More Merry and Bright Holiday Gift Book Ideas

At UNC Press, thinking about which of our books might make great gifts is a happy year-round effort. Here’s a wrap-up-worthy roundup of some of our favorite titles for even the most difficult to buy for folks on your list.

Don’t forget, you can save 40% on all UNC Press print books and receive free shipping on orders of $75 or more. Simply enter code 01HOLIDAY at checkout on our website.


For the pottery collector who loves to explore, cook, and entertain:

Kiln to Kitchen: Favorite Recipes from Beloved North Carolina Potters by Jean Anderson

Jean Anderson, a member of the James Beard Cookbook Hall of Fame, and author of more than a dozen cookbooks, on her lifelong passion for North Carolina pottery and using it to cook and serve great food. Twenty-four gifted North Carolina potters and 76 favorite recipes are featured in the book illustrated with photographs by Lissa Gotwals.



For the history buff—budding or otherwise:

Civil War Places: Seeing the Conflict through the Eyes of Its Leading Historians edited by Gary W. Gallagher and J. Matthew Gallman with photographs by Will Gallagher

A beautifully illustrated collection of essays by some of the most esteemed historians of the Civil War on the places that they personally find most meaningful.


For those with a taste for moonshine (literally and figuratively):

Tar Heel Lightnin’: How Secret Stills and Fast Cars Made North Carolina the Moonshine Capital of the World by Daniel S. Pierce

This illustration-packed “big book” of North Carolina moonshine tells the history of “peartnin’ juice” (as it was known in the Western part of the state) as never before.




For anyone getting skis (downhill or cross-country), snowboards, or ice skates this year:

Southern Snow: The New Guide to Winter Sports from Maryland to the Southern Appalachians by Randy Johnson

The author’s first-hand knowledge and extensive research in the six-state southern snowbelt make this the go-to guide to winter recreation.




Sunday Dinner: a Savor the South® cookbook, by Bridgette A. Lacy

For families who want to gather round the table and build connections beyond the holidays:

Sunday Dinner: a Savor the South® cookbook by Bridgette A. Lacy

In this beloved title in our Savor the South series, Bridgette Lacy offers an ode to the meal that is “a state of mind [and] about taking the time to be with people who matter to you”—as well as a recipe for her grandfather’s signature coconut pie.




Learn to Cook 25 Southern Classics 3 Ways, by Jennifer Brule, cover image

Two options for the person whose taste runs to cooking shows:

Learn to Cook 25 Southern Classics 3 Ways: Traditional, Contemporary, International by Jennifer Brulé

The New Vegetarian South: 105 Inspired Dishes for Everyone by Jennifer Brulé

Jenny Brulé, who recently appeared on the Food Network’s “Ultimate Thanksgiving Challenge,” shows her innovative and broad-range approach to southern-style food—whether it’s traditional, vegetarian, flexitarian, or vegan—in these two beautifully illustrated cookbooks.



Help Me to Find My People: The African American Search for Family Lost in Slavery, by Heather Andrea Williams

For the genealogist:

Help Me to Find My People: The African American Search for Family Lost in Slavery by Heather Andrea Williams

A pathbreaking and unforgettable book on how searches for family members in the post-Civil War era continue to reverberate in African American culture in the ongoing search for family history and connection across generations.




For the reader with an interest in Native American history who also appreciates great personal storytelling:

The Lumbee Indians: An American Struggle by Malinda Maynor Lowery

The extraordinary and most comprehensive history of the Lumbee Indians (the largest tribe east of the Mississippi, but without federal recognition) to date by an author who is, herself, Lumbee.




Blue Muse

For the person with a passion for photography books and the blues:

Blue Muse: Timothy Duffy’s Southern Photographs by Timothy Duffy

Timothy Duffy, cofounder with his wife Denise of the Music Maker Relief Foundation, presents stunning fine art presentations of American traditional musicians using the tintype form.




For the hard-to-buy-for, serious reader who likes to consider the flip side of everything:

American Lucifers: The Dark History of Artificial Light, 1750–1865 by Jeremy Zallen

In this UNC Press staff favorite, Jeremy Zallen sets out to disprove the notion that Thomas Edison changed the course of history with an invention.  A perfect book for those who appreciate a counterintuitive argument.




For the HBCU football fan interested in both the game’s legacy and civil rights:

Blood, Sweat, and Tears: Jack Gaither, Florida A&M, and the History of Black College Football by Derrick E. White

Essential reading on the transformation of black college football from the golden age to integration.





Sandra Gutierrez: The New Southern-Latino Table: Recipes That Bring Together the Bold and Beloved Flavors of Latin America and the American South

For the cookbook collector who needs a big-hearted, barrier-breaking treasure:

The New Southern-Latino Table: Recipes That Bring Together the Bold and Beloved Flavors of Latin America and the American South by Sandra A. Gutierrez

Chile-Chocolate Brownies. Jalapeño Deviled Eggs. Caramelized Chicken. These are just a few of our favorite dishes that are included in Sandra Gutierrez’s delightful celebration of a growing cultural diversity in Southern foodways. We couldn’t be prouder that TNSLT (as we call it) is included in the Smithsonian Museum’s new display “The Migrant’s Table,” part of its “American Food History Project”—along with Gutierrez’s own tortilla press, cast-iron skillet, and biscuit cutters.


The Month of Their Ripening by Georgann EubanksFor the North Carolina food lover who relishes the change in seasons:

The Month of Their Ripening: North Carolina Heritage Foods through the Year by Georgann Eubanks

December is the perfect time to give this charming and beautifully written month-by-month guide to North Carolina heritage foods to the person in your life who savors seasonal delicacies like snow cream, persimmons, oysters, ramps, and shad. We also love the photographs by Donna Campbell and the paintings by Carol Misner.