No time to read this holiday season? It’s understandable that you might want to put off reading Ken Follett’s latest novel, the 960-page “Winter of the World," until after the first of the year.
But some of our books might be a big help during this busy season. Here are a few — some brand-new, some time-tested favorites — that we like:
“Photograph Your Kids Like a Pro” by Heather Mosher. Memorable family gatherings deserve memorable family photos. Mosher, a professional photographer, explains the basics of photography, offers creative ideas for photo shoots, and provides dozens of absolutely adorable photos to inspire you.
“Holiday Crafting and Baking with Kids” by Jessica Strand. Celebrate the winter holidays of Hanukkah, Kwanzaa, Christmas, New Year’s Eve and Boxing Day with simple projects easy enough for children ages 4 and older. The materials and ingredients are inexpensive and easy to find, and, with Strand’s easy-to-follow directions, they produce impressive results.
“The Best Freezer Cookbook” by Jan Main. Want to cut your cooking time in half? Make a double batch of one of Main’s recipes, one to serve for tonight’s dinner, the other for the freezer for a later dinner. Main’s recipes — for lazy lasagna, pot pies, chicken and broccoli pasta with pesto and more — may not be fancy, but they’re family-friendly.
“The Martha Stewart Living Christmas Cookbook” by Martha Stewart. If it’s inspiration you’re looking for, this is the book to borrow. Ready to tackle beef Wellington, a whole roasted salmon, gratin dauphinoise, peppermint semifreddo, or a buche de noel that is so beautiful it would be a shame to eat? Maybe not, but like most of Martha’s books, it’s fun to look at.
“Cookies Unlimited” by Nick Malgieri. An essential cookbook for anyone who loves cookies, “Cookies Unlimited” offers recipes for every kind of cookie — bar, drop, piped, molded, filled, even fried. Malgieri’s recipes are easy to follow, and his recipe for gingerbread people (page 117) belongs in every kitchen.
“Very Merry Cookies” from Better Homes and Gardens. It’s hard to resist a book with a cheerful red-and-green cover and a box brimming with sweet treats — spritz cookies, red velvet whoopie pies, peppermint sandwich crèmes and Santa cutouts, to name a few. In addition to the recipes, there are lots of ideas for decorating and presenting baked goods.
“Easy Greeting Cards” from Better Homes and Gardens. A book filled with ideas for simple but pretty handmade cards for every occasion, with a chapter devoted to Christmas and Hanukkah. The book also provides creative ideas for wrapping packages, making gift bags, and creating clever holders for gift cards.
And if you’re making gifts? Whether you want to knit a hat, make some jam or sew a stuffed animal, we have lots of books with lots of inspiration. We hope you’ll be able to squeeze a little time into your busy holiday schedule to come in and see for yourself.