Last Minute Gift Ideas: Books

If you’re anything like us, you spent the last few days feverishly online shopping, wondering how it got to be mid-December already. This is the time of the holiday shopping season when we turn to the best books of the year, whether they’re the hottest coffee table tomes or the books we’d want to dive into on a long-haul flight. So with that in mind, we give you our last minute gift suggestions: a bunch of books! They cover all manner of styles from designy and plain old good reads to kitchen-bound cookbooks, but they’ve all got the traveler in mind.


A few months back, we here at Fodor’s HQ got the chance to read Jake Tomsky’s Heads in Beds just before it hit stores. And we have not shut up about it. To call it "behind-the-scenes" wouldn’t do it justice. Tomsky gives a true (read: raw, hilarious, and somewhat obscenity-filled) account of what really happens behind the front desk of luxury hotels. Another thing we can’t shut up about (still), is the chic, designy Paris versus New York blog-turned-book. We aren’t sure if there is a cuter book-gift around.

Despite the fact that it was not our idea, we also love the New York Times’ 36 Hours series and book, The New York Times 36 Hours: 150 Weekends in the USA & Canada. Just this once, we condone buying an itinerary book that isn’t ours. Just this once. Another book we wish was our idea? How to Swear Around the World. Because while kindness is a virtue that should be taken everywhere you go, sometimes you just need to say "Your mother is a cow!" in Turkish.


One of the best ways to remember a holiday after you’ve come home, or learn about a new culture before heading there, is to cook the country’s cuisine. That’s why we’re lusting after Burma: Rivers of Flavor, a cookbook that showcases the melting pot of Chinese, Indian, and Southeast Asian flavors that make up Burmese food. A little closer to home, we adore the familiar and unique flavors and recipes featured in the latest cookbook from the team at Blackberry Farm in Tennessee, The Foothills Cuisine of Blackberry Farm.

If you’re staring down the prospect of a long-haul flight or a long layover, its books like The Black Count that will get you through. The story of the "real Count of Monte Cristo," there is the right amount of intrigue in here to forget about the fact that you’re in the middle seat. But if it’s a coffee table that is in need of a little color from around the world, snap up Living in Mexico, which displays the stunning coastline of Mexico from Costa Careyes to the Yucatan Peninsula. One of our all-time favorite books to browse when we’re in need of beautiful inspiration is Close to Paradise: The Gardens of Naples, Capri, and the Amalfi Coast. Written by our very own Robert I.C. Fisher, it is page after page of gorgeous photos of the lush gardens that dot Italy’s most glam coastline.