Here’s our nifty little festive gift guide for pop culture book lovers of all shapes and sizes.
Ok, so this year has been a complete disaster. The Covid-19 epidemic has swept the world, infecting millions of people and despite the emergence of a vaccine that gives us hope that the world will start to get back to a new sense of normality very soon, it is worth remembering that not all of our family, friends and other people around the world didn’t make it out alive. That sad truth will live in our hearts and minds for years to come and the year 2020 will go down in history as one of the worst in living memory. Despite this, we now find ourselves in December and our thoughts turn towards the Christmas period. Although we may not be able to celebrate as we want to, with our families, we still bring our thoughts to present giving. I have read and reviewed many books over this year and I feel that I can offer some gift ideas for the movie fans, large or small in your life. The following would make terrific stocking fillers for those you love.
For the creative culinary genius in your life, why not check out the ‘Wonder Woman: The Official Cookbook‘. The book contains over fifty vegetarian recipes inside its pages and the delights range from ‘Battle-Ready Breakfasts’ such as ‘Paradise Island Pancakes’ and ‘Fruits Of The Gods Muffins’. Fare such as ‘Amazonian Appetizers, sides, and snacks’ such as ‘Power-Up Pita Pockets’ and ‘Winter Wonder Fruit Salad’. ‘Mighty Meals’ such as ‘Steve Trevor Egg Salad’ and ‘Justice League Lasagne’. Superhero Sweets’ like ‘Golden Lasso Peach Shortcake’ and ‘Victory Cake’, and a ‘Party Time’ section for catering for those parties that we MAY be allowed to have shortly. All in all, the book, by Briana Volk and with photographs from Carla Choy is a triumph and would make a great gift for a budding chef or someone who wishes to try something else in the kitchen. And all the dishes are tasty, delicious, and healthy. Available to order here.
Or there’s the ‘Back To The Future: The Official Hill Valley Cookbook‘. Allison Robicelli writes the words while Matt Robicelli provides the recipes and Ted Thomas provides the photography in a delightful book that will again appeal to all budding chefs out there. The book is made up of sections of time the films and we will visit in the trilogy and the gastronomic delights we will encounter there. Whether it’s ‘Needles Nachos’, Mr. Caruthers Egg Cream’, ‘Exploding Candy Toaster Tarts’ or ‘Hoverboard Cookies’, the book will once again make culinary delights for your family and friends. and again, will be a nice and much-appreciated volume to add to the cookbooks in a kitchen. Available to order here.
For the adventurous and ambitious host, there is the ‘Star Trek Cocktails: A Stellar Compendium‘. This neat and highly informative book will allow you to create many new cocktails for your guests or your family. Everyone is, of course, for an alcoholic adult beverage and certainly not for children. But with drinks called ‘Earl Grey Martini’, ‘Set Chasers To Stun’, ‘Borg Queen’, ‘Ice Planet’. or one I have tried on several occasions, the ‘To Bibble With Tribbles’ which I can confirm is a rather nice (HIC!) drink, the book will inspire whoever you buy it for to create some incredible looking and tasting alcoholic beverages that will astound those lucky enough to be able to visit and be served one. Available to order here.
For the movie geek in your life, I suggest grabbing them a copy of the marvelous ‘Vintage Geek Quiz Book‘ by Marshall Julius. This amazing book will boggle their minds and test their knowledge of all things movie-wise. With questions set by such famous names such as Mark Hamill, John Carpenter, Sam Neill, Sam J. Jones, Carrie Henn, and featuring a foreword from ‘The Simpsons’ writer Mike Reiss, this will keep them occupied for hours and will drive them crazy with the facts they possibly don’t know. Marshall Julius is an evil genius when it comes to gathering facts and testing everyone’s knowledge with his incredible quiz book (and I’ve told him as such!) and this will make an ideal gift for someone. Available to order here.
For the little ones out there, may I suggest ‘Marvel: We Are Superheroes‘? Written by Emma Grange, this book is designed to inspire youngsters to be all they can be, to be tolerant of others different from themselves, and to possibly inspire them to take up a hobby. With characters such as Ms. Marvel, the Miles Morales version of Spider-Man, Squirrel Girl, and Professor X, this is designed to make the little ones smile as well as show them the ethnic diversity that is prevalent in the world, informing and educating them at the same time. Available to order here.
Or you could give them ‘How To Speak Astromech With BB-8: A Communication Manual‘. This book is perfect for the little ones at bedtime. With dialogue and text that can be read out to the child and with interactive buttons for them to press which will unleash dialogue and sounds from the ‘Star Wars‘ saga to go along with the pictures and story, it will make a great little present for them and will make bedtime a joy for them. Plus it will give them great memories of storytime with mum or dad or maybe both. Available to order here.
For the budding artist, try ‘Alien: 40 Years, 40 Artists‘. This book is a revelation. Every image that has been designed and entered into the book is a work of art with many different visual designs and techniques. Some are better than others but it is for everyone’s taste that the designs have been created. There are at least four designs that I would love to see made into large canvas art, all bright and amazing, hanging on my walls inside my home. And the budding artist cannot help but be amazed and inspired to create their artworks. It doesn’t have to be ‘Alien‘ inspired but the book will inspire them in their chosen profession. The designs are something they may not have considered and may give them new outlets for their creativity. Available to order here.
