This holiday season, give a gift that makes an impact beyond the "Wow!" upon initially opening it. The best books, CDs and DVDs offer hours of reading, listening and viewing pleasure for the lucky recipients. Compiled by Tom Beer, Glenn Gamboa and Diane Werts.
To see more holiday gift guides, visit newsday.com/giftguides.
Bob Dylan's "Trouble No More"
The massive eight-CD package, $174.98, features more than 100 previously unreleased live and studio recordings from what is known as Dylan's spiritual period, around the releases "Slow Train Coming," "Saved" and :Shot of Love." However, the biggest surprise may be the DVD, which includes "Trouble No More: A Musical Film," combining previously unreleased footage from Dylan's 1980 tours with sermons written by Luc Sante and performed by Michael Shannon. More info: bobdylan.com.
Picador Modern Classics
Here are some highbrow stocking stuffers: pocket-size editions of indispensable works of contemporary literature. The latest volumes in the series are nonfiction works by iconic women writers, including Joan Didion's definitive 1960s essays, "Slouching Toward Bethlehem"; Susan Sontag's meditation on war, "Regarding the Pain of Others"; Hillary Mantel's memoir of illness and recovery, "Giving Up the Ghost"; and Barbara Ehrenreich's portrait of working-class America, "Nickel and Dimed." Picador, $16 each. More info: macmillan.com
"Mythology" by Edith Hamilton
Generations of readers have learned the Greek, Roman and Norse myths from Hamilton's volume of lively retellings, originally published in 1942. This handsome edition celebrates the book's 75th anniversary with full-color illustrations by artist Jim Tierney. The gang's all here, including Zeus, Hera and the other gods of Mount Olympus; Perseus and the snaked-wigged Medusa; Theseus and the Minotaur; mighty Hercules. Black Dog & Leventhal, $29.99. More info: hachettebookgroup.com
"David Bowie: A New Career in a New Town (1977-82)"
The boxed set (from Parlophone) collects all of Bowie's work from his Berlin period - including "Low," "Heroes," "Stage," "Lodger," "Scary Monsters (and Super Creeps)" and "Re:Call 3" - with both "Lodger" remastered by producer Tony Visconti specifically for the set. The vinyl version of 13 LPs goes for $249.98, while the CD version of 11 CDs will be $149.98. More info: davidbowie.com
Billy Joel's "The Stranger" 40th anniversary picture disc
To commemorate the 40th anniversary of Joel's breakthrough album, which includes the hits "Movin' Out (Anthony's Song)" and "Just the Way You Are," as well as classics like "Scenes from an Italian Restaurant" and "Vienna," the West Babylon-based indie label is issuing a special picture disc of the album, featuring the front and back cover artwork pressed on the vinyl. More info: brookvalerecords.com
"Paperbacks from Hell"
If you know anyone who grew up obsessively reading Stephen King and V.C. Andrews novels, look no farther for a present. This volume by Grady Hendrix bills itself as "The Twisted History of ''70s and ''80s Horror Fiction," collecting the deliriously lurid mass market covers of favorites such as "The Exorcist," "The Omen," "The Amityville Horror" and "Red Dragon." Just thumbing though these pages will bring back your youth -- and terrify you all over again. Quirk Books, $29.99. More info: quirkbooks.com
Mariah Carey's "Butterfly" 20th anniversary
Mariah Carey is celebrating the 20th anniversary of her "Butterfly" album with a collector's edition version, $29.99, featuring a Carey photo pressed on the vinyl for . "Butterfly" includes hits like "Honey" and "My All" and fan favorites like "The Roof." More info: mariahcarey.com
Peanuts Holiday Collection
Nine classic animated specials look better than ever in a new combo-pack, $45, representing their 4K Ultra HD debuts -- "A Charlie Brown Christmas," "A Charlie Brown Thanksgiving," "It's the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown," "It's Christmastime Again, Charlie Brown," "Play It Again, Charlie Brown," "Charlie Brown's All-Stars," "It's Magic, Charlie Brown," "It's Flashbeagle, Charlie Brown," and "The Mayflower Voyagers." (Christmas, Thanksgiving and Halloween shows available separately, $30 each.) More info: wbshop.com
"The Vietnam War: An Intimate History"
If anyone you know was riveted by the Ken Burns Vietnam documentary on PBS, they'll appreciate this companion volume. Here the reader can spend more time considering the history of the war, the powerful images that captured it and the personal stories of those who experienced it. "The Vietnam War was a tragedy," writes author Geoffrey C. Ward. "But meaning can be found in the individual stories of those who lived through it, stories of courage and comradeship and perserverance, of understanding and forgiveness and, ultimately, reconciliation." Alfred A. Knopf, $60. More info: penguinrandomhouse.com
"E.T. The Extra-Terrestrial" 35th Anniversary Limited Edition
Steven Spielberg's 1982 blockbuster comes to 4K Ultra HD looking as sharp as you'd expect, reflecting all the L.A. smog of its era and film grain of its production format. What it doesn't reflect is any new effort in bonus features, simply retaining the interviews and other extras of the film's 2012 Blu-ray set. Audio steps up to DTS:X (similar to Dolby Atmos), with 4K rendering HDR color gamut. $40 for two discs. More info: uphe.com.
"Green Acres": The Complete Series
Oliver, Lisa, Eb, Mr. Haney and the whole Hooterville gang can finally be seen in all 170 episodes of the surreal cornpone series from those silly-sitcom '60s. This may be the Dada masterpiece of its era, with hard-as-nails hotcakes and pigs that go to school, set in ramshackle rural houses with the latest Barbie-pink appliances. Bonus features may be slim, but they're superb. A 38-minute featurette has a historian tracing the series' creation, production and impact, while a vintage "Merv Griffin" talkfest half-hour shows how sharp stars Eddie Albert and Eva Gabor could be. A fact-filled finale-episode commentary puts the show in perspective with its cultural/TV times. $140 for 24 discs, shoutfactory.com.