November 28, 2011

Red books make great gifts, says Albany columnist


“There’s something about red books,” writes Donna Liquori in a Times-Union essay, “For the holidays, a pile of old red books really complements an evergreen bough on a table or mantle … Red represents love, blood, caution and anger. It’s a color that stimulates us just as books should do. And it’s the predominant holiday season shade. Red books often guide us and help us do research.”

In a clever adaption on the standard holiday round-up, Liquori selects more than a dozen books with red covers and suggests a red book makes a great gift because “(A) It’s already festive. and (B) It’s already wrapped.”

She includes Melville House’s fall cookbook, Stéphane Reynaud’s Rôtis: Roasts for Every Day of the Week, the new edition of The Silver Spoon, works of fiction (by Ingo Schulze, Julie Otsuka, and Elissa Schappell), as well as picture books and a dictionary, “The Concise Oxford Dictionary: The Classic First Edition, an anniversary copy of its 1911 book with an art deco cover.”

Though she suggests we “shelve Chairman Mao’s Little Red Book,” she includes one radical volume: Melville House’s Debt: The First 5,000 Years by David Graeber, about which she writes:

Being in the red is a major subject these days. “Debt: The First 5,000 Years” by anthropologist David Graeber is a thoughtful account of the history of debt, ranging from ancient barter systems to the current economic crisis.

Kelly Burdick is the executive editor of Melville House.