There are some who might argue that cookbooks are a thing of the past, since online recipes seem almost infinite in number. Karl Benson disagrees. He's the co-owner of Cooks of Crocus Hill, with three locations, which has an impressive display of cookbook titles.

"I love cookbooks. Everyone who likes to cook should love cookbooks. They are tactile, they stain easily, the bindings break and the more you use them, the more they tell the story of your cooking and, ultimately, your life," he said.

"What were you cooking when you were first getting started? How about when you had kids? What about after soccer practice? Or when you had your buddies over for dinner, knowing they hate shellfish? Tough to reconnect with all those memories while using an electronic device. Plus you know what happens when you introduce a glass of wine to a keyboard," Benson said. "And, in spite of what everyone says, your brain operates a lot faster and a lot more accurately than the Internet."

Although Cooks of Crocus Hill has about 40 ways of dividing its books, Benson suggests these as a starting point:

Basic instruction (general cooking, such as "Joy of Cooking"); baking and desserts; ethnic; American; quick and easy; dietary; travel.