Ho, ho, ho, and a bottle of Red Bull. It’s THAT time of the year again and we here at Doom HQ have been busier than migrating elves in Middle Earth cultivating this list of the best books and eBooks of 2012. See below for our Holiday Geek Gift Guide 2012: Books & eBooks.
It seems that 2012 was a good year for rock ‘n’ roll memoir/biography/holy-shit-I-lived-through-that/hey-we’re-still-relevant books because we’ve got a fairly long list of ’em for people like your cousin Phil who still wears that bogus KISS jersey he bought in the parking lot at NJ’s Brendan Byrne Arena back in 1982. And there’s lots more geeky awesome gift books in our annual Holiday Geek Gift Guide, including several movie and TV tie-ins; Star Trek Federation: The First 150 Years, which is so hot it made it onto this year’s list twice; the Star Trek: The Klingon Bird-Of-Prey Owners’ Workshop Manual, an obvious essential for all Bird-Of-Prey owners; picks for the Star Wars, Firefly, and The Avengers fans in your life; a bunch of urban fantasy selections, and a pick from the dudes over at Wizards of the Coast.
Contributed by The Book Slave
American Science Fiction: Nine Classic Novels of the 1950s
This two-volume anthology contains nine groundbreaking works from some of the original masters of science fiction, such as Robert Heinlein, Richard Matheson, James Blish, and Alfred Bester. It’s a great introduction to the genre for the uninitiated and a must-have item for any long time sci-fi fan.
A trilogy for zombie fans! We’ve reviewed both Feed and Deadline, the first two books in Mira Grant’s trilogy here at Geeks of Doom. Blackout is the thrilling conclusion to the series. This boxed set makes a great gift for all the zombie lovers in your life.
J.R.R. Tolkien 4-Book Boxed Set: The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings (Movie Tie-in): The Hobbit, The Fellowship of the Ring, The Two Towers, The Return of the King
Tolkien’s epic Lord of the Rings fantasy series is packed up in a nifty boxed set, which includes The Hobbit, The Fellowship of the Ring, The Two Towers, and The Return of the King, makes a great gift for fans of the movies who’ve yet to read the books.
In his own words, Neil Young tells his whole story, from his Canadian childhood to joining Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young, to forming Crazy Horse and loving his wife Pegi. It’s a colorful memoir by the guy who’s still – after fifty-two years at it – Rockin’ in the Free World with gusto.
In this authorized biography of Bruce Springsteen, acclaimed author and journalist Peter Ames Carlin tells the complete story of the Boss from his humble working-class beginnings in Freehold, New Jersey to becoming the multiple-Grammy winning storyteller of American life. Featuring interviews with Springsteen’s family and members of the E Street Band, including the last major interview with Clarence Clemons, Carlin shares his unlimited access with us in this vivid, intimate portrait of a beloved rock star who never, ever forgets where he came from.
In his memoir, The Who’s enigmatic, arm-winding, instrument-smashing guitarist tells us all about what it’s been like being him all these years, from his traumatic, parentless upbringing in post-war England to creating the rock opera masterpiece Tommy as an outlet for his personal anguish he suffered as a result. Turns out, it hasn’t always been bloody awful, as Townshend throws in plenty of rock star action to keep us tuned in to make sure he’s okay in the end.
The long awaited, much anticipated memoir by original Kiss drummer Peter Criss, which we first wrote about here on Geeks of Doom last year, is finally out! Criss pulls no punches in this all-out account of his life as a kid from Brooklyn who grew up to be a real deal rock star and came out the other side mostly unscathed. A fascinating read for any Kiss fan.
Here’s an unusual look at the private words of John Lennon as he wrote them to friends, lovers and others, collected and annotated by Hunter Davies, who also wrote the authorized biography The Beatles in 1968. Davies helps put Lennon’s handwritten notes, letters and postcards into context by providing annotations with each entry. Perfect for the Beatles freak in your life who already has everything else.
The Rolling Stones turned 50 this year and this is the only officially authorized book to celebrate this milestone. It tells the complete history of The Rolling Stones up until now in over 1,000 illustrations and a few words. It’s like giant thank you to their fans for the many decades of our support and love to which this fan says thank you!
Author Brad Tolinski spent the last 20 years collecting his discussions with the Led Zeppelin superguitarist, who talks about everything from his early days as a top session player in England to some of the greatest Zeppelin hits we all know and love, including “Stairway to Heaven,” “Whole Lotta Love,” and “Kashmir.” You’ll also learn what it was really like to be in band with Robert Plant, John Bonham, and John Paul Jones. He covers it all in great detail. A must for the Led Zep fans in your life.
