Presents By The Page Part One – Nonfiction!

When I’m not shopping, working, researching, writing, managing this blog, or doing any sort of normal social or Maslow’s hierarchy of needs activity, I can generally be found with my nose in a book. I’m what most people would call an avid reader – I’ve been reading a minimum of 50 books a year for the last five years, although this year I’m actually attempting to tackle 60. Anyway what do you get when you have a gift-giving blogger who also loves to read? Lots of great insight into what the must-have books are for under your Christmas tree (or delivered digitally – whatever floats your boat).

I’ve actually got *three* posts planned on the topic of books before Christmas day is here. The reason I’ve waited on posting them till closer to December is books are pretty much the most universally accessible item to buy, assuming you’ve got a local bookshop, major grocer / discount store, or chain bookstore in your region. Or access to the internet. Without further ado, here are my top picks in the category of nonfiction. And if you associate nonfiction with stuffy historical tomes or textbook-like instruction manuals, THINK again.

*all prices on this post were quoted using the suggested retail price for an actual, hard copy book. Although I typically highlight the online shopping prices, I recognize that a lot of people might be picking up these books at their local bricks & mortar bookstores, in which case they’ll typically pay full price, or at best, get a 20-30% discount on bestsellers. So you’re prepared going in, these are the FULL prices.

Steve Jobs by Walter Isaacson – $36.99*
Probably the most-talked about book of the holiday season, although it comes tinged with a touch of sadness when you consider how badly we’re clamouring to know more about the recently departed Apple founder and CEO, Steve Jobs. This mammoth tome gives serious insight into the sometimes mercurial, always ambitious Jobs as both a business leader and a person. Always one to challenge the way we do things, one of the most enticing points for this book is the bizarre methods Jobs used to try and cure his cancer before succumbing to ‘traditional’ hospital-driven treatments.
Perfect for: Apple devotees, biography lovers, pop culture fiends.

Blood, Bones & Butter: The Inadvertent Education of a Reluctant Chef by Gabrielle Hamilton – $30*
Proof that not all great book-related gift-giving ideas need be released in the fall: Gabrielle Hamilton’s memoir hit the shelves back in March, and it’s still gaining momentum and popularity. It’s essentially a foodie memoir, in the vein of many other great ones before it – Julie Powell and Barbara Kingslover fans have probably already devoured it. Gabrielle Hamilton spent dozens of hardscrabble years trying to find purpose in her life, which always seemed to be defined by kitchens. This is the story of how a traditionally untrained chef learned to love all things food, and build a successful restaurant (NYC’s Prune) to boot.
Perfect for: Gourmands real & imagined and foodie memoir fans.

Harry Potter: Page To Screen – $80*
Before you gasp at the price of this thing, I encourage you to track it down at your local bookstore. It’s a tome…the type of book that’s actually a struggle to pick up, and for good reason. This is the *Bible* of all things Harry Potter, at least when it comes to the movie adaptations that have dominated the box office for the last decade. The book details every element of filming – from the story of how the films were originally developed, through to casting. The real highlight though, is the behind-the-scenes look at the incredible amount of work that went into the sheer visual spectacle of the series – concept drawings, set maps, character photos and more pack every inch of this 500+ page book, with stories and explanations behind every prop, costume, and setting to boot. It’s hard to open this thing and not feel like you’re opening a magic book – especially when you get swept away by the spellbinding visuals and stories.
Perfect For: Potterheads naturally, or your everyday film buff.

Cornered by Ron MacLean – $33.99*
Every holiday season there’s at least one book that has all of the sports fans out there buzzing. This year it comes from Don Cherry’s long-suffering but always insightful sidekick (of sorts), Ron MacLean. Here’s what’s great about this one: MacLean is probably one of the best-known journalists in the country, and yet he still always comes off like a humble guy. He’s not shilling a million products, in fact, this is his first book ever, and that genuine feeling carries through on the page as Ron tackles his early days in Alberta through to witnessing some of sports’ greatest milestones in the last quarter-century.
Perfect for: Sports fans, hockey fanatics, biography nuts. And your dad / boyfriend / brother / husband.

