Jessica Stockton Bagnulo,
686 Fulton St., at S. Portland St., Fort Greene, 718-246-0200
The gift: And The Pursuit of Happiness by Maira Kalman
"A delightful and lavishly produced collection of the artist's years-long illustrated series for the New York Times, where her quirky sensibilities, instinct for the flash of color, and compassionate curiosity are on display. It's an exploration of American democracy that reveals the idiosyncratic humanity underneath our most sacred political figures and institutions—perhaps just what we need in a contentious political time."
172 Allen St., nr. Stanton St., 212-777-6028
The gift: The Girl Must Die by Erika Lopez
"The Girl Must Die is the most raucous, beautifully tenacious little stocking stuffer you'll find this year. Made complete by Lopez's gritty black-and-white illustrations, it's not just a book—it's an object of art in itself. This is the perfect book for your loudly inappropriate best friend, your crazy unmarried aunt, or your fantastic badass self. The girl must die so the woman can live, and whatever doesn't kill you will eventually turn you on."
Books of Wonder
18 W. 18th St., nr. Fifth Ave., 212-989-3270
The gift: Lulu and the Brontosaurus by Judith Viorst
"Lulu and the Brontosaurus by Judith Viorst is pretty much as close to perfect as a simple chapter book can get, and Lane Smith's inspired black-and-white illustrations capture all the humor, energy, and magic of this delightful romp. Imagine a little girl who, when her parents won't give her a brontosaurus, sets out on her own to find one. And she does. The only problem is the brontosaurus doesn't want to be Lulu's pet—she wants Lulu to be her pet! Add to this a spirited narrator whose outrageous asides to the reader will have everyone in stitches, and you have a book guaranteed to be a hit with everyone!"
Partners & Crime Mystery Booksellers
44 Greenwich Ave., at Charles St., 212-243-0440
The gift: Hypothermia and Arctic Chill by Arnaldur Indridason
"Looking for the next Stieg Larsson? We recommend Iceland's Arnaldur Indridason and his Detective Erlunder for clear-eyed (if dark) observations on contemporary Reykjavík society, moody nordic sensibility, and the way these compelling novels linger after the last page is turned."
Bonnie Slotnick Cookbooks
163 W. 10th St., nr. Waverly Pl., 212-989-8962
The gift: The Country Kitchen by Della T. Lutes
"The Country Kitchen by Della T. Lutes is a memoir of growing up on a Michigan farm in the 1880s in a food-centric family—or at least it seemed food-centric to her. It goes by season, so you can start reading in the winter and follow them back through the spring, and you really get to know the people. The cover is done in red and white gingham, so it's also really about the book as object. I call it the 'counter-Kindle.'"
540 Metropolitan Ave., nr. Lorimer St., Williamsburg, 718-388-5087
The gift: Seasons by Blexbolex
"Blexbolex is a French comics artist and illustrator whose distinctive blocky color artwork speaks of his printmaking background. His work has long been difficult to see in the U.S., but the Brooklyn publisher Enchanted Lion Books is beginning to publish his work. Seasons is a beautiful cloth-bound art book masquerading as a children's book and will appeal to anyone with a taste for modernist art. Each colorful page evokes fifties block printing and contains descriptive words or phrases, which have a poetic cumulative effect as you flip thought the book. Brilliant stuff."
David Del Vecchio,
12 W. 19th St., nr. Fifth Ave., 212-414-8888
The gift: Istanbul Eats by Ansel Mullins and Yigal Schleifer
"Our hottest book this season by far, believe it or not, is a new restaurant guide called Istanbul Eats. We carry the book exclusively (it's not available in other bookstores or on Amazon), and we're selling it by the stack both through word of mouth and because so many people come into the store who are going to Istanbul. It's adapted from a popular food blog. Excellent, long-overdue guide to one of the foodie capitals of the world."