Your Shelf Life
An Object of Beauty
The new novel from comedian, actor, writer, banjo player and art collector Steve Martin should soothe San Diegans who missed his show at Balboa Theatre in October. Object is set in the New York art world, where a recent bubble sent art prices skyrocketing. The glamour and gold-rush mentality is perfect fodder for Martin’s humor.
$26.99 (hardcover), stevemartin.com
Naked: The Nude in America
For the not-so-chaste on your holiday gift list, go with UCSD professor emeritus Bram Dijkstra’s gorgeously illustrated look at the nude in art, photography and pop culture. This coffee-table stunner boasts 400 color illustrations of male and female nudes throughout history.
$75 (hardcover), rizzoliusa.com
Super Sad True Love Story
Part science fiction, part darkly comic dystopian tale, Gary Shteyngart’s novel — about a romance between a schlubby Russian immigrant and a 24-year-old Korean girl — imagines a future where books are “smelly,” credit ratings are publicly broadcast and young girls wear transparent jeans called Onionskins. His world is both absurd and frighteningly possible.
$26 (hardcover), supersadtruelovestory.com
Crooked Letter, Crooked Letter
You can’t go wrong with the latest novel from Tom Franklin, a first-rate storyteller who knows how to mine the South for atmosphere and character. Set in small-town Mississippi, this thriller revolves around two men, one black and one white, haunted by a boyhood friendship and an unsolved crime.
$24.99 (hardcover), harpercollins.com
Edible Stories: A Novel in Sixteen Parts
Need a gift for a foodie? Try the first work of fiction by James Beard Award winner Mark Kurlansky, the bestselling author of books about salt, cod and oysters. In this collection of stories linked by food, Kurlanksy suggests that what sustains us connects us, from the banal (hot dogs) to the exotic (indigenous Alaskan fish soup) to the adventurous (a bean-curd Thanksgiving turkey).
$16 (paperback), us.penguingroup.com