Sixty percent of women and 47 percent of men would just love to receive a book as a holiday gift, according to a recent Gallup poll. Seventy percent of adults with a post-graduate education also want to find a tome under their tree. A book is on the wish list of 50 percent of 18- to 34-year-olds, 64 percent of 35- to 54-year-olds, and 43 percent of those age 55 or older.
In all, some 103-million people are hoping to unwrap a book this holiday season.
So with the numbers on your side, why not pick out one of these titles for a character on your holiday list?
_ MARGO HAMMOND, BOOK EDITOR
What We Know So Far: Wisdom Among Women, compiled and edited by Beth Benatovich, St. Martin's Press, $22.95.
Twenty-five older (and hopefully wiser) women, including Erica Jong, Sally Jessy Raphael, Eartha Kitt and Billie Jean King tell about their lives after 50. "In the telling, there were often tears, and almost always laughter _ the kind of laughter that carries the seeds of freedom," says Benatovich.
To Be Real: Telling the Truth and Changing the Face of Feminism, edited and with an introduction by Rebecca Walker, foreword by Gloria Steinem, afterword by Angela Y. Davis, Anchor Books, $25.
These 21 essays, written by such diverse voices as bell hooks, Lisa Jones, Naomi Wolf and super-model Veronica Webb, explore what the "feminist position" in society really is. It is edited by Rebecca Walker,who is the co-founder of Third Wave, an organization of women and men working toward feminist goals that has sought to go beyond the feminist label.
A Man's World: How Real Is Male Privilege _ and How High Is Its Price, by Ellis Cose, HarperCollins, $22.
Statistics show that men live shorter lives, are more likely to engage in life-threatening occupations and commit suicide four times more than women. What is the real price of male "privilege"? Cose, a Newsweek editor, examines the state of men _ white, black and Latino _ today.
Manhood in America: A Cultural History, by Michael Kimmel, the Free Press, $30.
Kimmel takes a scholarly look at how men have been defined in popular culture since the 19th century, from the genteel patriarch and heroic artisan to the white-collar office worker.
Davy Crockett, The Monkey People, Finn McCoul, The Legend of Sleepy Hollow, Red Riding Hood, The Tailor of Gloucester, The Emperor and the Nightingale, East of the Sun, West of the Moon, Rabbit Ears Books & Audio, $10.95-$19.95.
Trying to interest your children in the classics? How about hiring Meg Ryan, Meryl Streep, Glenn Close, Nicolas Cage, Raul Julia, Max Von Sydow and Catherine O'Hara to read to them? This series offers all these famous actors on cassette along with a lushly illustrated storybook of the equally famous tales. Bedtime was never so sweet. Past titles in the series were narrated by Danny Glover, Sir John Gielgud, Jack Nicholson, Jonathan Winters, Holly Hunter and Kelly McGillis.
Little Stevie Wonder in Places Under the Sun, Golden Books, $23.
In this electronic storybook, which talks, plays music and creates sounds, "Little Stevie Wonder" travels across the ocean to bring his music to Japan and Africa. It's even written in Braille, so the blind superstar can read it too.
One Wintry Night, by Ruth Bell Graham, illustrated by Richard Jesse Watson, Baker, $25.
Barbara Bush and Amy Grant are among the celebrities who were touched by this Christmas story told by the wife of evangelist Billy Graham. The book, which tells the story of a young mountain boy snowbound with an elderly woman, is spectacularly illustrated.
The Little Baby Snoogle-Fleejer, by Jimmy Carter, illustrated by Amy Carter, Times Books, $17.
Old presidents never die, they just keep writing books. This is Carter's 10th (including a best-selling volume of poetry). The story is about a monster who befriends a crippled boy, just what you'd expect from a liberal-hearted father. The charmingly childish drawings are by daughter Amy, who is pursuing a master's degree in art history.
The Great Adventure: Apollo 13 & Other Space Adventures By Those Who Flew Them!, edited by Skylab 4 Astronaut Edward Gibson for the Association of Space, C. Pierson, Publishers, $37.50.
