December 2015 Holiday Staff Picks

"Books make great gifts because they have whole worlds inside of them." - Neil Gaiman.

Our December staff picks make great gifts - for bibliophiles, history buffs, college students, mystery solvers, environmentalists, comics, and foodies...

Books: 
Staff Pick Logo
Fates and Furies Cover Image
$27.95
ISBN: 9781594634475
Availability: Usually Ships in 1-5 Days
Published: Riverhead Books - September 15th, 2015

Kim's Holiday Staff Pick, December 2015:

For the bibliophile.

This is an astounding epic in the classical sense of the word: a Greek tragedy told in sweeping language that moves the reader forward at a breakneck pace, showing how even in the most intimate of personal relationships, people rarely know one another as well as we believe we do.


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Fishbowl Cover Image
$24.99
ISBN: 9781250057808
Availability: Usually Ships in 1-5 Days
Published: St. Martin's Press - August 4th, 2015

Ron's Holiday Staff Pick, December 2015:

For the bibliophile.

In the opening pages of Fishbowl we meet Ian, who has just embarked on the journey of his life. Unfortunately for Ian, his journey is a plunge from the 27th story balcony of his apartment in the Seville on Roxy. Ian, it turns out, is a goldfish, which makes his journey no less ominous, but makes for an unusual and quirky perspective on the experience.
 
In the approximately four seconds it takes to reach his journey’s end, Ian introduces us to a group of the Seville’s residents, gives us glimpses into moments of their lives lived within the walls of the Seville, and weaves stories that are sympathetic, funny and tense.


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Best Boy Cover Image
$24.95
ISBN: 9781631490477
Availability: Usually Ships in 1-5 Days
Published: Liveright Publishing Corporation - August 24th, 2015

Ron's Holiday Staff Pick, December 2015:

For the bibliophile.

In Best Boy, Gottlieb tells the story of Todd Aaron, a 50 something year-old autistic man, who gets the name Best Boy because that’s what he’s called by all the residents of Payton Living Center, the community where he’s lived the last 40 years.

Todd’s heightened sensitivity to all things is made livable by the peaceful routines of his life in the community. When these are disturbed by a new roommate and a new member of the Payton Living Center staff, Todd, who senses danger, must find a way to cope.

Told in the first person, Best Boy captures the emotions, perceptions and inner voice of this intelligent, generous autistic man.

It’s a portrait worthy of the finest museum.
 
OK, it’s true, I have a special place in my heart for Eli Gottlieb because he was the first author to visit Off the Beaten Path after its move to 9th Street in 2008. But that doesn’t get him a pass; he’s just a good writer, and Best Boy proves it.


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The Oregon Trail: A New American Journey Cover Image
$28.00
ISBN: 9781451659160
Availability: Hard to Find
Published: Simon & Schuster - June 30th, 2015

Emily Holiday Staff Pick, December 2015::

For the history buff.

Part travelogue, part work of history, The Oregon Trail explores the mythology of the Oregon Trail and its place in American memory.

This book stands apart from other histories of the Oregon Trail, however, because author Rinker Buck actually experienced the trail: he and his brother were the first people since 1908 to travel from St. Joseph, Missouri to Baker City, Oregon with only a wagon and mule team.

In addition to the (often humorous, not-so-romanticized) account of his overland journey, Buck writes a factually sound history. He presents the trail as an “incubator” for issues we continue to address today: race, competition for water and land, and religious strife.


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Dead Wake: The Last Crossing of the Lusitania Cover Image
$28.00
ISBN: 9780307408860
Availability: Backordered
Published: Crown Publishing Group (NY) - March 10th, 2015

Candace's Holiday Staff Pick, December 2015:

For the history buff.

Larson turns his laser-sharp eye on World War I as seen through the lens of the fate of the passenger ship Lusitania, which set sale from New York on May 1, 1915.

This book is rich in detail about the development of submarines and naval strategy… Perfect for WWI history buffs.


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Rules for a Knight Cover Image
$18.00
ISBN: 9780307962331
Availability: Usually Ships in 1-5 Days
Published: Knopf Publishing Group - November 10th, 2015

Shane's Staff Pick, December 2015:

For the college student.

In this story, a Knight named Sir. Thomas writes a collection of letters, reflecting on his life. Each letter contains a different moral or life lesson for his children to understand. Sir Thomas writes these as a passing of knowledge, for he does not think he will make it home to his family.

Rules for a Knight is a great read for fiction lovers or those who just need a little push to help them along their quest.


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Cat's Cradle Cover Image
$17.00
ISBN: 9780385333481
Availability: Usually Ships in 1-5 Days
Published: Dial Press - September 8th, 1998

Victoria's Holiday Staff Pick, December 2015:

For the college student.

