Books: Deck The Halls with Sumptuous Volumes

From earrings to panthers to quilts, here is something for everyone's shelf

MASTERPIECES OF JAPANESE SCREEN PAINTING by Miyeko Murase (Braziller; $150). The aphorism "Poetry is painting, painting is mute poetry" is exemplified in these 37 exquisite screens painted between the 15th and 19th centuries. A boldly abstract rendering of blue irises from the Edo period is as striking and modern as a Matisse cutout.

THE ENCYCLOPEDIA OF BAD TASTE by Jane and Michael Stern (HarperCollins; $29.99). If it weren't for bad taste, most people wouldn't have any taste at all. That seems to be the thesis of this arch and witty catalog of American kitsch. A sampler: Nehru jackets, vanity license plates,...

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