Doing some last minute shopping for the perfect gifts for a friend--or yourself? I always go for books--the objects that download the old-fashioned way, from page to eyeball--when I want to give something that will give pleasure for years.

And as regular visitors to this blog know, I always recommend sustenance with reading, so I'm adding a plug for good old-fashioned scotch whisky, because there is nothing nicer, on a cold winter day, than curling up in an armchair by the fire, sipping a drink, and losing yourself in the world of a book.

First, buy James Wolcott's LUCKING OUT: My Life Getting Down and Semi-Dirty in the Seventies. In New York City in the 70s, that is. Many of you know Jim's writing in Vanity Fair. This book starts out when he starts out, as a college dropout who arrives in New York City determined to make a living as a writer. It is funny, sharp, and surprisingly tender. Jim writes like an angel with a wicked sense of humor.

Anyone who loves great writing should buy this book. Anyone who has an English lit major in high school or college ought to give him or her this book. Anyone who lived in the city in those days, or wishes she did, ought to treat herself to a journey that is so vividly recounted you can smell the late night streets. My ears started ringing as I read about the explosive downtown music scene...and here's the thing: Wolcott was never drugged or otherwise wigged out (unlike others I might name)--except that, of course, he has his own wigglicious way of seeing the world, so he actually remember those times, accurately. And lovingly. It was a decadent and dangerous decade, sure. But it was also a powerfully creative, open-hearted, blue-sky, era. Anything was possible; everything happened.

I haven't been that high on coffee table books in a long time. They're often heavy but thin, if you know what I mean. But this year I'm really enjoying WISDOM: The Greatest Gift One Generation can Give To Another, by Andrew Zuckerman. I was a bit worried when I cracked this tome open; the sap potential was high. I ordered it on a hunch, because I loved Zuckerman's book, Creature.

But when I flipped open to find myself eye to eye with Graham Nash...

and then caught a gentle smile from Desmond Tutu...

...and ducked from the camera along with a shy Robert Redford...

I knew I was in for a fascinating read. The interviews are thoughtful and generous. This is a book to be savored. For generations. I plan to give it to my sons, but it is going to be a while before I let it out of my hands.

And then, because even when you love your home, it is nice to roam the world and visit others. Our designer over at Moms Clean Air Force, Kate Caprari--she also designed Slow Love Life, and made me buy my first camera!--tipped me off to Sibella Court's NOMAD: A Global Approach to Interior Style.

 There's lots in here to tempt even the most stalwart minimalist to relax her grip on white. This is a style both ageless and timeless. It has a kind of Anthropologie vibe to it, which I love. You can go around the world, and never leave your hearth. Enjoy!

And so, to bed.

I've given you Amazon links, but please, support your own beloved independent bookseller!

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