This Week's Best New Books

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Wrapped Up in You

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Wrapped Up in You

by Jill Shalvis

Wrapped Up in You

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While readers will want to read the entire collection, this eighth novel in Jill Shalvis's popular Heartbreaker Bay series can be read as a stand-alone tale. Self-taught chef Ivy Snow has pulled herself up by the bootstraps after a hardscrabble childhood that has left her emotionally wary and guarded. Determined to build a settled, secure life, she operates a successful food truck in San Francisco, is saving for a down payment for a condo and has found a solid group of friends. Focused on her goals, ... [ Read More » ]

2 of 28
What Burns

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What Burns

by Dale Peck

What Burns

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Though he once was best known for a ferocious reviewing style that produced a collection entitled Hatchet Jobs, Dale Peck's literary career hasn't been confined to criticism. What Burns, his first volume of short fiction, explores some of life's darker corners in eight well-crafted tales written over the past 20 years. The stories here are sturdily constructed, suggestive of the "massive wooden joist spanning the house's central axis" in the story "Summer Beam, pt. 1."

In the opener, "Not ... [ Read More » ]

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Sisters of the Vast Black

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Sisters of the Vast Black

by Lina Rather

Sisters of the Vast Black

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On the sparsely settled frontier of humanity's galactic exodus, nuns from the Order of Saint Rita provide aid and perform rites where needed. Their ship, Our Lady of Impossible Constellations, is a colossal, photosynthesizing sea slug with habitable cavities. The order's Reverend Mother, vowed to silence decades ago, has long acted with some sense of independence, thanks in part to a generation-old war that severed Earth Central Governance's control over humanity's outlying systems. But old bureaucracies ... [ Read More » ]

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Rewild Yourself: Making Nature More Visible in Our Lives

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Rewild Yourself: Making Nature More Visible in Our Lives

by Simon Barnes

Rewild Yourself: Making Nature More Visible in Our Lives

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With the premise that people have stopped paying attention to the environment, former chief sportswriter for the Times of London and avid amateur naturalist Simon Barnes has written a magical and lyrical guidebook for the average layperson to use when reconnecting with the natural world around them. Rewild Yourself: Making Nature More Visible in Our Lives draws upon the inspiration of nature-heavy fantasies such as C.S. Lewis's Chronicles of Narnia and J.K. Rowling's Harry Potter series to create ... [ Read More » ]

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A Pilgrimage to Eternity: From Canterbury to Rome in Search of a Faith

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A Pilgrimage to Eternity: From Canterbury to Rome in Search of a Faith

by Timothy Egan

A Pilgrimage to Eternity: From Canterbury to Rome in Search of a Faith

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On the last page of A Pilgrimage to Eternity, journalist Timothy Egan (The Immortal Irishman) reflects on his thousand-mile journey. "The Via Francigena is a trail of ideas, and it helps to walk with eyes open--otherwise you miss the bread crumbs of epiphany along the way." Egan's 2017 pilgrimage along the major medieval route from Canterbury to Rome, hardly a step of which was not traveled by "martyrs, madmen or monarchs," was his quest to explore the contemporary moment in history (with its sharp ... [ Read More » ]

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Older Brother

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Older Brother

by Mahir Guven, trans. by Tina Kover

Older Brother

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Two brothers. Two narrators. Two type fonts: serif for "The Older Brother" chapters; sans serif for "The Younger Brother." Their family has shrunk as Mahir Guven's debut, Older Brother, begins: "...there's only two of us left," the older brother reveals, referring to their acerbic father and himself. The younger brother "has f**ked off to the middle of the desert," their mother is dead, her mother also dead, the father's mother in a nursing home. Once upon a time, the father was an international ... [ Read More » ]

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Odsburg

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Odsburg

by Matt Tompkins

Odsburg

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Welcome to the small town of Odsburg, Wash., where mountain lions live in basements, a "strange skinless guy" hangs out in the town square, and a couple is so hungry they eat themselves, literally, out of house and home. Odsburg by Matt Tompkins (Souvenirs: And Other Stories), is narrated by the only "socio-anthropo-lingui-lore-ologist" in existence, Wallace Jenkins-Ross. The novel, humorous and heartbreaking, serves as Wallace's notebook of "local lore, personal histories, and primary documents,
... [ Read More » ]

