One for the Books: Local books, sports and eye-popping goodies ... By Mary Louise Ruehr

By Mary Louise Ruehr, Books Editor Published:

If you haven't completed your holiday shopping yet, check out these great ideas.

local interest

SDLqIt Came from Ohio: True Tales of the Weird, Wild, and Unexplained" by James Renner is so much fun, I couldn't put it down. Renner brings us 13 true stories of the implausible, improbable and downright unbelievable, all stuff that happened in our home state. His stories include an encounter with flying saucers right here in Portage County and sightings of Bigfoot, the Mothman, a frogman, flying saucers, a werewolf, sea serpent, ghosts and more. The tales are set in Camp Manatoc, Salt Fork State Park, Hower House, Kirtland, and other sites in the Buckeye State. I think kids in middle school will love this as much as their parents. (Of course, they won't be able to sleep, either.)

Paperback, 116 pages, $7.99. Gray and Co., 800-915-3609, www.grayco.com.

Terry Pluto's "Faith and You" is the second volume of his inspirational essays on faith in everyday life. The former sportswriter now writes a popular newspaper column on faith, and some of these essays come from that column. Pluto talks about the spiritual in a practical way, discussing not only sports, but also family troubles, holidays, work, going to church, marriage and more. He writes, "Many of us go through periods where we feel … brokenhearted … crushed in spirit. My job is to give those people a voice, and to talk about the kind of faith we need to get through what life throws at us each day."

Paperback, 197 pages, $14.95. Gray & Co.

In Hanford Dixon's memoir, "Day of the Dawg," the football player recalls his nine seasons with the Cleveland Browns in the 1980s. He recalls training camp and workouts at KSU's Dix Stadium and dealing with teammates and coaches, and he describes in detail his four favorite games. He includes a timely discussion of "bounty hunting," writing that "Players have used incentives for hard hits for decades." It was Dixon's habit of barking on the field that inspired the "Dawgs" in the "Dawg Pound." Great for any football fan.

Paperback, 239 pages, $14.95. Gray & Co.

More Sports

Sports Illustrated (SI.com) has several new publications for sports-lovers.

Who is the greatest running back of all time? What was the best play ever in the NFL? Sports Illustrated polled its experts, asking them to list their Top 10 answers to these and other questions football fans have been debating ever since the pigskin starting flying, and the results are in "Football's Greatest." The book is packed with 150 photos and diagrams.

Hardcover, 288 pages, 10.8 x 13.2 inches, $32.95.

"At the Fights: Inside the World of Professional Boxing" is a collection of award-winning photographs and revealing interviews of boxing's current champions and key movers and shakers. The book has 320 photographs that will fascinate not only sports fans, but also those who value original, cutting-edge photography and fine art.

Hardcover, 224 pages, 11.1 x 14.1 inches, $75.

Sports Illustrated commemorates the 80th anniversary of our rivals to the east in "Pittsburgh Steelers: Pride in Black and Gold." With 150 full-color photos and an introduction by SI senior writer Tim Layden, the book captures the team through the eyes of accomplished sports photographers and writers. It showcases players and performances, crucial moments, classic rivalries, and the team's Super Bowl runs.

Hardcover, 176 pages, 11.2 x 12.2 inches, $34.95.

I don't want to leave baseball fans out in the cold. "Pinstripe Empire: The New York Yankees from Before the Babe to After the Boss" by Marty Appel is a definitive history of the team all Cleveland Indians fans love to hate. It includes not only the important milestones (including all the George Steinbrenner dramas), but also anecdotes that reveal the personalities of players, managers and executives. It's filled with stories and photos that put the reader right in the dugout with the team, watching as players are discovered and careers end.

Hardcover, 640 pages, 6.1 x 9.2 inches, $28.

Eye-poppers

For armchair travelers, "America's National Parks: An Insider's Guide to Unforgettable Places and Experiences" from the National Parks Conservation Association and Time Home Entertainment offers a photographic journey across the country. Imagine hiking among the Redwoods, biking in Acadia or wandering the ruins of Mesa Verde. The editors picked photos that show the iconic parks in a new light and take readers from mountains to deserts, Maine to Hawaii, the Grand Canyon to the Great Lakes. The book also covers historical sites such as Gettysburg and the missions of San Antonio.

Hardback, 208 pages, 8.2 x 10.9 inches, $24.95.

This is an absolutely remarkable find for just about anybody who reads: "The Graphic Canon," volumes one and two, edited by Russ Kick, add up to nothing less than a masterpiece. (The third and final volume is due out in April.) Kick has brought classic literature together with graphic artists and illustrators to present more than 200 literary works in the three volumes, reinterpreted in wonderful graphic artistry in many different styles (some in color). Volume one covers the earliest writings, from "The Epic of Gilgamesh" and Homer's "Iliad" through the end of the 1700s. Volume two covers the 1800s, starting with poets Blake, Wordsworth and others, and moving on to Dickens, Poe, the Brontë sisters, and Oscar Wilde. (And you know, of course, Jane Austen's "Pride and Prejudice" is in here, too.) Volume three will cover the 20th century and beyond. Simply extraordinary!

Softcover, Vol. 1: 512 pages; Vol. 2: 499 pages. Each is 8.5 x 10.9 inches, Each is $34.95.

Copyright © 2012 by Mary Louise Ruehr.

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