Aunt Agnes's daughter Nadine married your former neighbor's son Neville recently. Nadine and Neville, the ambitious newlyweds, are hosting a housewarming party and you're invited. What housewarming gift comes in a variety of colors, matches every period piece in every room, and can accentuate even the most sparse decor? Why, books, of course!Nadine had to part with Fluffy, her pampered, prize-winning Persian, due to Neville's allergies. To help ease the pain caused by Fluffy's absence, why not give her a copy of Cat: Wild Cats and Pampered Pets (Watson Guptill, $19.95, 0823005712). Author Andrew Edney, who is also a veterinarian, includes more than 300 depictions of felines slinking, sleeping, socializing, and so much more! This 400-page oblong book offers a unique addition to a cat lover's coffee table or library.
What kind of gift is given away, but meant to be returned? Tommy Nelson, a division of Thomas Nelson, Inc., has developed Grandmother's Memories to Her Grandchild and Grandfather's Memories to His Grandchild ($12.99, 0849959128) for just such a purpose. These make wonderful keepsakes, especially when completed and given away. Set in journal format against a backdrop of renowned artist Thomas Kinkade's breathtaking landscapes, headings for each section include Me, My Hometown, Early School Years, My First Romance, etc. Each section is broken into segments, with titles like A time I had to stand up for my beliefs, or Something I want you to remember about me when you are grown up, and space is provided for folks to write their responses. Grandparents with multiple grandchildren, beware you may unwrap several of these!Nadine's recollections from her wedding are, no doubt, still fresh on her mind. Why not encourage her to laugh about them with This Is Your Day! But Everybody Has An Opinion (Villard, $14.95, 0375502653)? Perfect for newlywed brides or brides-to-be, author Lisa K. Weiss offers humorous tidbits of pre- and post-wedding truisms. Victoria Roberts's cartoony illustrations complement tongue-in-cheek advice cliches, such as Now that you're married, it will be easy to fine-tune his wardrobe, and Including your pets in the ceremony can add a warm, cozy touch. A definite garnish to the Emily Post and Amy Vanderbilt books, it is a perfect gift for those who tend to take life (and life's events) too seriously.
Anne Boleyn is an unlikely target for the tabloids. Chances are even slimmer for a tell-all book about Guy de Maupassant. London writer Mark Bryant, however, has compiled all sorts of entertaining facts about 200 well-known figures in Private Lives: Curious Facts About the Famous and Infamous (Cassell/Sterling Publications, $29.95, 0304343153). For example, did you know that Queen Elizabeth I drank beer for breakfast? Or that Walt Disney wasn't the first person to draw Mickey Mouse? Private Lives is also available in paperback ($14.95, 0304349232), and makes a wonderful gift for trivia buffs and researchers.
Who said, It is more blessed to give than to receive ? (Well, okay, besides your Gift Gallery helpers!) The quote actually originated with Aristotle but has been paraphrased by others, including Jesus. Anyone who loves to quote, but has difficulty remembering whom they are quoting, will appreciate Random House's all-new Webster's Quotationary ($45, 0679448500). Author Leonard Roy Frank has assembled over 20,000 quotations by subject, but makes it easy to locate a quote through cross-referencing as well. Varied profundities from Plato to Oprah make this one of the most comprehensive reference books around. You may want to study it ahead of time and wow Nadine and Neville's party guests!