Gift Books for the Holidays

Need a gift idea for the traveler in your life? Click here for our travel gift guide, sign up for our new fall catalog, then browse these lovely illustrated gift books!  

The Best Places to Be Today. This useful catalog arranges the world's most exciting, fun and awe-inspiring events into 365 unforgettable days. The discerning editors at Lonely Planet introduce nature hikes through Patagonia, the Up Helly Aa festival in Scotland (where they actually burn a Viking longship) and the glittering Yamayaki, Japan's fire festival. A great way to plan, say, your next birthday?  (TVL596, $19.99)

Opulent Oceans. In a series of essays culled from the Rare Book Collection of the American Museum of Natural History, we get a close-up look at the deep sea. With accounts from legendary explorers and early naturalists alongside gorgeous illustrations (and 40 frameable prints).  (OCE202, $50.00)

World Heritage Sites. From the Galapagos and Mesa Verde to China's Mount Sanqingshan National Park and Al-Hijar in Saudi Arabia, this beautifully illustrated compendium includes color photographs, a map and succinct description of each archaeological site, monument, city or park. Organized by order or inscription (Galapagos was the first), this fully updated fifth edition includes 45 new site inscriptions made in 2012 and 2013, including the Red Basque Bay Whaling Station in Canada, the Namib Sea, the Medici Villas and Gardens in Tuscany and Mount Etna in Italy.  (CON53, $29.95)

Great Maps. Profiling 55 historical maps, this visual tour of cartography through the ages is a lesson in history as much as it is about geography. Brotton, a professor of Renaissance Studies at the University of London, marches confidently from Ptolemy's world map to the latest maps by Google Earth, explaining how each map influenced the culture and budding science of its day.  (MAP41, $25.00)

Extreme Adventure. Award-winning travel photographer Peter Guttman has captured dozens of dream trips for the adventure seeker in this collection of vivid photographs from far flung destinations. From tornado chasing across the Great Plains to spelunking in the ice caves of Lake Superior's Apostle Islands, from canoeing through alligator habitat in the Everglades to caravanning camels to a Saharan Oasis, Guttman's photos transmit the thrill of some of the world's most exciting excursions.  (TVL611, $35.00)

Times Comprehensive Atlas of the World. Worth every penny for its coverage, size and quality, each double-page spread is a whopping 16 x 22 inches and gorgeous. With excellent physical and political detail, superb coverage of polar areas and an index with an astounding 200,000 place names. Complete with a slipcase. Detailed thematic maps include topics such as migration, the global impact of recession and polar regions.  (GEN71, $200.00)

National Geographic Stunning Photographs. With appearances by National Geographic's most renowned photographers, this awe-inspiring collection captures moments both intimate and grand that illuminate parts of life most of us would never see otherwise, from the Northern Lights to a ground level shot of a horse stampede.  (PHT52, $40.00)

Earth Is My Witness. An artful celebration of the planet's fast-disappearing landscapes, wildlife and cultures as captured by the lens of the intrepid photographer Art Wolfe. From the rich sensations of the Pushkar Camel Fair to the moment polar bear cubs first leave their den, his iconic images showcase the delicate interconnectivity of life across the globe and act as subtle but powerful advocates for environmental preservation. Representing 40 years of Wolfe's expeditionary photography, this beautifully produced compilation is the largest collection of his work yet. With an introduction by the talented environmental advocate and writer Wade Davis.  (PHT53, $95.00)

The Golden Lands. The product of 25 years of research into Buddhist architecture, this survey by Vikram Lall takes us from the monastic complexes of India to the dzongs of Bhutan, inside the wats of Southeast Asia and through the simple wooden shrines of Japan. Lall celebrates the architectural innovations and spiritual significance of each inspired style. Gorgeously illustrated throughout with color photography and 3-D renderings.  (SEA88, $95.00)

National Geographic, Around the World in 125 Years. Exploring the globe since 1888, National Geographic granted full access to its archives for this sumptuously produced celebration of culture, wildlife and the world. Individually numbered and presented in a slip-cased, three-volume set, the oversized book covers the world in almost 1,500 pages of glorious images by Frans Lanting, Steve Curry, David Doubilet, David Alan Harvey and many others.  (WLD251, $499.00)