What I Wore by Jessica Quirk – $20*
A somewhat unexpected choice next to some very buzzy books, but I just had to include a book for the fash pack you’re buying for, which also happens to be created by one of my favourite fashion bloggers – Jessica Quirk of What I Wore. If you’re unfamiliar, Jessica is one of the best-known bloggers out there for posting her ‘daily outfit’, where it’s from, and what the occasion was. She broke onto the scene about three years ago thanks to her frugalista ability to pair low-cost vintage and thrifted clothes with classics and designer accents alike. Her book is an attempt to allay some of that fash-knack to her fans and fashionably challenged alike. From shopping lists and colour ideas to packing tips and tailoring know-how, this is a fashion bible for the real girls out there. It’s certainly on *my* wish list.
Perfect for: Fashion lovers, blog lovers, shopping lovers – or your gal pal that’s looking to reinvent herself for 2012.

Persuasion by Arlene Dickinson – $32.99
I couldn’t talk about Ron MacLean without talking about one of Canada’s other most-exciting biography offerings. Dragons Den is definitely one of the most-watched homegrown shows, and Arlene stands out as the witty, bright, and business-savvy PR expert amongst her male Dragon counterparts. Part biography – didja know Arlene was unemployed, freshly divorced, and struggling to feed four mouths a mere decade ago? – and part business guide (Arlene owes her success based on her ability to persuade), this is a great behind-the-scenes look at one of Canada’s best-known business experts and TV personalities.
Perfect for: Dragon’s Den devotees, business owners, pals on the marketing & advertising scene.

The Orchard by Theresa Weir – $27.99*
In case you couldn’t tell by my ‘Vegetarian Awareness Month‘ posts, I’m a pretty active advocate of the whole ‘you are what you eat’ movement. The Orchard is a bittersweet love story / memoir with a subtle food activism-tinged slant by prolific fiction writer Theresa Weir. When we first meet Theresa, she’s on a slippery slope to self-pity, working (and sleeping at) at her uncle’s dive bar in Illinois farm country. Then one day she meets a beautiful – but supposedly cursed – boy, a farmer named Adrian. The twosome fall hard and fast for one another, and against everyone’s better judgement, decide to get hitched and move into a tiny home on Adrian’s family’s fifth-generation apple farm. Of course, things aren’t all white picket fences and evenings under the stars: Theresa is quickly pegged as an outsider by her new husband’s family, and the interludes of stories growing up with a nomadic, traumatic life thanks to her mom’s flippant, desperate romantic relationships punctuate how far apart Adrian and Theresa really are. As the story carries on – always with the disturbing, omnipresent drone of pesticide machines in the background – you begin to wonder what will survive the book: Theresa’s marriage, or the orchard that’s equally threatened by the chemicals they spray and the codling moth they’re trying to defeat. The story isn’t abjectly about industrial farming (the plot takes place quite a few years ago), but you’ll be hard-pressed to want to eat anything but organic apples after reading it.
Perfect for: Foodies, memoir lovers, eco activists (big & small).

So there you have it. A selection of some of the most exciting nonfiction in my books, although I’m just scratching the surface of what’s out there. The neat thing about nonfiction books is you can easily find something fits pretty much any interest – so instead of a pack of golf tees, grab John Feinstein’s look at Q School. For fans of The Walking Dead – where not much merch is out yet – check out the official companion book, The Walking Dead Chronicles. ‘Nuff said.

I’ve got five copies of Theresa Weir’s ‘The Orchard’ to give away. It’s one of the books I’m most excited about on this list, and hopefully after reading my review of it, you’ll feel the same way. To win:

1) Leave a comment below before December 7th and tell me which of the nonfiction books above you’re most interested in. Be sure to include your name and email address (the latter of which only I can see) when posting so I can contact you if you win!

2) Entries are limited to one per person per email address (or more if you score bonus entries). A random draw will be conducted on or around December 6th to select the winner, who will have 48 hours to respond before another winner is chosen in their place.

3) Entries are limited to Canadians that have reached the age of majority in their province. Quebec is not eligible to participate in this promotion.

4) Bonus Entry Time: Add me on Twitter – @cdngiftguide. Be sure to drop your Twitter handle in the comments below so I know who you are! If you’re already a follower, give me a reminder and I’ll be sure to award you a bonus entry as well.

As always, you’re free to email me if you want full rules & regs by emailing canadiangiftguide -at- gmail – dot- com. Happy paging!

51 Responses to “Presents By The Page Part One – Nonfiction!”
  1. Anne B says:

    I like the look of the Harry Potter book – its been fascinating watching that series unfold in book and in film – and the impact it has had on youth reading. I have one daughter who read them all and a second one who will in a year or so. This would be a great read -for more than one of us!