Kicking & Dreaming: A Story of Heart, Soul, and Rock & Roll
Ann and Nancy Wilson – the heart and soul of Heart – tell their own story as two of the most respected women in rock & roll with the help of acclaimed music biographer Charles R. Cross. We learn what it was really like for these sisters to break new ground in an often harsh, male-dominated world without ever sacrificing their integrity, their souls or each other.
The Weird: A Compendium of Strange and Dark Stories
As we mentioned here on Geeks of Doom back in June, this beautifully illustrated and meticulously researched work celebrates the 150th anniversary of the United Federation of Planets. It’s got lights, a pedestal, an audio introduction by Admiral Hikaru Sulu, and is so insanely awesome, it would make a Vulcan squeal louder than a “˜tween girl at a Bieber concert.
Inside HBO’s Game of Thrones: The Collector’s Edition
By Bryan Cogman, Will Simpson, David Benioff, D.B. Weiss, George R. R. Martin Hardcover
We first told you about this great deal right here on Geeks of Doom and it’s so awesome, that we’re telling you again. This lovely gold gift box contains an illustrated book detailing the transition of Game of Thrones, the first book in George R. R. Martin’sA Song of Fire and Ice series, into the thrilling HBO cable TV series that has us all in frothy-mouthed fits waiting for the next season. Also included in the gift box are scrolled maps, an artist’s portfolio featuring never-before-seen storyboards, hundreds of unpublished set photos, production and costume designs, plus family trees, a dissection of the Dothraki language, histories of the realms, interviews with actors and crew members, and a foreword by George R.R. Martin. If you’ve got it bad for Game of Thrones or know someone who does (besides us), give them this beauty and they’ll probably never draw their sword in anger at you again.
Browncoats unite! Released in time for the tenth anniversary of the cult phenomenon, this book is a collection of three companion books released by Titan Books. Bound in a brown leatherette cover, this massive compendium of the ill-fated, one season show is a collectors dream. Loaded with photos, interviews and scripts, it is a perfect gift for the scifi geek on your list. It even comes with frameable photos so they can really be in Nerd-vana.
At long last, the newest volume in The Dresden Files is available. Jim Butcher’s masterful series about a private investigator (and wizard) set in contemporary Chicago has been one blockbuster novel after another. This is book fourteen, so if that special someone hasn’t read the others then get those, too. But this one is the start of a new direction for Harry Dresden, with new power comes new rules and he hates rules. Will his role as Winter Knight change him forever? Or will he come out swinging, like the underdog he has always been? Read it and find out!
The newest faction pack available for Dungeon Command, a head to head small board and miniature based game, this gem is loaded with features. This set contains twelve pre-painted miniatures and all the necessary cards and tiles to play. Usable as a standalone game or in conjunction with previous packs, it even comes with a quick start guide that enables two people to play from a single set right out of the box. This is an easy pick for the diehard gamer on your list.
We can’t get enough of Star Trek and if you’re the same, Star Trek Federation: The First 150 Years. Is just what you need. This impressive volume details the first century-and-a-half of alien encounters (including mankind’s first contact with the Vulcans), the formation of the Federation, the technology of Star Trek ships and some incredible color sketches and diagrams. The little plastic holder lights up and has a talking introduction by George Takei! It would be illogical not to buy this.
The Avengers and Philosophy: Earth’s Mightiest Thinkers
Philosophers of the world – assemble! The Avengers and Philosophy: Earth’s Mightiest Thinkers arms you with everything you need to know about The Avengers. Exploring the ethics and motives behind the actions of these superheroes, it gives you a greater insight into the movie and the original comics. An awesome Kindle purchase.
This year Metallica guitarist Kirk Hammett opened the doors to his extensive horror vault for the world to see. And his collection is huge; in fact it’s one of the largest collections of horror movie artifacts in the world. Put together with the editor of the Metallica fanclub magazine, Steffan Chirazi, Too Much Horror Business is a great collection of Kirk’s collection and an insight into the man himself.
This year James Bond reached the grand old age of 50. In that time the movies have given us some of the greatest movie posters of all time: from the detailed, alluring illustrations from the “˜60s and “˜70s through to the slick, rugged-looking pictures of today. A fascinating book.
Book of Sith: Secrets from the Dark Side [Vault Edition]
Face it: every Star Wars fan wants to be a Sith Lord. Book of Sith: Secrets from the Dark Side chronicles the history of the galaxy’s most dastardly bad guys and their rise to great power. Presented in an awesome pyramid box that opens up and rolls out the leather-look fully illustrated book this is one of the coolest pieces of Star Wars merchandise out there. Come to the dark side.