You've seen the movie, now read the book. This official movie tie-in, which features 160 color photographs of space and a foreword by James A. Michener, doesn't only feature the Apollo 13 story. Forty-one men and women, including Jim Lovell, Sally Ride, John Glenn, Buzz Aldrin, M. Scott Carpenter and Michael Collins, also tell their stories of space exploration.
Planets: The Story of Our Solar System _ From Earth to the Farthest Planet and Beyond, by Thomas R. Watters in association with the National Air and Space Museum, Smithsonian Guides, $18.
You've seen the museum, now read the book. A Smithsonian expert provides a celestial tour of the universe in this easy-to-read guide inspired by the National Air and Space Museum. Along with lively illustrations, there are maps of the planets and a foldout featuring a time-line of interplanetary missions.
A Journey Through Time: Exploring the Universe With the Hubble Space Telescope, by Jay Barbree and Martin Caidin, foreword by Sen. John Glenn, Penguin, $29.95.
The authors take us on a journey into space to the beginning of time. No, this is not a book of science fiction. The four-story Hubble Space Telescope has already seen more than 72-sextillion miles into the universe, photographing events that took place more than 12-billion years ago. Although the famous photograph of a star being born is not included, other equally stunning color images from the Hubble Space Telescope are, including the comet Showmaker-Levy with its 710,000-mile train.
Handbook for the Soul, edited by Richard Carlson and Benjamin Shield, foreword by Marianne Williamson, Little, Brown, $22.95.
More than 1,000 books on the market have "soul" in their title. Here are more than 30 essays by some of the country's most well-known soulful writers, including Thomas Moore, Marianne Williamson, Jack Canfield and Robert Fulghum.
The Word: Jewish Wisdom Through Time, A Spiritual Sourcebook, by Noah benShea, Villard, $25.
This collection of inspirational quotes from more than 500 Jewish voices includes words of wisdom from Albert Einstein ("Education is that which remains when one has forgotten everything he learned in school"), Franz Kafka ("The meaning of life is that it stops") and Ann Landers ("Opportunities are usually disguised as hard work, so most people don't recognize them").
Conversations with God: Two Centuries of Prayers by African Americans, by James Melvin Washington, HarperPerennial, $13.
This volume chronicles the prayers of a people who, as educator Benjamin Mays put it, have obvious reasons to be angry with God. From enslaved poet Jupiter Hammon's Penitential Cries to God, composed in 1760, to New Jersey pastor Lloyd Preston Terrell's anguished prayer for a son on drugs, these "attempts to converse with God about the joys, burdens, and hopes of being African people in a racist society," says Washington, "are the spiritual healing process of a wounded people."
Awakening the Mind, Lightening the Heart: Core Teachings of Tibetan Buddhism, by the Dalai Lama, HarperSanFrancisco, $17.
The Dalai Lama, who won the Nobel Peace prize in 1989, has launched a project known as the Library of Tibet to preserve his country's endangered heritage. The inaugural volume was The Way to Freedom. This second volume teaches us how to develop compassion in our lives through meditation.
Mother Teresa: A Simple Path, by Mother Teresa, Ballantine, $20.
Mother Teresa won the Nobel Peace prize in 1979 for her missionary work among "the poorest of the poor." Here's what she says about wealth: "Many people think, especially in the West, that having money makes you happy. I think it must be harder to be happy if you are wealthy because you may find it difficult to see God . . . However, if God has given you this gift of wealth, then use it for His purpose _ help others, help the poor, create jobs, give work to others."
The Quotable Canine, by Jim Dratfield and Paul Coughlin, Doubleday, $20.
"The more I know of men," said Madame de Sevigne, "the more I love my dog." This quote and dozens of other accompany Coughlin's charming photographs of woman's best friend.
Frankie's Bau-wau Haus, by Melanie Brown and Anthony Lawlor, illustrated by Elaine Arnold, Rizzoli, $15.95.
This clever tale of a designing dog is in a children's book format, but don't be fooled. This book is strictly for adults who have always suspected their dog has avant-garde talents. With the help of a mouse, a Scottish terrier and a fax machine, Frankie, part golden retriever, part Irish setter, designs a dog house which includes a lounge and play area, an eating area, an observation tower and, of course, a basement for bone storage.
A Dog's Life: A Book of Classic Photographs, by the Editors of Life Magazine, Little, Brown, $14.95.
