Review: Need a gift for the bookworm in your life? See the Legend’s holiday book picks

Review: Need a gift for the bookworm in your life? See the Legends holiday book picks

Zoe Pleasure, Staff Writer

Instead of the traditional tacky holiday sweaters, why don’t you buy some intellectually stimulating books? The holidays are supposed to be about drinking hot chocolate while sitting next to a crackling fire, right? How about picking up a book and escaping your family and annoying cousins for a little while? Here are some of my recommendations if you’re in search of the perfect gift or a good read for yourself.

“Moby Dick in Pictures” by Matt Kish

Looking for a way to relive some of American Romanticism? This coffee table book is an illustrated interpretation of Herman Melville’s classic, “Moby Dick.” Kish drew one picture every day for 18 months to complete a drawing per page of the 552-page epic. The drawings incorporate collage and writing, this book would fit in perfectly on the Urban art room’s bookshelf. He used discarded pages of old books to contribute to the literary drawings. The book is a great gift for the literature enthusiast and whale-lover. Published by Tin House on Oct. 4 and available for $32.


“In the Garden of Beasts” by Erik Larson

After the success of “Devil in the White City,” Larson is back writing about a family in Hitler’s Germany. “In the Garden of Beasts” has just been picked by Universal Pictures to become a feature film. Larson’s two previous books have been nonfiction and he seems to enjoy exploring stories of the past. The book explores the year 1933, when Hitler did not yet have full control over Germany. The two protagonists are a father and daughter from Chicago who are moved to Germany when the father becomes the U.S. ambassador to Nazi Germany. This book would be particularly pertinent for students in 20th Century History A or anyone who enjoys early 20th century history. Published by Random House on May 10 and available for $16.


“The Marriage Plot” by Jeffery Eugenides

Did you enjoy the family epic, “Middlesex,” or the telling of a family of suicides in “The Virgin Suicides?” Jeffrey Eugenides, a Detroit native, usually uses his hometown as the backdrop of his books, but in the case of “The Marriage Plot” he employs the collegiate campus of Brown University. The book, set in 1982, includes details of college life during the recession and post-punk 80s. The protagonist Madeleine, an English major, is caught between two different men. The novel follows the triangle as they leave college and travel into the real world. The book questions if the romance that Madeleine reads in her studies, like Jane Austen and George Eliot, can exist in the real world of divorce and betrayal. I recommend this book to the romantic and 80s pop culture enthusiast. Published by Macmillian on Oct. 11 and available for $28.


“Vietnamerica” by GB Tran

GB Tran traces his family’s history from fleeing Vietnam during the fall of Saigon to living in South Carolina in this graphic novel. He wanted to investigate the reasons behind his parents’ personality quirks and his family history. The illustrations in “Vietnamerica” incorporate aspects of the immigrant dream and American culture seen from an outsider. The family’s story is even more powerful with the help of the drawings and expressions Tran utilizes. A student who enjoyed reading “Maus” or “Persepolis” would enjoy this book. Also, a student who wanted to continue his or her studies past Recent America to the Vietnam War and its aftermath would find this graphic novel particularly intriguing. Published by Random House on Jan. 25 and available for $30.