For the ones that just want a bit of unadulterated and enjoyable fun, why not try the pair of books from the ‘Hero Collector‘s Nerd Search’ range. ‘Ghostbusters: Eerie Errors And Suspect Ghosts‘ is a complete hoot from start to finish and tests the knowledge of the ‘Ghostbusters‘ fan with some terrific fun. The ‘Star Trek: Quibbles With Tribbles‘ edition is one that any fan will be hard-pressed to complete the first time around. It is one of the hardest of the ‘Nerd Search’ books and needs a real ‘Star Trek‘ buff to spot everything that is contained within the pages. But the amount of fun that is to be had with the pair of them cannot be denied or underestimated. Available to order here.
For the serious fans and movie buffs though, books are abundant for them to be given and for them to enjoy. This year has seen a great influx of books that will blow their minds and will keep them occupied for hours. We start with the sublime ‘Star Wars: Collecting A Galaxy-The Art Of Sideshow‘. This book is a collector’s dream book, almost a bible-like volume that features so many Star Wars figures that are the cream of the crop of figures that have been released. Sideshow Collectibles figures are notoriously expensive and some are full-sized replicas of certain characters and so, for the majority of us, this book is the closest we will EVER come to owning one of the amazing pieces they make. The book is quite a chunky volume but nothing is left out and will keep the reader occupied for hours and hours. And then they can go back to the book time and again to marvel at the quality contained within. Available to order here.
Or there is the ‘Star Wars: The Lightsaber Collection‘ for the Star Wars enthusiast. This delightful book showcases every Lightsaber seen in the ‘Star Wars‘ universe and is entertaining and informative from the start. Every model from every character that carries one is demonstrated here and everyone is covered in detail with informative text accompanying the photographs that are printed inside the pages. A must-have for any Star Wars fan in your life. Available to order here.
Several ‘The Making Of’ and ‘The Art Of’ books have hit the shelves this year and amongst the best are ‘The Secrets Of Tenet: Inside Christopher Nolan’s Quantum Cold War‘ by James Mottram that goes behind the scenes of the big-budget Warner Bros. movie, the one that was eyed as the savior of the Summer box office. This incredible and enjoyable book is a complete triumph from start to finish. Available to order here.
Or could we tempt you with ‘The Art Of Star Trek: Discovery‘. The inside track of the amazing series that is currently enjoying its third season, the book contains so many amazing facts and figures alongside the behind the scenes story of the look and the creation of the show as well as explaining the reasoning behind the redesign of the U.S.S Enterprise from the season one finale and season two. Every deck, bulkhead, and section of the U.S.S. Discovery, the main ship in the show is examined here in a delightful, colorful, and completely engrossing book for any fan of the series or TV and movie making in general. Available to order here.
Not to be denied, J.W Rinzler gets in on the act with what has to be possibly my favorite book of the year with ‘The Making Of Aliens‘. This volume has everything a fan of the ‘Alien‘ franchise could ever want. Rinzler is the ‘Daddy’ of the making of books and here, he has completely excelled himself. Behind the scenes photographs and stories, the production designs, the characters, everything that the film holds is here for the reader to discover and is one astounding book. It is one book that needs to be owned and given to someone very special and believe me when I say it is incredible. It is in the top three percent of the movie books ever published and I have to admit, I adored it. Available to order here.
But the book that has it all, the book that is the one that will appeal to everyone who has an interest in movies and desires to know the ins and outs of the movie-making business is the incredible ‘Back To The Future: The Ultimate Visual History-Revised And Expanded Edition‘. This is the one to give as a present to the one you love if they have a serious interest in movies. When I read it (and it took me a while, it is so in-depth and delves into everything), I marveled at what it contained. I believe I said it is in the top three percent of the greatest movie books of all time and I still stand by that remark. There are movie books and then there’s this and ‘The Making Of Aliens‘. The pair of them are the top dogs when it comes to being informative and must own volumes for a collection. This book, an epic labor of love from the acclaimed Michael Klastorin and Randal Atamaniuk, is the book of the year. The love, detail, and attention that has gone into creating this epic volume cannot ever be disputed. And the book, alongside ‘The Making Of Aliens‘ makes for the perfect Christmas gift. Available to order here.
As a bonus thought for you to consider, there is the incredible ‘Batman: The Animated Series – The Phantom City Creative Collection‘. This book is possibly the finest book in the selection I have offered. With a foreword by Paul Dini himself, this is something that needs to be consumed, closed, and then re-read again. The Batman fans out there would adore opening the cover of this tremendous book and their breath would catch in their throat as they soak up what is inside the cover. I’m on my second reading of it currently and can confirm that it is a fan’s dream book to own. On many occasions, I have found myself just staring at the exquisite pictures inside the pages from time to time and I’m not afraid to admit that I can’t get enough of it. Available to order here.
These are but a small handful of the wonderful books that have hit the shelves this year. There are so many more out there that would also make great presents or stocking fillers but these are my selections. Any one of them would bring a smile to the face of the recipient and would bring them hours of joy and of course, cooking and cocktail making. All are now available to buy from all good retailers and I can’t recommend them highly enough.
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Carl Roberts is a Senior Entertainment/Books and Literature Correspondent for The Future of the Force. Aside from being our horror genre aficionado, he is also passionate about Star Wars, Marvel, DC, and the Indiana Jones movies. Follow him on Twitter where he uses the force frequently!