GREAT GIFT BOOKS AND NEAT LITTLE PACKAGES
THE GOSPEL ACCORDING TO ESPN: SAINTS, SAVIORS, & SINNERS
Edited by Jay Lovinger, Introduction by Hunter S. Thompson (Hyperion, $40)


A collection of essays, illustrations, and photographs explore sports as America’s secular religion. Thompson leads with the strangely chaotic place where sports and religion interact; George Plimpton writes of sports gods, worthy of worship. The greats make an appearance — Muhammad Ali, Billie Jean King, Avery Brundage — prophets, if you will, who change the way people look at life, even if just on the field or court.

OUR READ: A SCORE FOR THE SPORTS LOVER IN YOUR LIFE
THE BEST AMERICAN MYSTERY STORIES 2002
Edited by James Ellroy (Houghton Mifflin, $28)


Robert B. Parker, Joyce Carol Oates, Michael Connelly, and Thomas H. Cook are among the mystery masters who make their literary appearances in this sixth best-of volume.

OUR READ: APPROPRIATELY CHILLING AND THRILLING

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NEW ON DVD

Tom Cruise and Mike “yeah, baby” Myers are coming home for the holidays in Minority Report, available December 17, and Austin Powers in Goldmember (left), a shagadelic treat also out this month, that boasts a medley of extras, such as “Fashion vs. Fiction,” an explorative look at the various phases of fashion in Goldmember.

Great DVD box sets that make perfect last-minute gifts include Baz Luhrmann’s Red Curtain Trilogy Box Set. Offering a fix to any Luhrmann fan, it wraps three of his most impressive films — Moulin Rouge SE, Romeo + Juliet, and Strictly Ballroom — in a five-disc collection. For the comedy-lover, the Farrelly Brothers Collection Box Set is a sure hit, containing Shallow Hal, Me, Myself & Irene, and There’s Something About Mary. Another collector’s set that’s ageless and a sure hit: the James Bond Gift Set, which includes Dr. No, GoldenEye, Goldfinger, License to Kill, The Spy Who Loved Me, The Man With the Golden Gun, and Tomorrow Never Dies — all special edition.

— ANNA FIALHO