When December nears, I used to find myself scurrying around to find gifts for family and friends. Now I shop at Gramercy because we have fascinating, large-sized books perfect to put out on tables and credenzas. Here are just a few extraordinary recommendations for this holiday season:

My Himalaya: 40 Years Among Buddhists
The work of Olivier F llmi exudes authenticity and spirituality. For more than 40 years, the prize-winning photographer has documented the landscape and peoples of the Himalayas, a region he first got to know on a hiking trip in the 1980s. Captivated by Tibetan culture, people, and their harmonious coexistence with nature, F llmi returned to the mountain region on numerous occasions—at times as a mountain guide, at others to live and learn from spiritual leaders in a Buddhist temple. The Himalayas became his destiny, and he became one of the most sensitive and insightful observers of life in Tibet. This rich photo book of the Himalayas is at once a remarkable retrospective and an homage to the Tibetan culture and spirituality which has so defined and characterized F llmi's life and work. Page after page reveals photographs of extraordinary emotion, color, tradition, and beauty, alongside inspiring anecdotes and stories from the photographer. My Himalaya is an enriching and enlightening book for anyone looking toward a more mindful way of life, as well as for all those interested in photography, trekking, landscape, and Buddhism. 

Trained as a marine biologist and a photographer, the Mexico City-born Cristina Mittermeier combines her work behind the lens with her passion for environmentalism, taking pictures around the world to explore our relationship to the earth and ocean and to draw attention to the beauty and the plight of our planet. In Amaze, Mittermeier elicits our wonder and awe at the natural world and the labyrinth or "maze" of navigating a sustainable existence. The book combines two series: "Enoughness" and "The Water's Edge." The first draws out Mittermeier's philosophy for a mindful and sustainable way of being in the world. Bringing together photographs from some of the most isolated corners of the earth, the book shows wild animals, remote landscapes, and indigenous peoples--challenging the cult of material wealth and proposing alternatives for a meaningful and sustainable connection to our environment, each other, and ourselves. In "The Water's Edge," Mittermeier presents photographs from around the globe that capture the frontier between land and ocean and the special meaning it has for human life. Whether it is fishermen bringing in their daily haul, women washing laundry in the shallows, or surfers frolicking in the spray, the water's edge is revealed as an integral and universal space in which ephemeral moments reveal not only our common dependency on the planet, but also our common humanity. As much an inspiration for sustainable living as a staggering collection of nature photography, Amaze is a must-have book for all those who care about our planet and those we share it with. 

African Twilight
For decades, world-renowned photographers Carol Beckwith and Angela Fisher have explored remote communities in Africa, documenting sacred initiations, courtship rituals, shamanic mask dancing and jubilant creative works. This stunning new two-volume book set captures these vivid and disappearing rituals and ceremonies from some of the most inaccessible corners of the African continent, to create the definitive statement on this subject. This new landmark volume will set the standard for capturing a visual testament to the vanishing traditions of African peoples. No other book like this exists or can ever be created again, as more than 40 percent of what has been documented here has already vanished. African Twilight is a celebration of the powerful artistry and boundless creativity of Africa's cultural heritage for audiences worldwide, transporting viewers into a world of connections between individual and community, body and soul, land and people. All of the photography is previously unpublished.

National Geographic SPECTACLE: Rare and Astonishing Photographs
This exquisite photo collection showcases awe-inducing moments from around the world, including the aurora borealis, cities made of neon lights, a great wildebeest migration, a contortionist on display—and more. In life, there are certain sights that are as beautiful as they are unforgettable--from a majestic supercell to the secrets of a deep blue ice cave to the world's largest library. These fascinating spectacles shock us in their diversity, their complexity, and their epic scale, bringing us the miraculous beauty of our planet. Featuring more than 200 color images, including acclaimed photography from the National Geographic Image Collection, this volume presents a dazzling array of natural and manmade wonders, unusual phenomena, and amusing curiosities. Each page will enlighten and inspire, presenting our world at its best.

Led Zeppelin
Led Zeppelin by Led Zeppelin is the first and only official illustrated book ever to be produced in full collaboration with the members of the band. Celebrating 50 years since their formation, this definitive 400-page volume charts the group's unparalleled musical career from the very first performance in a tiny club, to their show at London's O2 Arena, when 20 million fans broke the world record for highest demand for tickets for a single concert. The book features over 300 photographs--many seen here for the first time—of Jimmy Page, Robert Plant, John Paul Jones and John Bonham from photographers around the world, and photographs from the band members' personal collections. The band members are seen on and off stage, in candid moments and in the recording studio. Accompanying the photographs is rare and unseen artwork from the Led Zeppelin archives, and fascinating documents and images from the Atlantic Records vaults.