Twenty-nine color and 58 black and white photographs of dogs from the past 50 years in Life magazine. They include the famous (Robert Kennedy's Freckles and Paula Abdul's Puggy Sue) as well as the more proletarian pooches just doing what dogs do. William Wegman, the dog-loving artist, wrote the book's introduction.
Spot a Dog: A Child's Book of Art, by Lucy Micklethwait, Dorling Kindersley, $9.95.
An art lover's Where's Waldo, this delightful book features 13 famous paintings in which there is a dog somewhere on the canvas: a big dog, a little dog, a dappled dog, a fluffy dog and, in one case, a completely flat dog. (A companion book called Spot a Cat offers paintings with that other favorite pet.)
Sacred Hoops: Spiritual Lessons of a Hardwood Warrior, by Phil Jackson and Hugh Delehanty, Hyperion, $22.95.
Most coaches emphasize winning at all costs. Not Jackson. He stresses awareness, compassion and selfless team play. And it pays off. Basing his coaching on Eastern and Native American principles, he has led the Chicago Bulls to three national championships. In this memoir, he talks about his techniques for motivating the Bulls _ including hanging Lakota warrior totems in the locker room _ and Michael Jordan's tumultuous return to basketball.
Mantle Remembered, stories excerpted from the pages of Sports Illustrated, original text by Robert W. Creamer, Warner Books, $14.95.
These articles retrace the career of one of baseball's most memorable characters, from his early years in Yankee Stadium to his death in August. "He was Mickey Mantle to the end," writes Creamer, "an imperfect hero, but the icon of an age."
The Olympic Spirit: 100 Years of the Games, Collins Publishers, San Francisco, $25.
The official, commemorative edition for the 1996 Atlanta Centennial Olympic Games, this oversized volume is lushly illustrated with more than 350 photographs, from a disc thrower in 1896 in Athens to U.S. speed skater Dan Jansen's triumph in Lillehammer in 1994. Also shown are ceremonial torches and medals, official posters, pins, stamps and collectibles from the Olympic Museum in Switzerland.
Hoop Dreams: A True Story of Hardship and Triumph, by Ben Joravsky, introduction by Charles Barkley, Turner, $22.95.
Adapted from the powerfully moving documentary of the same name, here again is the story of Arthur Agee and William Gates told in all of its heartbreaking detail. "In the end what will matter is the kind of father, son, brother, husband, and neighbor you are, the closeness with the friends you made, the people you can honestly say you cared for, and who cared for you," writes Barkley. "That is something the Agees and Gates understand, and if anything makes them special, it's that."
Poles Apart: Parallel Visions of the Arctic and Antarctic, text and photographs by Galen Rowell, University of California Press, $39.95.
In Part One of this utterly fascinating look at polar opposites, Rowell cleverly pairs images from the Arctic and the Antarctic, revealing unexpected likenesses and differences. In Part Two he alternates stories about the people and species of these two regions. Finally, he offers an explanation about how he took each one of his dazzling photographs. A tour de force.
Summits: Climbing the Seven Summits Solo, by Robert Mads Anderson, foreword by Sir Edmund Hillary, Clarkson Potter, $65.
In 1990 Anderson began a quest known to climbers as the Seven Summits Solo. By 1995 he had made it up to the highest peak on six of the earth's continents: Mount Kosciusko in Australia, Mount Aconcagua in South America, Mount Kilimanjaro in Africa, Mount McKinley in North America, Mount Elbrus in Europe and Mount Vinson in Antarctica. In Asia he tried to scale the most strenuous of all _ Mount Everest _ but failed. The story of his harrowing attempt, as well as the tales of the other climbs, make up this mountain-size volume.
The Size of the World: A Global Odyssey around the World Without Leaving the Ground, by Jeff Greenwald, the Globe Pequot Press, $22.95.
You may have read his columns on the Internet, now read his book. Armed with his Hewlett Packard Omnibook 300, Greenwald began in Oakland, Calif., and circumambulated the globe any way but by air. Traveling for nine months and 29,127 miles, he continually logged on to the Internet and filed his Big World columns on the Global Network Navigator (GNN) Travelers' Center. Here is his full account of that journey.
