Holiday Books Gift Guide: Beautiful, strange and powerful photo books that must be seen

Holiday Books Gift Guide:
Beautiful, strange and powerful photo books that must be seen

Floating in Sausalito

Lars Aberg, photos by Lars Strandberg

Kerber, $49.95

In the 1950s, beatniks and hippies established a houseboat community near San Francisco; this photo book profiles its idiosyncratic residents.

Cerro Gordo

David Black 

Hat & Beard Press, $60

Photographs of a year in the life of Los Angeles, inspired by the city’s dichotomous mixture of hazy 1970s golds 1980s brights with the darkness of noir. 

Bloom County Episode XI: A New Hope

Berkeley Breathed

IDW, $8.99 paper

After a 24-year hiatus, cartoonist Breathed resurrected “Bloom County” last year; this book collects the new adventures of Opus, Bill the Cat and friends taking on the 2016 election and more.

Taylor Swift

This Is Our Song

Tyler Conroy

Simon & Schuster, $28

If you’re a fan of the country-pop superstar, shake it off and check out this book that showcases photographs of the singer. For Swifties, this book should be sweeter than fiction.

Pope Francis

The Story of the Holy Father

Marie Duhamel

Black Dog & Leventhal, $50

The official illustrated biography of Pope Francis has 250 photographs of his life, including his childhood, missionary work in Chile and his rise in the Church to the papacy.

Seeds on Ice

Svalbard and the Global Seed Vault

Cary Fowler, photos by Hari Tefre

Prospecta Press, $45

A photo-illustrated look at the Global Seed Vault, a depository on an island near the North Pole that houses the world’s largest collection of seeds.

The Art of the Hollywood Backdrop

Richard M. Isackes and Karen L. Maness

Regan Arts, $100

From film’s earliest days, the art of backdrops allowed fantastic visions to appear real. This gorgeous book has a “Wizard of Oz” slipcase.

Miller’s Art Deco

Living with the Art Deco Style

Judith Miller

Miller’s/Mitchell Beazley, $39.99

The 1920s and ’30s were marked by the rise of the Art Deco style; Miller’s guidebook teaches readers about the era’s jewelry, ceramics, furniture and decor.

The New French Couture

Icons of Paris Fashion

Elyssa Dimant

Harper Design, $85

More than 175 photographs illustrate this look at contemporary Parisian high fashion, including designers such as Chanel’s Karl Lagerfeld and Givenchy’s Riccardo Tisci.


A New Perspective of Earth

Benjamin Grant

Amphoto Books, $40

Grant’s book, based on his Daily Overview Instagram account, uses satellite photography to reveal both environmental wonders and suburban sprawl from a new perspective.

If I Live To Be 100

The Wisdom of Centenarians

Paul Mobley and Allison Milionis

Welcome Books, $50

Photographs and profiles of 50 Americans who lived to 100. Twins Inez Harris and Venice Shaw were born in Pasadena in 1911. “Be honest,” advised Inez.

Letters of Note

Volume 2: An Eclectic Collection of Correspondence Deserving of a Wider Audience

Compiled By Sean Usher

Chronicle Books, $40

Facsimiles of more than 125 real letters from famous and ordinary people alike; the collection includes correspondence from Abraham Lincoln, Beatrix Potter and more.


The Sound of Young America

Adam White with Barney Ales

Thames and Hudson, $60

A visual history of the pride of Detroit, this book has behind-the-scenes photographs, album art, essential images and interviews with Motown legends that will have fans dancing in the street.

Flying Saucers Are Real!

Jack Womack

Anthology Editions, $40 paper

The science fiction author's collection of photographs and ephemera from the UFO craze, with an introduction by William Gibson.

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