The Global Economy as You’ve Never Seen It: 99 Ingenious Infographics That Put It All Together
The economy is a complex, world-spanning, layer-upon-layer-upon-layer behemoth: One could argue that almost every aspect of our lives is connected to the realms of business and finance. And yet few of us truly understand it—even the world’s foremost economists can’t seem to agree on how it runs. The Global Economy as You’ve Never Seen It presents 99 large-scale, full-color, brilliant infographics that everyone can understand. From start-ups to monopolies, from trade agreements to theory, author Thomas Ramge and infographic specialist Jan Schwochow bring every facet of the economic web to life. Economics connects us all, from what we buy, to how we buy it, who made it, and where. See the economy differently—and the world.


Along with table top books, there are always those books we have on our nightstands, the ones we pick up to read before bedtime or, if you’re like me, in those wee hours when you wake up too early to start your day. I keep a record of the books I read and I’ve done that pretty meticulously for the last few years. In 2017, I read 22 books. So far this year I surprised myself to learn that I read 36 books (will likely have two or three more before year’s end). Since I curate all of Gramercy’s book club programs and our author events, my reading has clearly accelerated. I typically read advanced copies of books prior to the author’s visit or making the book club selection. The starred books are those unrelated to store events.

I list these books in order of when I read them: 

*Lilac Girls, by Martha Hall Kelly; Barking To The Choir: The Power of Radical Kinship, by Gregory Boyle; Here Is Real Magic, by Nate Staniforth; *Stoner, by John Williams; WHEN: The Scientific Secrets of Perfect Timing, by Daniel Pink;Sadness is a White Bird, by Moriel Rothman-Zecher; *Between the World and Me, by Ta-Nehisi Coates; Long Life, Essays and Other Writings, by Mary Oliver; The Immortalists, by Chloe Benjamin; *Assymmetry, by Lisa Halliday; The Female Persuasion, by Meg Wolitzer; Sweet & Low, by Nick White: Southernmost, by Silas House; *Abide with Me, by Elizabeth Strout; Goodbye, Sweet Girl: A Story of Domestic Abuse, by Kelly Sundberg; Unsheltered, by Barbara Kingsolver; The Hellfire Club, by Jake Tapper; The Masterpiece, by Fiona Davis; FEARED, by Lisa Scottoline; *The Address, by Fiona Davis; *Goodbye, Paris, by Anstey Harris; Bone on Bone, by Julia Keller; The Mars Room, by Rachel Kushner; Harbor Me, by Jacqueline Woodson; The Day You Begin, by Jacqueline Woodson; *Another Brooklyn, by Jacqueline Woodson; The Mutual UFO Network, by Lee Martin; TIGERLAND, by Wil Haygood; *A Moveable Feast, by Ernest Hemingway; Sapiens, by Yuval Noah Harari; *The Story of a Brief Marriage, by Anuk Arudpragasam;Heartland, by Sarah Smarsh; Been So Long: My Life and Music, by Jorma Kaukonen; Come With Me, by Helen Schulman; *This Beautiful Life, by Helen Schulman; *A Christmas Memory, by Truman Capote

A closing word about holiday book giving. Gramercy Store Manager Debbie Boggs contacted Franklin County Children Services a few months back so that we could offer a “Be a Book Angel” program at the store, as part of FCCS’s Holiday Wish Program. The program continues through December 24thand its goal is to put books into the hands of children in the FCCS program. Since November 1st, customers have chosen among the stars from our Christmas tree (each has the name, age, and gender of a child in the care of Franklin County Children Services), and then picked out an appropriate book for that child, which they purchased at a 25% discount. We replace the star on the tree with an angel bearing the customer’s name in recognition of his or her donation. I’m thrilled to say that the tree is already filled with names of many generous patrons. Thanks to Debbie for bringing this wonderful program to Gramercy Books!

The Gramercy Books family wishes you and yours a holiday filled with love and joy!



Written by Linda Kass

About the author: I began my career as a magazine writer and correspondent for regional and national publications and am now an assistant editor for Narrative, an online literary magazine. My debut novel, Tasa’s Song, was inspired by my mother’s early life in eastern Poland during the Second World War. It won a Bronze Medal for Historical Fiction from the Independent Publisher Award Program and was a 2016 Foreword INDIES Award Finalist. I am also the proud owner of Gramercy Books, central Ohio’s newest indie bookstore! 

Learn more about me on my personal website.