Fans of Harry Potter may have gone into wizardry withdrawal after the conclusion The Deathly Hallows, so J.K. Rowling’s first work post Harry Potter, which continues the Harry Potter universe, should be a welcome surprise this Christmas. The Tales of Beedle the Bard, a novel of five fairy tales first mentioned in The Deathly Hallows, was originally handwritten and illustrated by Rowling and limited to a seven-copy release, but Amazon snatched a copy at auction for a whopping $3.98 million and has made it available to readers in a standard edition (Scholastic, $12.99) and a hard-cover collector’s edition (through Amazon only, $100).
Know a fan or two of the hit HBO show True Blood? Consider getting them the books that started the craze. Charlaine Harris’ highly entertaining Sookie Stackhouse series has just been re-released in a boxed set (Penguin Group, $55.93) and includes Dead Until Dark, Living Dead in Dallas, Club Dead, Dead to the World, Dead as a Doornail, Definitely Dead, and All Together Dead. While by no means complex literature, they’re considerably less teeny bopper than Stephanie Meyer’s Twilight series.
What would happen if the boy who grew up in a graveyard, having as guardians ghosts and otherworldly creatures, left this existence and entered the world of the living? That is the subject of Neil Gaiman’s The Graveyard Book (HarperCollins, 320 pages, $17.99), a macabre, magical, and breathtaking book, certain to be a classic for young adults (and adults, too).
For the gastronome in the family, A History of Food by Maguelonne Toussaint-Samat (Wiley-Blackwell, 768 pages, $34.95) would be the treasured tome. This behemoth examines the 10,000-year-old relationship between humans and food and offers interesting anecdotal tidbits, such as the history of olive oil and the symbolism behind poultry.