Cat’s Cradle will provide your exhausted, cynical student a break after months of tedious academia and stress.

A satire based on pessimistic situations involving an atomic bomb and a fictional religion, Cat’s Cradle is full of dark comedy and provides an astute social commentary on human nature. A necessary read for any college student wishing to engage in philosophical discussions, this will reaffirm his or her belief in the world’s absurdity!

 


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The Swans of Fifth Avenue Cover Image
$28.00
ISBN: 9780345528698
Availability: Special Order
Published: Delacorte Press - January 26th, 2016

Virgie's Holiday Staff Pick, December 2015:

For the historical fiction fan.

The literary scandal of the century is disclosed in this historical fiction, which takes place during the 60’s and 70’s. The story is based on the life of the flamboyant novelist Truman Capote, (author of In Cold Blood) and his groupies, New York’s wealthy women, (a.k.a his Swans).

This tragic story, based on well-researched facts, is intriguing!


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The Song of Hartgrove Hall Cover Image
$16.00
ISBN: 9780147517593
Availability: Usually Ships in 1-5 Days
Published: G.P. Putnam's Sons - December 29th, 2015

Virgie's Holiday Staff Pick, December 2015:

For the historical fiction fan.

Your Downton Abby fan will enjoy the charming characters and good, old-fashioned storytelling in this book, which is set in the lush English countryside at Hartgrove Hall. Follow the Fox brothers as they try to keep the Hartgrove Hall estate alive. Witness the drama that Edie Rose brings to the story with a love triangle.

This is an enjoyable read!

 


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The Taming of the Queen Cover Image
$27.99
ISBN: 9781476758794
Availability: Usually Ships in 1-5 Days
Published: Touchstone Books - August 25th, 2015

Chris' Holiday Staff Pick, December 2015:

For the historical fiction fan.

Kathrine Parr is the last of King Henry VIII’s wives, but nobody knows that when the king asks her to marry him. It has become even more treacherous for both reformers of the faith and women in the court: with the King’s continued failing health, his mood swings become more unpredictable. He charges people of all backgrounds with heresy.

Phillipa Gregory continues to bring Tudor England to life with vivid detail such that you’ll think you are there.


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The Lake House Cover Image
$28.00
ISBN: 9781451649321
Availability: Usually Ships in 1-5 Days
Published: Atria Books - October 20th, 2015

Virgie's Holiday Staff Pick, December 2015:

For mystery solvers.

This novel is the story of a missing child, and an abandoned house. It's an unsolved 70 year-old cold-case mystery. It flashes back-and-forth from past to present as the characters cleverly come together.

This mystery piqued my curiosity because it did not culminate in a predictable ending. It is a great puzzle to ponder and solve!


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Lake of Fire Cover Image
$15.99
ISBN: 9780738743639
Availability: Usually Ships in 1-5 Days
Published: Midnight Ink - September 8th, 2015

Kim's Holiday Staff Pick, December 2015:

For mystery solvers.

The Allison Coil mysteries take place in the Flat Tops Wilderness and follow Allison Coil, a hunting guide who often seems to find herself on the trail of a killer and outside the purview of the law.
 
In the fourth book of the Allison Coil mysteries, Lake of Fire, the Flat Tops have been set ablaze during a harsh drought. Allison is alerted to a corpse discovered near the epicenter of the blaze. If Allison continues to probe into the investigation of who is behind the murder and arson, her world will be turned upside down.

The beautiful, harsh setting of the Flat Tops (our backyard!) attracts environmentalists, reality show survivalists, ranchers and anti-Government fanatics.

 


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The Water Knife Cover Image
$14.99
ISBN: 9781469298320
Availability: Usually Ships in 1-5 Days
Published: Audible Studios on Brilliance - May 26th, 2015

Theodora's Holiday Staff Pick, December 2015:

For the environmentalist.

In the world portrayed in this novel, water is a scarce resource. It is allocated based on social and financial status, and is vied over by various factions along the Colorado River.

The futuristic setting is the novel’s greatest strength; its details extrapolated from modern realities. Against this backdrop, characters struggle with water rights, corruption, and survival.


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Jimmy Bluefeather Cover Image
$26.99
ISBN: 9781941821688
Availability: Usually Ships in 1-5 Days
Published: Alaska Northwest Books - September 1st, 2015

Ron's Holiday Staff Pick, December 2015:

For the environmentalist.

This is a tale of Tlingit people of Alaska, a people chased to a new place, from their homeland by the descent of the glacier onto Crystal Bay. Keb Wistig, maybe 94 years old, has outlived his wife and sons, and perhaps even his body. He yearns to return home.

