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Gift Guide for Booklovers

December is gift-giving season whether you celebrate Christmas, Hanukkah, or Kwanzaa. This year, the extended celebrations will overlap. December 24 marks the beginning of Hanukkah, and it is Christmas Eve. December 25 is Christmas Day, and December 26 is the beginning of Kwanzaa. This is only the fourth time since 1900 that Hanukkah and Christmas Eve have coincided, and it will not happen again until 2027. (The date of Hanukkah fluctuates according to the Jewish lunar calendar.)

Hanukkah, the Jewish holiday commemorating the rededication of the Holy Temple at Jerusalem during the Maccabean Revolt, is observed for eight nights and days. To Christians, December 25 celebrates the birth of the Jesus Christ as the Messiah. It is generally celebrated through December 31, or January 6, observed as Epiphany in the Roman Catholic Church, commemorating the visit of the Wise Men to the Christ child. Kwanzaa, which celebrates the culture of the African Diaspora based on seven core principles, runs until January 1. Each day is dedicated to one of the principles.

Books are appropriate gifts for all three holidays, and always suitable for academicians and scholars. For December, DiverseBooks selects titles from our collections that will delight as much as inform.

Following are some DiverseBooks discoveries for the gifting season. Other possibilities include numerous titles on music, art, cooking, folklore and history. They are all available at substantial savings over retail prices on


Afro-American Folk Art and Crafts, by William R. Ferris $22.50 (List Price: $25) University of Mississippi Press, ISBN:    9781604733914, pp. 456.

With more than 450 pages, 32 drawing and 44 photographs, this book is a massive undertaking. It documents and analyzes the creations of African American artists and crafts people from baskets to quilts.  Sixteen scholars write about the artists and the roots of the powerful, evocative art they produced.


Let It Shine: Self-Taught Art from the T. Marshall Hahn Collection, by the High Museum of Art, $40.50 (List Price: $45), University of Mississippi Press, ISBN: 9781578063635, pp. 172.

This is a catalogue of one of America’s major collections of works by self-taught artists, with a foreword by Michael E. Shapiro.

  1. Marshall Hahn donated a substantial portion of his collection of contemporary folk art to the High Museum of Art in Atlanta in 1996 and 1997. His gift was the first major collection of self-taught art to be given to a general interest American museum. This book was published in conjunction with the first public exhibition of the Hahn Collection, more than 140 paintings, works on paper, and sculptures from more than thirty artists. Let It Shine, the full-color catalog of the exhibition, features works by the artists primarily from the South, as well as an interview with Hahn, conducted by Lynne Spriggs, curator of folk art at the museum. The catalogue features more than 100 images from the collection.




Rare Birds: Conversations with Legends of Jazz and Classical Music, by Thomas Rain Crowe, $45 (List Price: $50), University of Mississippi Press, ISBN:9781604731033, pp. 176.

This is a collection of in-depth interviews with world-class jazz musicians and classical composers, conducted by Thomas Rain Crowe, a poet and author and Nan Watkin, a musician and writer. Their subjects are Philip Glass, Charles Lloyd, Abdullah Ibrahim, Steve Reich, Eugene Friesen, and Sathima Bea Benjamin. The interviews focus on the artists and their creative process, perspectives on the arts, and reflections on the human condition. The book includes photographs and discographies.





The Kennedy Assassination, by  Peter Knight, $45, (List Price: $50) University of Mississippi Press, ISBN:  9781934110317, p. 224.

The book looks at journalistic accounts of the assassination of President John F. Kennedy in 1963, historical accounts, memoirs, reports, conspiracy theories, literature, film and photographic records to reconstruct the facts and the meaning of his death.

“Peter Knight has done the impossible. He has written a very interesting and readable book on the Kennedy Assassination,” said Richard H. King, author of Race, Culture, and the Intellectuals, 1940-1970. “[This  book] will prove indispensable not only to students and researchers of American politics and culture over the last half century, but also to the general reader.”

Peter Knight is senior lecturer in American studies at the University of Manchester. He is author of Conspiracy Culture: From Kennedy to “The X-Files” and editor of Conspiracy Nation: The Politics of Paranoia in Postwar America, Conspiracy Theories in American History: An Encyclopedia, and Fakes and Forgeries.




Southern Writers Quiz Book, by Patti Carr Black, $13.50, (List Price:  $15) University of Mississippi Press, ISBN:    9781578061495, pp. 80.


The Southern Writers Quiz Book tests the reader’s knowledge of Southern literature. As the publisher describes it, “This book is a game of unabashed regional chauvinism. It professes absolutely no attempt to seek or show unifying principles of Southern writing. Instead, it exists for the sheer joy of braggadocio. Play along, and you too can become a Southern Writers groupie.” The author, Patti Carr Black, is the author of Art in Mississippi, 1790-1980 and other books about art and literature.


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