Tis the season for giving great books as gifts

During the years I have been covering books for this newspaper I have cited books that could make good gifts. As we roll into December I have a few more gifting suggestions. Just a few. Here they are:

“Charlie’s Good Tonight: The Life, the Times, and the Rolling Stones: The Authorized Biography of Charlie Watts” by Paul Sexton (Harper, 344 pages, $27.99)

Charlie Watts was the elegant drummer for the Rolling Stones. He, along with the long-time Stones bassist Bill Wyman, were the quiet members of the group who provided a steady rhythm and backbeat that propelled the band into the rock stratosphere. Watts died recently and for a moment some might have wondered if this could really be it, a signal that it was time for the Stones to finally retire. But no, Mick Jagger and Keith Richards, the mainstays, just keep on going.

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Mick and Keith have written forwards to this authorized recounting of Charlie’s life. Richards wrote: “Charlie’s humor was incredibly dry and understated, but I knew certain key words, which I’m not going to release. I didn’t do it often, but there were a couple of words I could say that if he was in the middle of an airport, he would lie down and start laughing with his legs in the air.” This book is a must read for Stones fans.

Credit: Contributed

Credit: Contributed

“Clive Barker’s Dark Worlds” by Phil and Sarah Stokes (Cernunnos, 350 pages, $50).

Clive Barker is our great master of fantasy and horror. This massive coffee book is a profusely illustrated chronological homage to the author by two of his long-time associates. It is jammed with Barker’s art, movie memorabilia, and assorted curios. In Barker’s afterword he writes: “I very much hope this diverse collection of plots and plans and inexhaustible, unextinguishable ambitions, will keep us together, making pictures and movies and books.”

Credit: Contributed

Credit: Contributed

“Revolution, the History of Turntable Design” by Gideon Schwartz (Phaidon, 264 pages, $89.95)

During the late 1980s vinyl record albums were supplanted by the compact disc. Almost four decades later CDs have been supplanted by downloads and vinyl has made a massive comeback. Turntables, the instruments for playing records, have made a comeback as well.

In “Revolution, the History of Turntable Design” Gideon Schwartz gives readers the fascinating history of turntable designs along with over 300 images. If you know anyone who is into spinning vinyl this book will blow them away. It is the epitome of turntable porn.

Credit: Contributed

Credit: Contributed

“The Philosophy of Modern Song” by Bob Dylan (Simon and Schuster, 340 pages, $45).

In these 60 plus essays Bob Dylan writes about the songwriting process and analyzes superb songs by amazing artists. Here’s a random sample: “My Generation” by The Who, “Truckin’” by the Grateful Dead, “Ruby, Are You Mad?” by the Osborne Brothers, “Blue Moon” by Dean Martin, and “El Paso” by Marty Robbins.

When I moved to Yellow Springs I walked into a bicycle shop and the owner was blasting Bob Dylan on the stereo. His name was John; he really dug Dylan. We became friends. John died 10 years ago. I wish I could give him this book. Don’t miss opportunities to give great books as gifts.

Vick Mickunas of Yellow Springs interviews authors every Saturday at 7 a.m. and on Sundays at 10:30 a.m. on WYSO-FM (91.3). For more information, visit www.wyso.org/programs/book-nook. Contact him at vick@vickmickunas.com.

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