I coveted Georgia O’keeffe And Ansel Adams: Natural Affinities (Little, Brown, $40) from the first moment I saw it. Quite simply, it’s a beautiful book. Georgia O’Keeffe and Ansel Adams have never been paired together in a book, but it’s an affiliation that works on many levels. Both were inspired by the dramatic natural surroundings of the American West. Their work, while different in style, shares a similar approach to light, texture, and composition. The juxtaposition of O’Keeffe’s simple lines and soft colors with Adams’s black-and-white photographs deepens a viewer’s appreciation of each. The accompanying essays illuminate the artists’ lives, inspiration, and lifelong friendship. (Don’t miss the exhibit of these artists’ work at the American Art Museum, on display through January 4.)
James Beard’s classic The Fireside Cook Book (Simon & Shuster, $30) is now available in a 60th- anniversary edition. It’s a classic for a reason: Beard’s recipes and explanations are simple without being patronizing. It’s the perfect cookbook for someone who is new to cooking or who doesn’t want to be the next Top Chef but who wants to make good food. The easy-to-follow recipes are accompanied by a series of variations, so you can tailor a recipe to suit your specific tastes or needs. But perhaps the best part of this book is the quirky illustrations throughout. The entire book has a light, almost whimsical feel. And, of course, the recipes are great.