Beautiful books address varied interests
As Garrison Keillor once said, “A book is a gift you can open again and again.” Consider these exceptional coffee-table offerings for the readers in your life — from star gazers to sports lovers to bird watchers and more.
Mission Moon: How 50 Years of Space Exploration Defined Houston, by Houston Chronicle, 160 pages, Pediment Publishing hardcover, 2019
It’s been 50 years since the historic moon landing. Journalists from the home of the Johnson Space Center have compiled over 200 photographs and illustrations — more than 40 of them full-page in size — to accompany this stunning account of space flight.
Follow the trajectory of American manned space missions from their launch by President John F. Kennedy at Rice University in 1962 to today’s more muddled plans for manned expeditions to Mars. Timelines show the historical progression of space travel, moon landings, international space ventures and more.
Learn about the scientists, astronauts and mission directors who were part of the team that made the moon landing successful. See where the astronauts socialized in Houston, the places on the moon’s surface they trod, and where their memories are honored.
Read about the 13 women who almost joined the initial corps of astronauts. Learn about the diverse careers of America’s space heroes when their flying days were over.
This coffee-table book explores the many influences of spaceflight on our earthbound culture. Whether viewed by people who remember the space program from its apex or those too young to have experienced it, turning the pages of Mission Moon will take readers to Cloud Nine without ever leaving the ground.
NFL 100: A Century of Pro Football, by National Football League, edited by Rob Fleder, 304 pages, Harry N. Abrams hardcover, 2019
This comprehensive and highly readable account marking the centenary of the National Football League will be enjoyable for football fans.
Ten decades of NFL history are explored in essays, illustrations, creative statistics and infographics highlighting the stars, coaches, owners, individual achievements and championship teams. Explore the pivotal innovations that transformed football into the game as played today.
Players, coaches and on-the-field action are captured close-up and in vivid detail in the more than 220 stunning photographs, of which more than 30 are two-page spreads and more than 60 are full-page.
Editor Rob Fleder is the former executive editor of Sports Illustrated. Included in NFL:100 are essays by retired quarterback Peyton Manning, noted writers Michael MacCambridge, Dan Jenkins, Red Smith, Frank Deford, Michael Lewis, Dick Schaap and David Halberstam, among others.
Recall local heroes Sammy Baugh, Sonny Jurgenson, Doug Williams, relive the best game ever played, The Catch, The Drive, The Longest Day and other iconic moments.
Mine the mountain of statistics and stump your friends. As there is no index in the book, readers will have to read each page to find their favorite memories.
Art in the White House: A Nation’s Pride, by William Kloss, 442 pages, White House Historical Association hardcover, third edition, 2019
Open the pages of this exquisite book and you’ll be overwhelmed by the beauty inside. It’s like holding a museum in your hands. Leisurely absorb the distinguished portraits of Presidents and Founding Fathers, superb depictions of First Ladies, realistic renderings of still life, sensitive sculptures and vivid works of modern art.
The book’s recreations of iconic events include the landing of the Pilgrims, an engraving based on Trumbull’s painting of John Hancock receiving the draft of the Declaration of Independence from the delegates, Confederates cannonading the Potomac, and a midnight meeting of enslaved people waiting for their emancipation.
Landscapes include the city of Washington, Niagara Falls, Boston Harbor, the Rocky Mountains, the Platte River, Yosemite National Park, Monterey, California, and Taos, New Mexico.
Art historian Professor William Kloss sheds light on more than 100 of these works, including recent acquisitions, which are included in a supplement.
Art in the White House may be purchased on the website of the White House Historical Association, shop.whitehousehistory.org/bookstore. Proceeds are returned to the publications program and used to acquire furnishings and memorabilia for the White House.
Birds of Maryland, Delaware, and the District of Columbia, by Bruce M. Beehler, photographs by Middleton Evans, 480 pages, Johns Hopkins University Press, 2019
Over 400 local species regularly found in our region — both year-round residents and seasonal visitors — are pictured in this book in intimate, eye-catching detail.
This magnificent large-format guide to the local birds of Maryland, D.C. and Delaware is a treasure trove of practical information. More than 70 of the 684 color photographs are full-page.
Author ornithologist Bruce Beehler is a research associate in the Division of Birds of the Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History. Renowned nature photographer Middleton Evans captures images of birds in all their majestic splendor.
Beehler recommends museums to visit and books to read to help expand your knowledge. Over 100 local bird-viewing sites are marked on maps and described in detail. Seasonal expeditions offered by clubs and groups are included.
He also gives instructions on how to attract birds to your urban window or suburban yard, as well as when and how to find birds as close as your local park. Beehler recommends not only websites of interest but also equipment and gear to use.
Give Birds as a gift and encourage a hobby that will be transformative. Experience the beauty that awaits those who venture outdoors with discerning eyes and sensitive ears.