Book Article

Eat, Think, and be Merry

'Tis the season for beautiful editions of favorite literary classics, photo-laden travelogues, luxe art retrospectives, and coffee-table books that feature everything from Broadway history to extinct birds. Enjoy!

Bunny Yeager's Darkroom: Pinup Photography's Golden Era
Petra Mason (amazon.com, $37.80)
Yeager, a model-turned-photographer, was integral to Bettie Page's rise to stardom — and Darkroom celebrates her work with Page and other women during pinup's heyday in the 1950s. In fact, it was Yeager's famously sexy shot of the black-haired, blue-eyed, red-lipped Page in a Santa hat — snapped up instantly by Playboy — that catapulted both women to fame. Though the smoky, sultry photos may seem tame by today's standards, they remain the definition of erotic.

Dr. Seuss: The Cat Behind the Hat
Caroline M. Smith (bn.com, $45.88)
There's the Dr. Seuss we all know — the one who counts fish and extols the virtues of unlikely breakfast items — but there was also a lot more to the man who penned the children's books we grew up on. This wonderful collection gives readers a glimpse into a side of Theodor Geisel that we don't often get to see, including some of his anti-anti-Semitic political cartoons and his ''midnight paintings,'' a series of private works reminiscent of Hieronymus Bosch. It would take a real Grinch to dislike such a splendiferous book.

The Chronicles of Downton Abbey
Jessica Fellowes & Matthew Sturgis (bn.com, $16.29)
Exuding the gloss and prestige for which the show is known, this companion book gives fans an inside look at Julian Fellowes' popular period series about Britain's fading aristocracy. All three seasons of the stolid but delightfully sudsy import are covered, including the arrival of Shirley MacLaine as the free-spirited American mother of Lady Grantham.


Art
Cabinets of Wonder
Christine Davenne & Christine Fleurent (amazon.com, $29.70)
Maybe your cabinets at home aren't full of wonder — just Wonder bread. But this book traces an interesting (if creepy) phenomenon of art and science: taxidermied creations that straddle the line between naturalism and fantasy.

Charley Harper's Animal Kingdom
Todd Oldham (amazon.com, $61.99)
Harper's passion for color and lyrical sensibility make the images almost leap off the pages of this stunning volume.

Eames
Eames Demetrios (amazon.com, $126)
This book, which commemorates the work of husband-and-wife designers Charles and Ray Eames, is perhaps best perused while leaning back in one of their iconic chairs.

George Bellows
(amazon.com, $37.80)
A chronicler of America's huddled masses, Bellows brought out the vitality of life in the early 20th century.

Tom Wesselmann
(amazon.com, $57.22)
Wesselmann's vivid renditions of soda bottles are Pop art that pops, and the rest of his work — which spans a variety of different media — also insistently implants itself onto your corneas.

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