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Need a gift idea for your friends and family? We’ve asked a cross-section of WGBH Radio personalities to suggest a few ideas.


Books

Laura Carlo, 99.5 All Classical


My Nine Lives
Leon Fleisher and Anne Midgette
 Doubleday, 2010
"Here the world-renowned pianist talks about his career as a performer, and then as a conductor. Fleisher discusses his decades of dealing with a hand ailment, and then his return to two-hand piano after successful Botox injections. He writes in the language of the layman, with self-deprecating humor and surprising behind-the-scenes stories.”

Celeste Headlee, The Takeaway


Weekend Wodehouse
Introduction by Hilaire Belloc
 Hutchinson, 1986
“Wodehouse is the perfect antidote to toxic politics, a poisonous economy, you name it. He was an incredibly prolific writer, but Hilaire Belloc called him the best prose writer of his age. Perhaps also the funniest.”

 

John Hockenberry, The Takeaway


Caravaggio: The Complete Paintings
Sebastian Schutze
 Taschen America, 2009
“This is quite simply one of the most beautiful books I have ever seen or touched. It brings to life a mysterious genius.”

Bomb Power
Garry Wills
Penguin Press, 2010
“This is the book I’ve been recommending to everyone. It’s Garry Wills’s brilliant analysis of how the nuclear age has essentially consumed the US Constitution in a facade of National Security.”

Steve Schwartz, Jazz On WGBH


Jazz
Herman Leonard
Bloomsbury USA, 2010
“Jazz is a new book by the photographer Herman Leonard, who died this past August. The book includes his iconic pictures of Miles Davis, Ella Fitzgerald, Dexter Gordon and others but also includes scores of images never seen before that Leonard himself chose. A beautiful tribute to the late photographic genius.”

The Jazz Loft Project
Sam Stephenson
Knopf, 2009
“This book chronicles the Jazz Loft building, located on 6th Avenue in New York City. The Jazz Loft was started by photographer W. Eugene Smith
and was a second home to hundreds of jazz musicians who came to jam with each other, after hours. Thelonious Monk, Zoot Sims, Jim Hall and Chick Corea were all a part of this scene from 1957 to 1965. Includes hundreds of photographs and interviews with those who were there.”

 

Jordan Weinstein, 89.7 WGBH's All Things Considered


The Thousand Autumns of Jacob de Zoet
David Mitchell
Random House, 2010
“A spellbinding historical novel of life in 18th-century Dejima, the walled island outpost of the Dutch East Indies Company in Nagasaki Harbor.”

Cutting for Stone
Abraham Verghese
 Vintage Reprint Edition, 2010
“As if Salman Rushdie wrote John Irving’s Cider House Rules…a sensitive, epic journey of a life-trajectory from east India to Addis Ababa to New York with the practice of medicine a constant thread.”

Drood
Dan Simmons
Back Bay Books, Reprint Edition 2010
“A supernatural tale of the imagined relationship of Charles Dickens and his collaborator, Wilkie Collins. Inspired by Dickens’s last, uncompleted novel,
The Mystery of Edwin Drood.”


More:
NPR: Best Gift Books: Art, Nature, Cute Canines

 

Video

Jared Bowen, The Emily Rooney Show/Center Stage/Moviola


A Christmas Carol (1938)
Hugh Harmon, Director
DVD, Warner Home Video, 2005
“I find my cinematic tidings of comfort and joy in any version of A Christmas Carol from George C. Scott to The Muppets. My favorite is my first encounter: the 1938 version starring Reginald Owen as Scrooge. It’s evocative, moving and joyous.”

More:
NPR: Must-See Movie Selections For The Giving Season

 

Events

Bob Seay, 89.7 WGBH's Morning Edition


The Christmas Revels
December 17–29, 2010
Sanders Theatre, Harvard University
“It’s one of the most original and beautiful holiday pageants I have ever been to, and I especially enjoy the audience sing-along of holiday music.”
 

Music

Cathy Fuller, 99.5 All Classical


Bach: Complete Keyboard Concertos
Schiff, Serkin, Chamber Orchestra of Europe
CD Box Set, Decca, 2010
“Bach’s keyboard concertos offer his soulful flights of ecstasy and his long phrases of heartbreaking beauty. Decca has just released the complete keyboard concertos with pianists Andras Schiff and Peter Serkin. A beautiful four-CD boxed set full of the elemental beauty that no one should ever live without!”

Brian McCreath, 99.5 All Classical



Puer Natus Est
Stile Antico
CD, Harmonia Mundi, 2010
“When this young British ensemble performed their American debut in the 2009 Boston Early Music Festival, their stellar reputation was confirmed by their gorgeous performance of pieces inspired by The Song of Songs. Their new recording focuses on Advent and Christmas, anchored by Thomas Tallis’s Missa Puer Natus Est, but ingeniously programmed on the CD to intersperse works by other Elizabethan composers, including William Byrd, John Sheppard and John Taverner. It’s simultaneously beautiful, calming and exhilarating.”

Brian O’Donovan, A Celtic Sojourn


Wintersong
Sarah McLachlan
CD, Arista, 2006
“One of my favorite holiday CDs of the increasingly bottomless choices available is Wintersong by Sarah McLachlan. Wintersong mixes well-known and original songs, and has a couple of brilliantly produced covers perfect for this time of year: John Lennon’s ‘War Is Over,’ and an exquisite version of Joni Mitchell’s classic ‘River’.”

Marco Werman, The World


Seu Jorge and Almaz
Seu Jorge and Almaz
CD, Now Again, July 2010
“The Brazilian singer has become a master at reworking retro pop classics. Sometimes he does it with an expected Brazilian lilt. Other times, Jorge is unpredictable. Check out the fuzzed-out lo-fi magic he performs on ‘Saudosa Bahia’ or the trippiness he brings to Michael Jackson’s ‘Rock With You’.”

Ponte Duro The Fania All Stars Story
Fania All Stars
CD Box Set, Fania Records, 2010
“For fans—and wannabee fans—of Latin music, this is four CDs of the original Latin jam band, the house band for Fania records. Descargas,
guajiras, tracks from the historic concert at Yankee Stadium, and a previously unreleased 17-minute live jam with Stevie Wonder. It’s insanely cheveré.”


More:
NPR: Top 10 Jazz Albums of 2010

 

Tech

Cathy Fuller, 99.5 All Classical


iLuv iHD171 HD Radio Receiver with iPod Dock
shop.npr.org
“HD radios are ever-evolving. They’ve become very sleek and, for many of our listeners, a real solution. Have a look at the NPR Shop’s collection of
HD possibilities for someone in your life who will be thrilled to have 99.5 All Classical resonating with crystal-clear sound throughout the house all year long!”

 

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