  2. Amy Brown says:

    I’d like to read about Arlene Dickinson as I’m a fan of Dragon’s Den and I’m inspired by strong successful women!

  3. Amy Brown says:

    I follow you on twitter, @amym_brown

  4. Jolene says:

    Ooo! The Orchard sounds good! Maybe that should be my book club pick. I’m hosting in February.

  5. Kiki says:

    I’m most interested in the Steve Jobs bio by Walter Isaacson. It’s on my Christmas list and I hope it’s under the tree on Dec 25th!

  6. retromusic says:

    I follow you on twitter! (@retromusic)

  7. Bons says:

    I’d like to read the Harry Potter book because I love the Harry Potter films and would be great to learn more about how this story started from just a book to being made into 8 movies!
    (already following you on twitter, @bonchance2010)

  8. Cathy M says:

    I would love to read Steve Jobs.

  9. Cathy M says:

    I follow you on twitter. ( @catamo)

  10. Stacey says:

    I’m most interested in the Steve Jobs bio.

  11. Holly Sproule says:

    Steve Jobs!

  12. Barb B says:

    You have totally sold me on “The Orchard”. Must have this book….

  13. Nisha says:

    For me it would be a toss up between The Orchard and Blood, Bones and Butter. I’ve got them both on my ‘to-read’ list on Goodreads πŸ™‚

  14. Erin says:

    I really want to read the Harry Potter: Page To Screen!

  15. Erin says:

    I’m following on Twitter! @erockspell

  16. Robecca says:

    Again, thanks for dropping by Goodreads and telling me about this contest! I’m really excited to be on your blog too, I need help with finding gifts! πŸ˜›

    I am interested in “The Orchard” ;)!

    As mentioned before, I am following you on twitter!

  17. Gail says:

    I am interested in the Steve Jobs book. Would love to read more about his life. I am following you on twitter @Mystee007 πŸ™‚

  18. I’d love to read The Orchard, sounds so good

  19. I would like the Harry Potter book!

  20. Susan says:

    Harry Potter: Page to Screen

  21. sean pynaert says:

    ron macleans book looks interesting

  22. Pat Battles says:

    Harry Potter: Page to Screen

  23. thomas rusinak says:

    orchard looks like a good read

  24. Melody says:

    i love reading your reviews! i’m excited to read ‘Looking for Alaska’ by John Green as it was recommended by someone with very good taste πŸ™‚

  25. Troy Wilson says:

    Steve Jobs. Not being a techie or a user of Apple products, I don’t know as much about him as I’d like.

  26. Athena says:

    Persuasion, I’m a fan of Dragon’s Den πŸ™‚

  27. Athena says:

    follow you on twitter @tinatchick

  28. Gabriel Chow says:

    Of the books above, I’d be most interested in Steve Jobs by Walter Isaacson. Sure, there was a lot of hype on this book, but regardless it’d be interesting to learn more about one of the greatest tech visionary in recent history.

  29. Gabriel Chow says:

    I followed you on Twitter under @gtychow

  30. Michelle Leies says:

    I’m sold What I wore sounds like a fun read and who doesn’t like shopping. πŸ™‚

  31. Debbie says:

    Blood, Bones & Butter: The Inadvertent Education of a Reluctant Chef by Gabrielle Hamilton looks interesting!

  32. Tegan says:

    Blood Bones and Butter looks amazing – and I’m following you on twitter!

  33. Lori says:

    I’d like to read ‘Steve Jobs’ by Walter Isaacson. Although I’ve seen and read much on the man in recent months, I’m sure there’s much, much more to learn about this complicated genius.

  34. Jenn says:

    I’ve got to go with Persuasion by Arlene Dickinson

  35. mousecat says:

    I think I would be most intersted in “the Orchard”.
    (though ‘Cornered’ would be a close second.

  36. stacey h says:

    Jessica Quirk – What I Wore.

  37. stacey h says:

    i follow you on twitter

  38. cher says:

    The Orchard interests me the most.

Check out what others are saying...
  1. […] Please click here to enter this online sweepstakes […]

  2. […] by CGG on December 3, 2011 · 76 Comments  Last week I touched on a bevvy of new and new-ish nonfiction releases that are ripe for the picking when it comes to book gift-giving. Nonfiction actually tends to be […]

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