I wonder how many of you, like me, visited the library as a child to take part in its summer reading program. I’d report to the librarian each Monday, delivering the stack of books I’d read the week before and receiving a sticker in return. A bona fide bookworm, I spent hours every day enjoying the real or imaginary worlds each author introduced to me. Books were my hobby and passion, and during my elementary school years they helped shape my creativity and offered a sense of possibility.

As an adult, I have less time for recreational reading, but every now and then a good book comes into my life—usually by way of a friend who has recommended it—and, like a heated love affair, all I want to do is immerse myself in its covers. Because December is a month of gift-giving, we at Delicious Living thought it would be powerful to suggest a list of seminal books that you can present to someone important in your life. We asked Lyn Dalebout, an intuitive, wise poet and astrologer who has worked for years in a bookstore, to summarize her favorite manuscripts from the natural lifestyle genre (her insights are our gift to you). The result is “The Hot List,” a well-thought-out collection of all-time greats. Many of these may already lie, worn and tattered, on your shelves as reference guides in your decision to live a holistic life. Some may be new to you. We hope, either way, the suggested gifts are helpful. Enjoy this season, this issue, this spirit of Delicious Living.

Jean Weiss

I’m a book addict,” says Lyn Dalebout, author of “The Hot List.” “I love matching the right book to the right person.” With 14 years of bookselling experience, the published poet of Moose, Wyoming, was excited to share what she calls her “favorite friends” in the article. Her only difficulty: limiting the list to the ten best.

Merilee Bordin, the food stylist for “Holiday of Harmony” and “Comfort Spices,” modestly credits others for her great style. “I am only as good as the photographer I shoot with,” she says. Bordin lives in Mill Valley, California, and was formerly the head stylist for Williams-Sonoma catalogs.

As a teacher of art, cooking, meditation, Tibetan painting, and Kirtan (devotional chanting music), Faith Stone, author of the food feature “Holiday of Harmony,” has devoted her life to creative expression. “I was thrilled to be able to write about my spiritual tradition in conjunction with the themes of harmony, peace, and healthy foods.”