Green and Read 

Offbeat books for the reader on your gift list, from the owner of Chop Suey Books.

click to enlarge Ward Tefft (right), and employee Andrew Blossom. - ASH DANIEL
  • Ash Daniel
  • Ward Tefft (right), and employee Andrew Blossom.

"Both Flesh and Not: Essays" by David Foster Wallace (Little, Brown and Company): A posthumous collection of essays by the author of "Consider the Lobster," printed in book form for the first time. Subjects are as wide-ranging as tennis and "Terminator 2." Wallace was considered a master of the essay, and the title piece is thought to be the highlight of his nonfiction career.

"The Emily Dickinson Reader" by Paul Legault, (McSweeney's Books): This is a line-by-line translation of Dickinson's poems into English. Never mind that her poetry originally was written in English. This book updates her original, cryptic words into such lines as, "There's a little zombie inside of each and every one of us."

"The Enlightened Cyclist" by Bike Snob NYC, (Chronicle Books): From the popular blog Bike Snob, this book focuses on the dangers and downers of commuting by bicycle and offers ways for urban cyclists to be safe, efficient and courteous.

"My Heart Is an Idiot: Essays" by Davy Rothbart (Farrar, Straus and Giroux): Rothbart is the founder and editor of Found Magazine, and his second book is a nonfiction chronicle of all the crazy things he's done in the name of love. Includes "What Are You Wearing," an essay on phone sex with a stranger, originally published in GQ and the basis of the film "Easier With Practice."

"The Art of Fermentation" by Sandor Ellix Katz (Chelsea Green): Part history of the science, part cookbook, this guide to fermentation recently was the focus of a two-part interview on NPR's "Fresh Air." Learn to prepare everything from sauerkraut to alcoholic beverages made from human-chewed grains.

"The Sisters Brothers" by Patrick DeWitt (Ecco): This novel, a Chop Suey favorite, tells the story of two gunslinger brothers hired to travel from the Oregon Territory to California in search of a mystical prospector. Along the way, they encounter a host of strange characters. The deadpan narrative is compulsively readable, at times bleak and hilarious.

"Unusual Creatures: A Mostly Accurate Account of Some of Earth's Strangest Animals," by Michael Hearst (Chronicle Books): Michael is one half of the former Richmond band One Ring Zero. This guide to nature's odder creatures is a visual companion to the CD "Songs for Unusual Creatures."

"Hungover Owls" by J. Patrick Brown (Abrams Image): This humorous collection of photographs, an offshoot of the popular Tumblr, capitalizes on the fact that owls often look really, really hungover.


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