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Best 2013 book discoveries

29NE credit Miguel Porlan

"Why Knot?: How to Tie More Than Sixty Ingenious, Useful, Beautiful, Lifesaving, and Secure Knots!" by Philippe Petit (Abrams)

Petit, who captivated New York in 1974 when he walked a wire illegally rigged between the towers of the World Trade Center, is nuts for knots and an absolutely charming instructor and storyteller. Drawing on his library of 200 books about knots and his career as an aerial artist, he writes with such enthusiasm that you will find yourself reaching for the length of cord curled inside the front cover.

"March: Book One" by John Lewis, Andrew Aydin and Nate Powell (Top Shelf Productions)


This nonfiction, presented in the style of a graphic novel, tells the gripping story of Congressman Lewis's transformation from farm boy to civil rights activist. The combined force of the illustrations and words packs an emotional punch. In a nod to the power of the format, Lewis mentions a 10-cent comic book about the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. that moved him.

"Modern Nature: Georgia O'Keeffe and Lake George" by Erin B. Coe, Gwendolyn Owens and Bruce Robertson (Thames & Hudson)

This luscious art book is a revelation. Before O'Keeffe fell in love with New Mexico, she spent summer and fall in the Adirondacks at the family estate of her husband, Alfred Stieglitz. There she painted leaves, trees, and flowers with the sensuality that became a hallmark of her work.

Jan Gardner can be reached at JanLGardner@yahoo.com.