His grandson, James, is a star basketball player, destined for the NBA, until a logging accident ruins his knee and throws him into an unrescuable despair. Keb decides that together they must carve his last canoe and make one more story if they are to save their souls.
 
Jimmy Bluefeather is filled with the life of Alaska, a life dependent on the sea, lived in grey skies, torn between preservation and exploitation. But the story rises out of the language, culture, spirituality and stories of the Tlingit people. Old Keb Zen Raven teaches us that lives are built upon sorrow and disappointment, and that happiness and peace come from living in our roots, our earth and people

 

 


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Colorado's Yampa River: Free Flowing & Wild from the Flat Tops to the Green Cover Image
By Patrick Tierney, John Fielder (Photographer)
$45.00
ISBN: 9780991499045
Availability: Usually Ships in 1-5 Days
Published: John Fielder Publishing - August 1st, 2015

Emily's Holiday Staff Pick, December 2015:

For the environmentalist.

John Fielder's latest book, Colorado's Yampa River, is a celebration of the beauty as well as the ecological, economical, and educational importance of the Yampa River.

Colorado's Yampa River contains John Fielder's characteristically stunning photographs, as well as his classic "then-and-now" photos. Patrick Tierney's text is soundly researched and well written. Combined, the photos, historical, and ecological information are a brilliant argument for the conservation of the Yampa River.  Colorado's Yampa River will make the perfect gift for your friends, family, or yourself!
 


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The Bazaar of Bad Dreams: Stories Cover Image
$30.00
ISBN: 9781501111679
Availability: Usually Ships in 1-5 Days
Published: Scribner Book Company - November 3rd, 2015

Kim's Holiday Staff Pick, December 2015:

For the discerning short story reader.

Stephen King is known for his long, immersive, novels that pull you into terrifying worlds that won’t let go even after the novel is finished. Lesser known are his short stories, which are quite good.

Fans will see shades of other works: a car that consumes people, the evil little boy, a baseball story with a wicked twist, and my favorite the story of an evil Kindle.

King readily admits that short stories are difficult to write, where there's no room for error, so he really exercises his literary muscle in this book!

 


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Ski Town Shenanigans: The Best of the Steamboat Springs Police Blotter Cover Image
$14.99
ISBN: 9780692444801
Availability: Usually Ships in 1-5 Days
Published: Worldwest - July 3rd, 2015

Victoria's Holiday Staff Pick, December 2015:

For those who need a good belly laugh.

This book is a necessary read for understanding just what makes this town so special. I feel the need to extend this comprehension to my family on the East Coast and am therefore personally sending these out as Christmas gifts to:

  • My 20 year-old brother-in-law, who’s favorite pastime includes showing me his reserve of laugh-out-loud YouTube videos
  • As well as my Aunt, who declares no family dinner successful until she’s roaring with laughter.

Do you have these jokesters in your family? If so, I have no doubt they will be rolling on the floor guffawing at this gem of a collection.


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Thug Kitchen Party Grub: For Social Motherf*ckers Cover Image
$25.99
ISBN: 9781623366322
Availability: Usually Ships in 1-5 Days
Published: Rodale Books - October 13th, 2015

Emily's Holiday Staff Pick, December 2015:

For the frugal, healthy home cook.

This is the second Thug Kitchen cookbook and I actually love it even more than the first book!

The premise of Thug Kitchen is that we should be able to cook nutritious food at home without spending money on pretentious, inaccessible ingredients. In Party Grub, recipes are meant to be shared at social functions, but I use the book regularly, not just for parties... More food for me! All Thug Kitchen recipes are vegan, but I promise they're delicious and filling. You'll love them even if you eat meat.

Readers, beware: the language in this book is vulgar! 


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Between the World and Me Cover Image
$25.00
ISBN: 9780812993547
Availability: Usually Ships in 1-5 Days
Published: Spiegel & Grau - July 14th, 2015

Emily's Holiday Staff Pick, December 2015:

For the informed reader.

Part history, part sociology, part memoir, Between the World and Me is an examination of race in the United States. I recommend this book because it is well-executed (it won the 2015 National Book Award) and because it will probably make you uncomfortable, and therefore grow in understanding and compassion.


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Missoula: Rape and the Justice System in a College Town Cover Image
$28.95
ISBN: 9780385538732
Availability: Usually Ships in 1-5 Days
Published: Doubleday Books - April 21st, 2015

Ron's Holiday Staff Pick, December 2015:

For the informed reader.

In Missoula, Jon Krakauer tackles rape, the most heinous of crimes, by telling the stories of rape victims in Missoula, the home of the University of Montana. Krakauer shares the pain, suffering, and isolation of the victims, the brutal nature of this crime, and the sad inability of our legal system to do justice.

This is a must read for every teenager.

Each of us needs to learn what constitutes consent and how to say and hear “no!”