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Murder in the Balcony

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Murder in the Balcony

by Margaret Dumas

Murder in the Balcony

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This outstanding second novel in the Movie Palace mystery series from Margaret Dumas can easily be read on its own, but readers will surely want to read the first, Murder at the Palace, as well. Screenwriter Nora Paige fled scandal, the paparazzi and the gossip-driven environs of Los Angeles after her famous actor husband left her for an equally famous actress. Nora headed north, where she's now the manager of the Palace, a historic San Francisco movie theater. She loves classic movies and has grown ... [ Read More » ]

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Mudlark: In Search of London's Past Along the River Thames

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Mudlark: In Search of London's Past Along the River Thames

by Lara Maiklem

Mudlark: In Search of London's Past Along the River Thames

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London's River Thames has long been a repository for lost or unwanted objects, and those who seek them out are known as "mudlarks." Writer and editor Lara Maiklem, a long-time visitor to the Thames foreshore, chronicles her adventures in her first nonfiction book, Mudlark: In Search of London's Past Along the River Thames. Her expeditions and the objects they yield--including hatpins, hand-blown glass bottles, buttons and the occasional precious stone--provide a rambling, idiosyncratic, ... [ Read More » ]

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Tristan Strong Punches a Hole in the Sky

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Tristan Strong Punches a Hole in the Sky

by Kwame Mbalia

Tristan Strong Punches a Hole in the Sky

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Still grieving the death of best friend Eddie, Tristan Strong bombs his first big boxing bout. To "get some fire in his belly" (as his Granddad says), he travels from Chicago to Alabama to work his grandparent's land for the summer.

On his first night, as he adjusts to the quiet and darkness of the farm, Tristan is attacked by an anthropomorphic doll baby made of sap. In a high-pitched voice, Gum Baby issues hilarious threats, then snatches Eddie's journal, Tristan's only physical reminder of his ... [ Read More » ]

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The Poison Eaters: Fighting Danger and Fraud in Our Food and Drugs

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The Poison Eaters: Fighting Danger and Fraud in Our Food and Drugs

by Gail Jarrow

The Poison Eaters: Fighting Danger and Fraud in Our Food and Drugs

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Before there were regulations and oversight for food and drug manufacturing in the United States, greedy corporations often made monstrous adulterations to products they presented as fresh and safe for consumption. Tonics and potions were also peddled to unwitting consumers with promises of cures for everything as minor as headaches or as massive as cancer. The results (and products themselves) rarely matched the claims. One man, a doctor and chemist, began research into these unscrupulous practices ... [ Read More » ]

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Carrie Fisher: A Life on the Edge

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Carrie Fisher: A Life on the Edge

by Sheila Weller

Carrie Fisher: A Life on the Edge

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From her stage show and subsequent book Wishful Drinking, Carrie Fisher was known for her comic observations about the trials of being the offspring of flamboyant actress Debbie Reynolds and caddish crooner Eddie Fisher; about sealing her fate (for better or worse) and fortunes (for better) as brainy badass Princess Leia in 1977's Star Wars; and about coping with drug addiction and bipolar disorder. Given Fisher's openness about her life, any Carrie Fisher biographer would have a galactic ... [ Read More » ]

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Weeknight Baking: Recipes to Fit Your Schedule

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Weeknight Baking: Recipes to Fit Your Schedule

by Michelle Lopez

Weeknight Baking: Recipes to Fit Your Schedule

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Baking is Michelle Lopez's stress-reliever. In college, she whipped up cupcakes instead of studying. As a financial tech executive, Lopez spent evenings creating confections like Better-Than-Supernatural Fudge Brownies and Magic Dream Lemon Cream Tarts. She shared her concoctions with the readers of her blog, Hummingbird High, twice named by Saveur as a "Best Baking Blog" finalist.

In Weeknight Baking, Lopez shares time-saving secrets, suggested staples, substitutions and tested strategies for turning ... [ Read More » ]

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The Way to Eat Now: Modern Vegetarian Food

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The Way to Eat Now: Modern Vegetarian Food

by Alice Hart

The Way to Eat Now: Modern Vegetarian Food

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Beautiful food tastes better. As a food stylist and writer, Alice Hart presents a striking cookbook of beautiful food in The Way to Eat Now: Modern Vegetarian Food

Hart champions simplicity and, following that, flexibility. Her friendly introductions to each section offer more in the way of developing attitudes and tendencies than encouraging strict adherence to her recipes. But the recipes themselves do shine. Standout dishes include Squash Bao, Paneer Corn Cakes with Charred Chile Salsa, ... [ Read More » ]

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South: Essential Recipes and New Explorations

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South: Essential Recipes and New Explorations

by Sean Brock

South: Essential Recipes and New Explorations

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James Beard Award-winner Sean Brock's South: Essential Recipes and New Explorations is a follow-up to his critically acclaimed Heritage and continues his mission to help people "understand that Southern food should be considered among the most revered cuisines of the world... vibrant, diverse, seasonal and evolving." Brock shares favorite classic recipes and modern creations of food that is "both insanely good and nutritious."

