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CNET Book Club: Holiday 2018 gift guide special

Find a great gift idea with these books that are only available, or only really work, in physical dead-tree form, from a lavishly illustrated history of Dungeons & Dragons to the creativity-inspiring Wonderbook.

Dan Ackerman Editorial Director / Computers and Gaming
Dan Ackerman leads CNET's coverage of computers and gaming hardware. A New York native and former radio DJ, he's also a regular TV talking head and the author of "The Tetris Effect" (Hachette/PublicAffairs), a non-fiction gaming and business history book that has earned rave reviews from the New York Times, Fortune, LA Review of Books, and many other publications. "Upends the standard Silicon Valley, Steve Jobs/Mark Zuckerberg technology-creation myth... the story shines." -- The New York Times
Expertise I've been testing and reviewing computer and gaming hardware for over 20 years, covering every console launch since the Dreamcast and every MacBook...ever. Credentials
  • Author of the award-winning, NY Times-reviewed nonfiction book The Tetris Effect; Longtime consumer technology expert for CBS Mornings
Scott Stein Editor at Large
I started with CNET reviewing laptops in 2009. Now I explore wearable tech, VR/AR, tablets, gaming and future/emerging trends in our changing world. Other obsessions include magic, immersive theater, puzzles, board games, cooking, improv and the New York Jets. My background includes an MFA in theater which I apply to thinking about immersive experiences of the future.
Expertise VR and AR, gaming, metaverse technologies, wearable tech, tablets Credentials
  • Nearly 20 years writing about tech, and over a decade reviewing wearable tech, VR, and AR products and apps
Dan Ackerman
Scott Stein
2 min read

For many readers, ourselves included, books are most often consumed via Kindle or another e-book platform. Sure, there's something lost in the transition from paper to screen, but the convenience and storage capacity of Kindle readers, or phones and tablets using e-book software, far outweighs the compromises. Except when the opposite is true. 

Some books work better, or only, in physical format. We've compiled some of our favorites for a special Holiday Gift Guide edition of CNET Book Club, where we talk about awesome art books, tabletop books and just plain strange books that will never translate well to a Kindle screen. On the plus side, they make excellent real-world holiday gifts, and look better wrapped up than an e-book gift code. Many brick-and-mortar book stores are open until the wee hours in the days before Christmas, so there's still time to get someone an awesome nondigital gift. 

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Sarah Tew/CNET

Dan's picks:

Dungeons & Dragons Art and Arcana: A Visual History
by Sam Witwer, Michael Witwer, Kyle Newman and Jon Peterson

House of Leaves
by Mark Z. Danielewski

Ship of Theseus
by J.J. Abrams and Doug Dorst

Stranger Things: Worlds Turned Upside Down
by Gina McIntyre

Paperbacks from Hell
by Grady Hendrix

The Moviemaking Magic of Star Wars: Creatures & Aliens
by Mark Salisbury 

Giraffes on Horseback Salad
by Josh Frank, Tim Heidecker and Manuela Pertega


A spread from Wonderbook. 

Harry N. Abrams

Scott's picks

by Jeff Vandermeer (listen to our CNET Book Club interview with Jeff here)

Theory of Fun for Game Design
by Raph Koster

The Electric State
by Simon Stalenhag

Codex Seraphinianus
by Luigi Serafini

About CNET Book Club

The Book Club is hosted by a pair of self-proclaimed book experts: Dan Ackerman (author of the nonfiction video game history book The Tetris Effect), and Scott Stein, a playwright and screenwriter. We'll be announcing our next Book Club selection soon, so send us your suggestions and keep an eye out for updates on Twitter at @danackerman and @jetscott.

Previous episodes

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