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Home for the holidays: big, pretty gift books celebrate history, house decor & handmade styles.

THE BLACK LIST (Atria Books, $29.95), by Timothy Greenfield-Sanders and Elvis Mitchell, offers a thought-provoking, conversational collection of 25 essays and portraits by trailblazing African-Americans from diverse professional and personal backgrounds. Portraits from the book were featured in an exhibit at the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston, and there are plans to exhibit them nationally. An HBO documentary with the same title premiered last summer. "One of the purposes of this Black List is to track the Black experience in America, and by doing so, to exhibit the wealth of variety in it," writes Mitchell. "What's evident from the speakers on the Black List is how that experience defies definition."

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THE NEW TRADITIONAL: REINVENT--BALANCE--DEFINE YOUR HOME (Clarkson Potter/Publishers, $45), by Darryl Carter, helps the reader put the comfort into modern design to create rooms that are elegant yet livable and inviting. A leader in the design world, Carter's work has been praised for effortlessly blending classic and modern elements to create personal environments. He encourages the reader to be true to their lifestyle and shows that the home design process is to be enjoyed, not feared.

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AILEY ASCENDING: A PORTRAIT IN MOTION (Chronicle Books, $50), with photographs by Andrew Eccles, preface by Judith Jamison and foreword by Anna Deavere Smith, is produced in celebration of the 50th anniversary of Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater. The photographer spent 12 years documenting the acclaimed company, and his startlingly graceful photographs capture the dancers in performance, behind the scenes and in stunning portraits. Jamison, artistic director of this award-winning dance company since 1989 and an early Ailey dancer and protegee, tells the vision and passion of the founder and of the dance troupe today.

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DOUBLE STITCH: DESIGNS FOR THE CROCHET FASHIONISTA (Interweave Press, $21.95), by Erika and Monika Simmons, takes crochet to new levels with the edgy, body-shaping designs the Chicago designers are known for creating. These are not grandma's doilies or tablecloths. The twin designers use step-by-step instructions for creating their one-of-a-kind pieces. "Whether you just want a crochet accessory to add to an outfit, or you want to jump in with both feet and wear crochet from head to toe," they have the design for every occasion.

PATTI LABELLE: RECIPES FOR THE GOOD LIFE! (Karen Hunter Publishing, $25), by Patti LaBelle with Judith Choate and Karen Hunter, is the revered singer's third in a line of popular cookbooks. The book features more than 100 of LaBelle's favorite comfort foods and healthy recipes. She also is releasing her first instructional cooking DVD, In The Kitchen With Miss Patti, and features more than 90 minutes of footage of LaBelle in the kitchen and in her own dining room.

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Title Annotation:BOOKSHELF
Author:Bennett, Joy T.
Publication:Ebony
Article Type:Book review
Date:Dec 1, 2008
Words:454
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