Do you have a musician or a music lover on your Christmas list? Surprise them with one of these new books, and don’t forget to write a little note to them on the first page – that’s as traditional as spiking the eggnog!

Atlanta: Hip-Hop and the South (Chronicle): Georgia’s capital city has long been a hip-hop hotbed, and here, photographer Michael Schmelling aims his lens at the people and places that make the scene so vibrant. Lots of shots of club kids taken at nightspots like Fusion, Lonestar, Club Caliente and the Body Tap are interspersed with pictures of performers like Bubba Sparxxx, Travis Porter, Yung LA, Witchdoctor, Lil Texas and big stars like Big Boi. Bling, bulldogs, booty shots and T-Pain’s red piano are just a few of the other subjects portrayed in this hard cover coffee table book, also packed with essays and interviews with Gucci Mane, Andre 3000, Ludacris, Big Boi, Shawty Lo and the-Dream.

The Complete Idiot’s Guide to Playing Rock Guitar (Alpha): Guitarist, do you know what the Silly Putty Principle is? You will after you’ve scoured this self-help tome by David Hodge that teaches everything from basic strumming to learning how to recognize and play the elusive minor major seventh chord. A 99-track CD that demonstrates each lesson is included, as is lots of helpful “side” information about things like getting along with band mates. Also new in the C.I.G. series: Guitar (for the beginner, also by Hodge), the indispensable Music Dictionary and The Music Business, an industry primer.

December 8, 1980 – The Day John Lennon Died (Backbeat): A portion of this book (by Keith Elliot Greenberg) sets up the situation: how Lennon’s life led him to become a resident of the Dakota in New York City and how assassin Mark David Chapman got a gun and plotted Lennon’s murder. But the real chill comes from the minute-by-minute account of Chapman walking up to Lennon and pulling the trigger, the reactions of those in the hospital where Lennon was taken, the stunned disbelief of Lennon’s Beatles band mates and the condition of a deeply depressed and paranoid widow, Yoko Ono.

Mountains Come Out of the Sky – The Illustrated History of Prog Rock (Backbeat): Most of this book focuses rightfully on the big daddies of prog rock; acts like Yes, Genesis, Emerson, Lake and Palmer, Pink Floyd, the Moody Blues and Rush basically defined the genre that many consider to be indefinable. But author Will Romano, a scribe for Modern Drummer, Guitar Player and Goldmine, is very thorough, not forgetting acts like Gentle Giant, Caravan, Soft Machine and the Strawbs while also covering prog radio mainstays like Kansas and Styx and more current bands like Coheed & Cambria, Dream Theater, the Mars Volta and Spock’s Beard. Lots of rarely seen photos and illustrations accompany Romano’s enlightening text, compiled from several hundred interviews with the musicians themselves.

Q on Producing (Hal Leonard): Quincy Jones, affectionately known as Q, has an incredible resume with highlights that include Berklee graduate, jazz musician and producer of some of the most successful records of all time like Michael Jackson’s Thriller, Bad and Off the Wall. Q on Producing, by Jones with Bill Gibson, touches on all aspects of Jones’ career with an emphasis on his production work, using a unique give-and-take format where Jones comments on artists he’s worked with and they comment back about him. Lavishly illustrated and appended with a discography of Q’s work, Q on Producing also includes a DVD holding performances from Jackson, Frank Sinatra, LL Cool J and a host of other Q-associated acts.

Shelter From the Storm – Bob Dylan’s Rolling Thunder Years (Jawbone): Lots of books have been written about Bob Dylan; this one by Sid Griffin focuses on a very specific time in the life of America’s most noted living troubadour, the mid-’70s. This was the era where Dylan went on the road with his Rolling Thunder Revue, a hodgepodge band and posse that included the infamous Beat Era poet Allen Ginsberg. Included are transcripts of conversations recorded on the tour bus; some are lucid and enlightening and others are just plain weird. This is also the era when Dylan (personally miserable at the time but at a creative high point) made the movie Renaldo and Clara and a good portion of the book is an insider’s look at the making of that film.