Throughout the holiday season, we’re gathering books that make the perfect gifts for everyone on your list—from your mother and the teen in your life to your foodie friend and the coworker who loves Harry Potter. Need more ideas? Check out all of our amazing gift guides!
In an interview with Bloomberg Television in October, Martha Stewart got herself into hot water by slamming the influence and expertise of bloggers, saying “Who are those bloggers?…Writing recipes that aren’t tested, that aren’t necessarily very good….Bloggers create a popularity but they are not the experts.”
Is it possible that Martha isn’t dismissive of bloggers but merely threatened by them? Look, for instance, to Ree Drummond, also known as the Pioneer Woman, whose cooking and lifestyle blog spawned a career as a New York Times best-selling author, TV personality, and lifestyle maven. She’s just one Macy’s line away from being a mini-Martha. While not every blogger is guaranteed this level of popularity, Drummond’s success story proves that some bloggers out there do produce work that translates gracefully from web to print. If someone you know is a fan of Pioneer Woman, and is hip to other internet sensations, consider gifting them these other books by bloggers, covering everything from cooking to parenting to fashion.
The Pioneer Woman Cooks: A Year of Holidays: 140 Step-by-Step Recipes for Simple, Scrumptious Celebrations, by Ree Drummond
I have a friend who is obsessed with Ree Drummond and once waited something like 18 hours in line to meet her at our local Barnes & Noble. Whenever we get together, this friend makes something from Drummond’s website and it’s always a hit, so maybe she wanted to thank the author for making her so popular. This cookbook is gorgeous, colorful, and fun to pore over, not to mention cook from. It presents meal plans for holidays from New Year’s to Christmas, ranging from a traditional Father’s Day celebration to a spicy Cinco de Mayo, and is illustrated with pictures that will convince you that you, too, can cook for a happy, rowdy, outdoorsy crowd. Give it to someone you want to share a delicious, homey meal with.
The Smitten Kitchen Cookbook, by Deb Perelman
You could think of Deb Perelman of Smitten Kitchen as Pioneer Woman without the frontier. For years I drooled over Deb’s tantalizing, beautifully photographed dishes, which she whipped up and experimented on in her tiny New York City kitchen (while juggling a husband and a small child). I could never tell what I liked more: Perelman’s mix of healthy and indulgent recipes (roasted fall veggies can be almost as tempting as the perfect cake) or the fact that she cooks for a real audience (including suggestions on how to cut down the number of pots you have to wash). No, actually, what I love most is that Perelman seems like the kind of gal you want to have a long, indulgent, chatty, boozy dinner with. I haven’t yet had the privilege, but ’til then, I have her cookbook. Give it to anyone you love to eat with.
The Book of Jezebel: An Illustrated Encyclopedia of Lady Things, edited by Anna Holmes
Full disclosure: I am one of the contributors to this coffee table book, but even if I weren’t, I would include it in a list of mandatory blog-books of note. From Aaliyah to Zygote (“Too young to be a slut, so way more entitled to civil rights than you are”), it’s a gorgeously illustrated, earnest yet tongue-in-cheek tome perfect for lingering over on the couch during the hours you want to have fun but learn a little something at the same time (one page has an entry on Oprah along alongside one on documentary photographer Catherine Opie). Give it to your favorite smart lady or your favorite future smart lady. Or if you want to really be awesome? Give it to one of your favorite dudes.
STFU, Parents: The Jaw-Dropping, Self-Indulgent, and Occasionally Rage-Inducing World of Parent Overshare, by Blair Koenig
We’re all familiar with those internet (or real-life) types who are know-it-all, hypersensitive, and/or holier-than-thou parents, but we can’t say anything about them, because, well, children are our future, blah blah blah. Thank god for STFU Parents, which I got into before my son was even a twinkle in my eye. The day I first found it, I spent a whole Sunday reading back over the archives, poring over the unbelievable stories of parents who created the perfect storm by adding child + social media. Not only is it funny and cathartic to read through the posts in book form, it’s a bit of a how-to guide in terms of being a parent that everyone can stand. Give it to a cool expecting friend, a parent with attitude, or your favorite proudly childless pal.
The Sartorialist: Closer, by Scott Shuman
The Sartorialist’s street style fashion blog is one of my lunchtime must-reads. As with any fashion publication, I have a love/hate relationship with its contents, which elicits reactions such as “No one over 100 pounds and more than 20 years old can pull that off,” “Where am I supposed to wear that to—the grocery store?,” “That just looks ridiculous,” and, of course, “Oooh. Pretty.” While Schuman frequently captures a high fashion world that none of us will ever live in (how often are you hanging out elegantly smoking a cigarette after yet another show at Paris Fashion Week?), he is also adept at capturing personality and point of view, making city life look like a never-ending runway. The hard copy will have you poring over the choices in it, and possibly have you reconsidering your next outfit. Give it to anyone who uses the phrase “street style” unironically.
Man Repeller: Seeking Love. Finding Overalls, by Leandra Medine
Leandra Medine, creator of the cheeky fashion blog “Man Repeller” (referring to fashion that is so high concept that men find its wearers undesirable), began her blog as a hobby—but it became an actual fashion institution. However, instead of making the book version of her blog a “royal we” of fashion, Medine uses her love of style to tell her own life story in humorous essay form, punctuated by wonderful and questionable purchases. Give it to anyone who uses the phrase “street style” ironically (but who secretly means it sincerely).
Hyperbole and a Half: Unfortunate Situations, Flawed Coping Mechanisms, Mayhem, and Other Things That Happened, by Allie Brosh
Not many bloggers have the type of following that would wait (im)patiently while its proprietor takes an unannounced year-and-a-half hiatus, but not many bloggers are Allie Brosh. Brosh, the operator of Hyperbole And A Half, the hilarious yet achingly personal blog illustrated by stick-figure, bug-eyed drawings, took the time off to deal with depression, which she revealed in a comeback post that was received rapturously by fans awaiting her return. Brosh has blogged sporadically since then, but lovers of her writings and drawings can now experience her in book form, with hilarious tales of her life accompanied by her inimitable crude drawings. Give it to anyone who has feelings and/or likes to laugh.
What’s your favorite blog-turned-book?