Bond On Bond: Reflections on 50 years of James Bond Movies
What better way to celebrate the British secret agent movies than an account by the man who has played 007 more times than anyone else? Roger Moore is arguably the greatest of all the Bonds. In Bond On Bond: Reflections on 50 years of James Bond Movies he details each of the films with his trademark dry wit including his part in seven iconic productions when he played the title role.
For the zombie fiction lover in your life, do them a favor and get them this book. It’s a unique take on what has become a stale, overcrowded subgenre, and it has a cool twist with elements of science fiction. Bernstein is a rising star in the horror genre and this book is a great one to acquaint you to his work.
The second novel from acclaimed Stoker Award-winning novelist Benjamin Kane Ethridge, Bottled Abyss is a highly memorable read that puts a cool spin on death with some influences from Greek myths. It’s a visceral, relatable story, and a great follow-up to the author’s previous book, Black & Orange.
One of the more original “angels versus demons” fantasy novels to come out in recent years. Lou Morgan’s story will captivate you from start to finish, with some of the most unique world-building as relating to Heaven and Hell. The protagonist’s life is turned upside down when she finds out she’s half-angel and that she has abilities that Lucifer can put to great use, if she lets him.
The fourth installment in Richard Kadrey’s wonderful Sandman Slim series picks up where we left off in Aloha from Hell with some interesting changing of the guard that has happened down in Hell. Sandman Slim’s trademark sardonic wit, his wacky and always entertaining sidekicks, as well as more fantastic world-building make this a must for the dark urban fantasy lover reader in your life who’s sick of the same old “tough chick” schtick that we still see too much of.
Also winning bonus points for high originality is Nocturnal, which is the perfect solution to the reader in your life who has been looking for something good to read after Justin Cronin’s The Passage and the sequel, which recently came out this year. Nocturnal does for demons and vampires what Sigler did for alien invasion stories with Infected and Contagious.
Published by Titan Books, Prometheus: The Art of the Film is a gorgeous 192-page hardcover companion to Ridley Scott”˜s return to science-fiction. The book includes a foreword from director Ridley Scott and two essays: A Return to Science Fiction, in which Scott summarizes why he wanted to revisit the universe he created in Alien and how the progression of a story that was originally conceived as an Alien prequel mutated into an original science-fiction story.
The book contains numerous full-page illustrations and detailed images of spacesuits, vehicles, and the film’s numerous sets and interior locations like the Pyramid, the Ampule Chamber, and the Juggernaut’s telescoping pilot chair. You can also study the film’s various alien lifeforms, including the worm-thing (Hammerpede), Shaw’s squid-baby (Trilobyte), and a certain hostile organism known as The Deacon to the film’s designers and monster makers. This book is an absolute must-have companion for anyone who loves Alien or Prometheus.
Designed by world-renowned graphic designer Chip Kidd, The Art and Making of The Dark Knight Trilogy tells the complete behind-the-scenes story of Batman Begins, The Dark Knight, and The Dark Knight Rises. Based on in-depth interviews with Nolan and all of the films’ key cast and crew “” including co-writers David S. Goyer and Jonathan Nolan, cinematographer Wally Pfister, and more “” this hardcover coffee table book reveals the creative process behind the epic Dark Knight Trilogy, accented by beautiful artwork and never-before-seen set photography.
The Art and Making Of The Dark Knight Trilogy also includes a foreword by Christopher Nolan (his farewell letter to the franchise) and an introduction by Michael Caine. Printed at the end of the book is a tribute that Nolan wrote about the late Heath Ledger, titled “Charisma as Natural as Gravity,” which was originally published in Newsweek shortly after the actor’s death in 2008.
I’ve got to say, I own several huge coffee table books about movies and pop culture – and several books on the making-of such films – and The Art and Making of The Dark Knight Trilogy is by far one of the most in-depth, all-encompassing books of its kind. If you’re a fan of Christopher Nolan, Batman, or filmmaking in general, you should own this book.
In time for the holiday season each year, Amazon pushes out a new variety of Kindle devices. This time around, we have the Kindle Fire HD, which allows you to not only read your favorite ebooks, but also watch movies in HD, listen to music, store photos, browse the internet, and more – it’s pretty much a tiny iPad for less money. If you don’t need a mini tablet, then go for the new Kindle Paperwhite, which is their classic e-reader, but now it has a backlight, so no need for an external light – a big bonus indeed. A Kindle always makes a great gift, but if you’re not sure which one is right to get, check out Amazon’s main Kindle page to view a comparison of all the devices (and there are many now). Oh – and don’t wait to order, these babies do sell out and you might not get it in time for Christmas if you wait.
