I'm sorry I didn't jump in, Lora. I guess I've just moved over to the Internet for cooking ideas and generally Google for concepts rather than using cookbooks any more. I keep my old favorites around for old times' sake and flip through them on occasion - the recently departed Marcella Hazan, Craig Claiborne and Pierre Franey, James and Julia and Julie Sahni and Madhur Jaffrey and Paul Prudhomme and lots more, but my cookbook collecting really spanned the 70s and 80s.
A lot of the really popular cookbooks nowadays are coming from name chefs, Ottolenghi and Keller and such, but I always wonder how much of those cookbooks is shaped by ego.
Here's a possible lead for gifting: PBS puts out a blog post every month featuring their food section's favorite cookbooks of the month. Here's a link to October:http://www.pbs.org/food/features/best-n ... ober-2013/
The ones by Lidia, Alice Waters and Gramercy Tavern would be potentially interesting to me. If I still bought cookbooks.