My American Journey, by Colin L. Powell with Joseph E. Persico, Random House, $25.95.
So he jilted us _ at least he left behind some bedtime reading.
The Politics of Diplomacy: Revolution, War & Peace, 1989-1992, by James A. Baker III, Putnam, $32.50.
Six hundred and eighty-seven pages of political history told by the man who lived it. Baker served under three Republican presidents _ Ford, Reagan and Bush _ and managed the campaigns for the presidency of all three.
Autopsy on an Empire: The American Ambassador's Account of the Collapse of the Soviet Union, by Jack F. Matlock Jr., Random House, $35.
Eight hundred and thirty-six pages of Soviet history by the man who was there. Matlock was the American ambassador to the Soviet Union from 1987 to 1991, the year the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics passed into history.
. . . AND NEWS JUNKIES
David Brinkley, by David Brinkley, Knopf, $25.
From his childhood in North Carolina through his four decades as a television newscaster, Brinkley tells all.
A Good Life, by Ben Bradlee, Simon & Schuster, $27.50.
The former executive editor of the Washington Post tells all _ except for the identity of Deep Throat, that is.
Charles Kuralt's America, by Charles Kuralt, Putnam, $24.95
The traveling television reporter relates his latest escapades from Alaska to Florida.
Pryor Convictions and other Life Sentences, by Richard Pryor with Todd Gold, Pantheon Books, $23.
Pryor shares his views on cocaine, race relations, police brutality and domestic violence as well as on his six marriages, his quadruple-bypass surgery, his diagnosis of multiple sclerosis and his own fierce humor.
Pumping Irony: Working Out the Angst of a Lifetime, by Tony Kornheiser, Times Books, $20.
Kornheiser, a nationally syndicated columnist for the Washington Post, offers his first collection of columns. He expounds on everything from baldness to the O.J. Simpson trial ("Am I the only one flabbergasted to hear testimony about how two men went to a McDonald's drive-thru in a Bentley?")
Classical Music: A New Way of Listening, by Alexander Waugh, De Agostini Editions, $24.95.
With the help of a CD that comes with the book, Waugh explains how to listen to classical music, from operas to piano sonatas. Hopefully, readers will be inspired to go listen to the complete pieces since the CD only offers a tease of each work. Waugh also provides a guide to 40 composers, suggestions for further listening and a glossary of musical terms.
Voodoo Child: The Illustrated Legend of Jimi Hendrix, by Martin I. Green et al., illustrated by Bill Sienkiewicz, Viking Studio, $24.95.
The CD included with this volume is not exactly going to soar to the top of the charts (it includes seven previously unreleased tracks written and performed by Hendrix), but presenting Hendrix's short and explosive life in a comic book format of swirling psychedelic colors is a great way to do a biography (or "a speculative fantasy," as one collaborator put it) of the rock musician. Much of the text is taken from Hendrix's own letters, poetry and lyrics.
The Road Ahead, by Bill Gates, Viking, $29.95.
The king of the "Information Highway" offers his road map to a technological future in which technology will transform our lives even more than it already has, including how we read books. And if anyone doubts that, Gates has bundled a CD-ROM with his book. The disk not only contains the complete text of The Road Ahead, but also hundreds of multimedia hyperlinks, an interview with Gates (which can also be played on audio CD players) and video demonstrations of future technologies.
The Emperor's Virtual Clothes: The Naked Truth About Internet Culture, by Dinty W. Moore, Algonquin, $17.95.
Moore, who has worked as a filmmaker and a reporter and is now an English professor, takes a skeptical look at the Internet phenomenon. He acknowledges that it can be used for entertainment, for convenience, and for business, but, quoting Henry Thoreau, he reminds us: "Our inventions are wont to be pretty toys, which distract our attention from serious things. They are but improved means to an unimproved end."
A Jack Kerouac ROMnibus: A CD-ROM for Macintosh and Windows Computers, developed by husband-and-wife team Ralph Lombre and Kate Bernhardt, Penguin Electronic, $49.95.