Star Trek: Klingon Bird-of-Prey Owners’ Workshop Manual
If you’re shopping this holiday season for a Star Trek fan, a great way to say QISmaS DatIvjaj ‘ej DIS chu’ DatIvjaj is with a copy of Klingon Bird-of-Prey Owners’ Workshop Manual, a manual for the starship famous for its cloaking abilities. This 128-page full-color hardcover manual (also available in ebook format) contains pertinent information on the spaceship’s layout, impulse engine room, the various decks, weapons and defensive systems, navigation, and my favorite part, “Life On Board” (it ain’t easy!), and much, much more.
The Star Wars Cookbook: Wookiee Pies, Clone Scones, and Other Galactic Goodies
Star Wars + Cookbook, need I say more? This 64-page full-color hardcover cookbook comes bundled together this 3 Star Wars-themed cookie cutters shaped as Darth Vader, Yoda, and R2-D2. Within are 30 recipes for goodies like C-3POatmeal Crisps, 3-Layer Admiral Ack-bars, Obi-Wan Ton, and May The Fudge Be With You. Be sure to snag this cookbook, try out the recipes, and then invite me over for a testing.
Earlier this year, the band Rush (my favorite band ever) released their 20th studio album called Clockwork Angels (on CD & MP3). To go along with the album, one of my favorite authors, best-selling science fiction writer Kevin J. Anderson, took the story of Clockwork Angels – written by Rush drummer & lyricist Neil Peart – and wrote a steampunk novel from it. This 304-page novel, available now in hardcover and for the Kindle, tells the tale of the young Owen Hardy, who leaves his village in search of adventure and finds places and things he never dreamed of, like pirates, carnies, airships, lost cities, and the rigid Watchmaker. Designer Hugh Syme, who’s worked with Rush for many years, provided the full-cover illustrations that appear throughout the book. Clockwork Angels: The Novel is a must-have for any Rush fan and/or those who enjoy Anderson’s writing.
Released this past October, just in time for Peter Jackson’s first installment of his big-screen trilogy adaptation of The Hobbit, comes The Hobbit Companion, a 96-page illustration hardcover that takes a deeper look into J.R.R. Tolkien’s Middle-Earth, as described in The Hobbit and The Lord Of The Rings. The book contains 100 illustrations by Lidia Postma, including beautiful watercolors and pencil sketches, that accurately depict life in The Shire and beyond. This companion also goes into detail on the inhabitants of this world, such as dwarves, goblins, wizards, dragons, trolls, giants, and of course hobbits. There’s plenty of information on The Shire and its residents, like Bilbo Baggins and his Took relatives; on the wizard Gandalf, and of course, The Ring. The Hobbit Companion is a great gift for that Tolkien fan in your life.
AMAZON SHIPPING INFORMATION
If you’re ordering through Amazon.com in the United States, here’s their ordering deadlines for delivery on or before Christmas Eve (12/24) for items in-stock shipped to physical addresses within the United States and marked “Ships from and sold by Amazon.com” or “Fulfilled by Amazon.com.”
– Dec. 18: Free Super Saver Shipping
– Dec. 19: Standard Shipping
– Dec. 21: Two-Day Shipping (order as late as 7:00 p.m. EST; varies by item; free with Amazon Prime)
– Dec. 22: One-Day Shipping (order as late as 3:00 p.m. EST; varies by item; as low as $3.99/item with Amazon Prime)
– Dec. 24: Local Express Delivery (while available; select cities; varies by item; as low as $3.99/item with Amazon Prime)
– Dec. 25: Email and printable Amazon Gift Cards can be sent immediately, at any time
Amazon Prime members can place orders up until 7:00 p.m. EST on Dec. 21 to receive deliveries by Dec. 24 using Free Two-Day Shipping (cut-off time varies by item).
*Super Saver Shipping is FREE on orders $25 and over.
Giving Kindle Books as Gifts
— You can gift Kindle books and set your gift to be delivered whenever you want to anyone with an email address. On the Product Page (on the top right side), click the button that reads “Give as a Gift.” From there you enter the recipient’s email address and note the date you’d like your gift to be delivered via email, and also include a personalized message. There’s also the option to have the gift emailed right to you that you can forward the gift email to the recipient yourself or print it out and personally deliver it to the recipient.
— You don’t actually need a Kindle device to read these ebooks. Books can be read on a Kindle or one of Amazon’s free reading apps for iPhone, iPad, Android, Windows PC, Mac, Blackberry, and Windows Phone 7.
Remember, if all else fails, there’s also the Amazon.com Gift Card, you can have emailed to the recipient (arrives immediately) or you can print out the gift card at home and give it to the intended that way. If you order in enough time, you can get the physical gift card sent to you.