around me.”
In the Black Fantastic by Ekow Eshun
For a unique gift, consider this gorgeous book — an illustrated interpretation of Black culture through wildly imaginative art and photography from across the world, broken up into themes like “migration” and “liberation,” by British writer and curator Eshun. It’s meant to emphasize that “there is no finite criteria or barrier to what being Black looks like,” Eshun has said. The book is based on a recent high-profile exhibition of the same name at London’s Hayward Gallery that Vogue called “the must-see exhibition of the summer.”
Inspiration and self-help
Inciting Joy by Ross Gay
The award-winning poet and author of 2019’s best-selling The Book of Delights offers a new collection of lyrical and insightful personal essays about love, family and finding happiness. They include weighty topics such as the death of his father, but the core of the book is his premise that “joy and pain are fundamentally tangled up with one another.” Or, Gay asks, “what if joy is not only entangled with pain, or suffering, or sorrow, but is also what emerges from how we care for each other through those things?”
Maybe You Should Talk to Someone: A Guided Journal by Lori Gottlieb
Gottlieb, author of the best-selling memoir about her therapy practice, Maybe You Should Talk to Someone: A Therapist, Her Therapist, and Our Lives Revealed, and cohost of the popular Dear Therapists podcast, offers a new companion journal to her 2019 book, structured in 52 sections meant to mirror a year of weekly therapy sessions. They include prompts to encourage reflection and insight for what she predicts will be “a life-changing conversation with yourself.”
Kurashi at Home: How to Organize Your Space and Achieve Your Ideal Life by Marie Kondo
The author of the 2010 mega-hit The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up explores the joy that can be found beyond a decluttered house, whatever one’s income, by identifying and adopting kurashi, or “the ideal way of spending our time.” She believes that understanding and prioritizing what truly makes you happy will help guide you in creating tranquil spaces throughout your home.
The Love Prescription: 7 Days to More Intimacy, Connection, and Joy by John Gottman and Julie Schwartz Gottman
The authors, who’ve been married for more than three decades, are clinical psychologists who’ve spent their careers studying love and relationship issues. Their new guide is an easily digestible distillation of their wisdom into “bite-sized” weeklong action plans for partners hoping to deepen their bonds. One key takeaway? Love is not about grand gestures (“It’s not John Cusack standing outside your bedroom window with a boom box,” they write) but about “little things done often” — predictable ways of connecting that you can design together and can count on.