When all else fails, buy them a book - like maybe one of these 2007 releases that you might have missed.By Jenna Schnuer
FOR THE CELEBRITY OBSESSED: A BOOK ON BEING FAMOUS In My Blood: Six Generations of Madness and Desire in an American Family by John Sedgwick (HarperCollins, $26). A deep depression inspired John Sedgwick to look at his family history and the mental illness that runs through his family tree. He found that Sedgwicks have played a role in American history from the earliest days. Theodore Sedgwick? Friend of George Washington. Ellery Sedgwick? Ran the influential Atlantic Monthly for 30 years. Kyra Sedgwick? Scores high in Six Degrees of Kevin Bacon.
FOR THE HOME COOK: RECIPES FROM PEOPLE WHO ARE WELL KNOWN BUT WHO AREN'T CELEBRITY CHEFS American Food Writing: An Anthology with Classic Recipes, edited by Molly O'Neill (The Library of America, $40). Lit-minded foodies must make room on their bookshelves for this comprehensive look at food in America. It covers everything from what Lewis and Clark downed during their journey to the modernday organic obsession. It even features what is believed to be the first-ever recipe for ice cream written by an American. His name? Thomas Jefferson.
FOR THE TRAVELER: MAPS THAT MAKE YOU SMARTER Cartographia: Mapping Civilizations by Vincent Virga (Little, Brown; $60). Put the borders you've crossed in your personal travels into historical context. This book is packed with maps from the Library of Congress that detail how the world has been divvied up during the last six centuries.
FOR THE NONREADER: A BOOK TO READ How to Talk about Books You Haven't Read by Pierre Bayard (Bloomsbury, $20). The author, a psychoanalyst and a professor of French literature at the University of Paris VIII, offers help to those of us with holes in our reading history. "Skimming books without actually reading them does not in any way prevent you from commenting on them," Bayard argues. "It's even possible that this is the most efficient way to absorb books, respecting their inherent depth and richness without getting lost in the details." Word.
FOR THE WORKOUT FANATIC: THE SPEED-WALKING ROUTINE YOU'LL NEVER DUPLICATE A Land So Strange: The Epic Journey of Cabeza de Vaca by Andrés Reséndez (Basic Books, $27). Not long after Christopher Columbus did his thing in North America, four shipwrecked men journeyed from what is now Florida to the West Coast and dealt with a load of tough tasks along the way, including years of enslavement in the Southwest. Luckily for modern man, Reséndez is a marvelous storyteller who makes you feel like you are there - even if you're really just lying on the couch.
FOR THE HUCKLEBERRY HOUND BOOK CLUB: THE BOOK OF THE YEAR The Hanna-Barbera Treasury by Jerry Beck (Welcome Books, $45) Admit it: You still watch The Flintstones, and Scooby-Doo still does right by your funny bone. Well, now you can celebrate all the good that Hanna- Barbera cartoons were without feeling the least bit silly. This book looks at the studio's work as art. And art is good for you.