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  • The Batman Vault (Photograph: Heami Lee)

  • Legacy (Photograph: Heami Lee)

  • Legacy (Photograph: Heami Lee)

  • New York City Museum of Complaint

  • New York City Museum of Complaint

  • A New Literary History of America

  • Novel T literary shirt (Photograph: Heami Lee)

  • Sex Drugs & Gefilte Fish

The Batman Vault (Photograph: Heami Lee)


The Batman Vault

The Batman Vault by Robert Greenberger and Matthew K. Manning
This heavily illustrated slab of geek bait gives a detailed tour through the history of Batman, from the first comic books to his still-evolving present. Billed as a “museum in a book,” it reproduces panels from the ’30s, sums up the exploits of the ineffective Gotham City police department and revisits the birth of the young sidekick Robin, who debuted in April 1940. True to its title, the Vault is also stuffed with freestanding promotional treasures from the superhero’s past, including a paper Batplane from 1943 and a Catwoman design sketchbook from 2003. Running Press, $50
EXPERIENCE IT! Revel in more illustrated nostalgia at the Museum of Comic and Cartoon Art’s next exhibition, “The Art of Archie Comics” (Thu 19--Feb 28). An annual membership costs $35 and gets you free admission and special invites. 594 Broadway between E Houston and Prince Sts, suite 401 (212-254-3511, moccany.org)


Legacy: The Preservation of Wilderness in New York City Parks

Legacy: The Preservation of Wilderness in New York City Parks by Joel Meyerowitz
In this photo book, the native New Yorker documents our city’s parks, capturing green spaces that are well groomed (Central Park), overgrown (Manhattan’s Swindler Cove) and far-flung (Staten Island’s LaTourette Park). Often, bits of man-made debris or the tops of buildings enter the frame, creating a vivid sense of nature within a metropolis. Aperture, $65
EXPERIENCE IT! See Meyerowitz’s photos at the “Legacy” exhibition at the Museum of the City of New York (through March 21). Better yet, pick a park from the book and take your giftee for a visit (events and tours run all year; visit nyc.parks.gov). Staten Island’s Conference Park, Queens’ Udalls Park Preserve and many others await. Museum of the City of New York, 1220 Fifth Ave at 103rd St (212-534-1672, mcny.org)


New York City Museum of Complaint

New York City Museum of Complaint, curated by Matthew Bakkom
This handsome book collects 132 letters to the Mayor of New York between 1751 and 1969—every one of them a complaint (about, say, “gambolers” using vile language on Barclay Street in 1880). In an indignant letter from 1946, a handkerchief manufacturer lambasts the “overzealous” administration of parking tickets. Some things never change. Steidl-Miles, $60


A New Literary History of America

A New Literary History of America, edited by Greil Marcus and Werner Sollers
This hefty yet invigorating anthology of 225 new essays about American culture and history is perfect for the hard-to-please smarty-pants. Harvard University Press, $50


Novel T literary shirt

Novel T literary shirt
Created by Brooklynites David Bukszpan and Michael Kravetsky, Novel T’s baseball-themed designs proclaim an author or character’s name on the back and a “team logo” on the front. For those who would prefer not to do anything, there’s the Bartleby design. For the willfully gloomy, go with Poe. And for the cheating ex, there’s the Hester Prynne design. Guess what’s on the front. novel-t.com, $25


Sex, Drugs & Gefilte Fish</em /> edited by Shana Liebman

Sex, Drugs & Gefilte Fish, edited by Shana Liebman
For some, the holiday season is downright depressing, but this entertaining collection of stories from Heeb magazine should provide comic relief for the weary—even if they’re not Jewish. Grand Central, $14 paperback

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