7 Must-Have Indie Holiday Gift Books (Plus One Calendar)

Compiled by Keri English

Looking for the perfect holiday gift for the bibliophile who has everything? Searching for something special, surprising and original? Then you've come to the right place!

Take a stroll through this wonderland of pages and you will not be disappointed.

The Pickle Index by Eli Horowitz (Author) and Ian Huebert (Illustrator)

Hardcover: $28

Knife throwers. Ominous fortresses. Angry mimes. Snack festivals. Morose contortionists. Guillotines. Smiling journalists. Lonely young women. Lingering hope. Incompetence. Desperation. Funny disguises.

A hapless circus troupe tours the countryside of a downtrodden nation, trying to earn a living the best way they know -- even though their best isn't very good at all: a morose contortionist, a strongman who'd rather be miming, a lion tamer paired with an elderly dog, etc. Toward the end of a typically glum performance, Zloty Kornblatt, the troupe's ringmaster, accidentally blunders into a mockery of the nation's glorious leader. He doesn't even know why the sparse crowd is laughing, but they are -- and so he continues with the inadvertent satire, ending the show on a rare triumphant note.

The confused ringmaster is quickly captured, thrown into prison, and sentenced to death. The troupe must design an intricate prison-break built around their unique (and possibly useless) skills. Hijinks ensue, recounted with deadpan humor and flickering hope by Flora Bialy, Zloty's understudy and our shy narrator.

Sound interesting? Readers can choose from two hardcover books in a gold-encrusted slipcase, twenty full-color illustrations, and an unprecedented feat of interactive book design, an app or a "sporty paperback" from FSG Originals.

Sex in Fashion by Ron Galella ($65)

With its focus on voyeurism, Ron Galella's latest tome pays homage to one of his favorite films: Alfred Hitchcock's murder-mystery-thriller, Rear Window.

Featuring over 600 images of the sexiest and most fashionable subjects ever to be photographed--from Elizabeth Taylor to Taylor Swift--this collection spans Galella's entire career, from 1955 to 2015. Possessed of a unique talent to catch stars at moments when they seemed their most stylish and alluring, Galella was able to do what no other celebrity photographer could: become a star himself. And now, with Sex in Fashion, Galella shows you how the camera is truly a voyeuristic instrument, with results to be enjoyed by all who choose to look.

All copies are signed in metallic ink and can be personally dedicated.

Simple Vision by Art Brewer ($43.11)

A beautiful, Blurb-produced book featuring 70 pages of images, all taken with the photographer's point and shoot cameras.

The (non-photo-shopped) images were selected by the photographer and a few friends for color, content or composition.

Simple as that.

This Book is a Camera by Kellie Anderson ($29)

A working camera in a pop-up book which concisely explains--and actively demonstrates--how a structure as humble as a folded piece of paper can tap into the intrinsic properties of light to produce a photograph. Genius, right?

The book includes a piece paper folded into a working 4x5" camera, a lightproof bag, 5 sheets of photo-paper "film", development instructions (from complete DIY to "outsource it"), a fancy foil-stamped cover that will look good on your shelf! and a satisfying demonstration of the connection between design & science / structures & functions.

Curtain Up!: 30 Years of Spectacular Showhouse Rooms by Barbara Ostrom ($75)

A gorgeous compilation of interior designer Barbara Ostrom's fantastic showrooms in New York, New Jersey and the Hamptons.

Known as "Queen of the Showhouse" Ostrom's lively interior designs start from scratch and make beautiful images to savor. With a preface by Mario Buatta (aka The Prince of Chintz), the book highlights some of Barbara's most wildly imaginative and over-the-top rooms. It also displays her process from start to finish where she often has to begin with a gutted, crumbling room.

This glossy rendition would make a sexy addition to your favorite coffee table.

Kitchen by Mick de Giulio ($85)

From famed American designer Mick De Giulio comes Kitchen, an extensive portfolio of his latest work. The book features the signature elements and finishes of his uber-luxurious kitchen interiors, along with a look at some of his designs that extend beyond the kitchen.

In 2003, De Giulio was named a Kitchen and Bath Design Leader by Interior Design magazine, and in 2005, he was recognized by Kitchen and Bath Business magazine as one of the 50 most influential people in the kitchen and bath industry over the last 50 years. Known for upscale luxurious kitchens crafted with the finest materials, designer Mick De Giulio has created Kitchen, an extensive portfolio of his latest work.

Perfect for your favorite chef, foodie, or anyone who loves to drool at amazing kitchen interiors!

Once Upon a Pillow by Rebecca Vizard ($75)

You know that friend of yours who has the house that always looks like it's ready to entertain? The one who has the most exquisite art, impressive furniture and luxurious décor? Well this book is for their flawless antique coffee table.

Pillows designed using rare textiles make a dazzling array of page turning images in this pretty collection. Vizard's pillow designs are at home in many of the world's finest homes and have graced the cover of design staples like House Beautiful, Veranda, Elle Decor, Traditional Home and Architectural Digest.

The Pirelli Calendar 2016, Photographed by Annie Leibovitz

OK, so you can't buy this one, but that won't stop you from lusting over it.

It's been 50 years since the Pirelli calendar--the annual soft-core ode to pinups produced by the Italian tire manufacturer, was conceived. Given away to an exclusive group of 20,000 VIP's, including famous musicians, politicians and royalty, it is "an eye-popping advert for their high-quality products, a freebie that would be proudly displayed and obsessed over year-round by their target market," according to "The Calendar: 50 Years and More," a coffee-table book from Taschen. The calendar has featured a completely naked models Kate Moss, Lara Stone and Joan Smalls (2012); models Gisele Bündchen, Karen Elson and Carmen Kass playing peekaboo with bottoms and bosoms (2001); and topless and/or naked models Christy Turlington, Naomi Campbell and Nadja Auermann (1995). Anyone here notice a theme?

Last week, a new kind of Pirelli calendar was unveiled, showcasing photographs (by Annie Leibovitz) of a dozen fully clad women--from Amy Schumer and Serena Williams to Patti Smith and Yoko Ono--who were chosen more for their achievements than for their measurements.

Is it all part of the trend (can we call it a trend?) of assessing women more for their brains than the size of their boobs? Only time will tell.

7 Must-Have Indie Holiday Gift Books (Plus One Calendar)