Kerouac would have loved the rambling nature of CD-ROMS, where one minute you are reading The Dharma Bums (his whole text is included here) and the next you are hopping a freight (or clicking on those highlighted words in the text) to go off to learn what freight-hopping meant to the Beat writers. The CD-ROM includes 28 performances of Kerouac works, including selections from Mexico City Blues, Visions of Cody, The San Francisco Blues and The Subterraneans; biographical information; never-before-published drawings and paintings by Kerouac; and facsimiles and transcripts from Kerouac's journals and correspondence.
Skies in Blossom: The Nature Poetry of Emily Dickinson, edited by Jonathan Cott, illustrated by Mary Frank, Doubleday, $20.
Dickinson, a recluse and booklover herself, would love this small-sized volume. Illustrated with 21 golden illustrations of paper cut in forms that illuminate when held up to the light, this collection of Dickinson poetry was one of senior editor Jacqueline Onassis' last projects. In his introduction, editor Cott connects the American poet's awareness of nature with the traditions of Zen Buddhism and Haiku masters. Today is Dickinson's 165th birthday.
At Home With Books: How Booklovers Live With and Care for Their Libraries, by Estelle Ellis and Caroline Seebohm, photographs by Christopher Simon Sykes, Carol Southern Books, $50.
Forget the kitchen, the garden room or even the media room. The library, says these authors, is the room of the '90s. This book offers some design ideas as well as a peek into the more than 40 book spaces of architects, academics, designers, artists and writers.
Literary Laurels: A Reader's Guide to Award-Winning Fiction, Hillyard Industries (New York), $9.95.
Here is what critics, authors, booksellers and readers have selected as the best fiction for the past 100 years. Included are the winners of all major literary awards, including the Booker, the Pulitzer, the National Book Award and the Nobel, as well as those for children's books, mysteries, romances and new fiction.
God Wants You to Be Rich: The Theology of Economics, by Paul Zane Pilzer, $23.
With God's help, all of us are capable of achieving unlimited wealth, says National Public Radio commentator and businessman Paul Zane Pilzer. God, in fact, wants us to be rich. Pilzer, who was Citibank's youngest vice president and an economic advisor to two presidents, believes wealth is not a zero sum game: The prosperity of one person need not mean the poverty of another. He advocates "capitalistic humanism," an economic system based on free enterprise, humanism and religious doctrine.
Buffett: The Making of An American Capitalist, by Roger Lowenstein, Random House, $27.50.
When Disney and Capital Cities/ABC recently merged, Warren Buffett made $400-million in one day. His holding company, Berkshire Hathaway, sells for more than $25,000 a share, the most expensive stock on the New York Stock Exchange. How does he do it? This biography discusses both the public and private man who has come to be known as the Oracle of Omaha.
Investment Biker: Around the World With Jim Rogers, by Jim Rogers, Adams Publishing, $12.95.
Rogers, who appears regularly on CNBC, got started in business by selling peanuts at the age of 5. In 1990, the founder of the Quantum Fund took a 22-month motorcycle trip beginning in Dunquin, Ireland, and then crisscrossing the globe for 65,067 miles. His conclusions? Invest in the deutsche mark, the Dutch guilder, the Swiss franc, the Austrian schilling, the New Zealand dollar or the Singapore dollar. Also: "If you've got a dream, you have to try it; you must get it out of your system. You will never get another chance."
THE MASTER BUILDER
Designing Modernity: The Art of Reform and Persuasion 1885-1945, edited by Wendy Kaplan, Thames and Hudson, $60.
This is the catalogue for the inaugural exhibition of the Wolfsonian Museum in Miami Beach, which looks at design as a social and political as well as an aesthetic phenomenon. Ten essays by art and architectural historians are included along with 300 color and 117 black and white photographs of everything from buildings to postcards. The Miami Beach exhibit opened in November and runs through April 28.
I.M. Pei: Mandarin of Modernism, by Michael Cannell, Carol Southern Books, $35.
From his East Building addition to the National Gallery in Washington to his controversial renovation of the Louvre in Paris, I.M. Pei is an architect that has left his mark. Just ask the people of Boston, who had to put up with windows popping out of his John Hancock building. Cannell delves into Pei's Asian roots, tells the story of the Kennedy Library debacle and offers up an insider's view on how buildings get built.