"I'm sure I must have a thousand favorite books but :) my favorite is definitely For The Blind Man In The Dark Room Searching For The Black Cat That Isn't There. Designed by Will Holder for a 2009 exhibit of the same name that was curated by Anthony Huberman for the Contemporary Art Museum in St Louis, it's not a typical show related catalogue at all. Though the text wanders all over through various histories, it's somehow able to "focus" convincingly on the great knowable/unknowable, speculative vastness with which art and science often concern themselves. And it does so with gentle, everyday plain language that makes it feel almost conversational. If I had to pick one word to describe it I'd say "poeticllaysmilinghumbleness" and in my experience that is fairly rare in art writing. You couldn't buy a better gift for your loved ones. It's out of print but you can find copies for $300 and up.
And if you're looking for something inexpensive, Jonas Mekas "The Major Works" 6 DVD Box Set released a few years ago by agnès b. is fantastic.
Or the also affordable vinyl copy of Whispered Art History by Robert Filliou."
Matt Olson was co-founder and creative director of RO/LU. On 1/1/16 he begins a new project called OOIEE (Office of Int.\Est.\Ext.) to work on art and design projects related to furniture and objects, landscape architecture and environments, communication, curiosity and love. He'll be a guest lecturer at Cranbrook in January and will produce a performative piece at the Aspen Art Museum in February.