What is more classic than that potluck staple, deviled eggs? Brock's get ... [ Read More » ]

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Skillet Love: From Steak to Cake: More than 150 Recipes in One Cast-Iron Pan

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Skillet Love: From Steak to Cake: More than 150 Recipes in One Cast-Iron Pan

by Anne Byrn

Skillet Love: From Steak to Cake: More than 150 Recipes in One Cast-Iron Pan

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Food writer Anne Byrn (American Cake) persuasively argues that the cast-iron skillet is "the only pan you'll ever need." Her irresistible collection of nearly 160 recipes that can be made in a 12-inch cast-iron skillet range from tasty appetizers, salads, snacks and sides to one-pot brunches, lunches, dinners and desserts. This versatile skillet sears, roasts, fries, bakes, braises and caramelizes. Flavorful main course recipes include Mexican lasagna, chicken pot pie, skillet-seared shrimp, pan-roasted ... [ Read More » ]

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Salt & Time: Recipes from a Russian Kitchen

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Salt & Time: Recipes from a Russian Kitchen

by Alissa Timoshkina

Salt & Time: Recipes from a Russian Kitchen

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In Salt & Time, Alissa Timoshkina writes with passion and nostalgia about the dishes of her home country of Russia, food "tinted with the stereotypes of the Cold War and obscured by the complexities of contemporary Russian politics."

Thoughtful introductions lead into each recipe, giving Timoshkina's updated versions of classic Russian dishes both historical and personal context. She describes her recipe for borscht as "taking a bit (okay, a lot) of creative license" and "iconoclastic." She offers ... [ Read More » ]

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Provence: The Cookbook: Recipes from the French Mediterranean

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Provence: The Cookbook: Recipes from the French Mediterranean

by Caroline Rimbert Craig, Susan Bell, photographer

Provence: The Cookbook: Recipes from the French Mediterranean

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In Provence, Caroline Rimbert Craig's first solo cookbook, she plumbs her own family history in the French Mediterranean, showcasing the food and flavors of Provençal cooking. Beyond offering a collection of recipes, Craig weaves together the history of Provence's landscape, kitchen staples and stories from her generations of family who have foraged, gardened and cooked there--all accompanied by charming photographs of food and the Provence countryside taken by Susan Bell.

She lays out the ... [ Read More » ]

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Milk Street: The New Rules: Recipes that Will Change the Way You Cook

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Milk Street: The New Rules: Recipes that Will Change the Way You Cook

by Christopher Kimball

Milk Street: The New Rules: Recipes that Will Change the Way You Cook

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With Milk Street: The New Rules: Recipes that Will Change the Way You Cook, Christopher Kimball (Tuesday Nights) ushers in a new normal: one in which home cooks stop pureeing their pesto; where they steam, rather than boil, their eggs; where they create creaminess with corn kernels; where they bloom their spices.

Kimball presents 75 such "rules," along with more than 200 creative recipes, applying them to delicious dishes from around the globe, like Brazilian Fish Stew, Oaxacan Refried Black Beans, ... [ Read More » ]

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Donal's Meals in Minutes: 90 Suppers from Scratch, 15 Minutes Prep

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Donal's Meals in Minutes: 90 Suppers from Scratch, 15 Minutes Prep

by Donal Skehan

Donal's Meals in Minutes: 90 Suppers from Scratch, 15 Minutes Prep

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Listing all the tasty dishes in Irish food writer and photographer Donal Skehan's Meals in Minutes might tempt readers to eat the cookbook itself.

Skehan simplifies delicious meals, building them around a small group of staple ingredients such as garlic, onions, Tabasco and honey. His methods encourage even those who proclaim they don't cook not only to enter the kitchen, but possibly craft their own original dishes. With just one pot, amateur chefs can make mouth-watering dishes like Thai Chicken ... [ Read More » ]

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Curry & Kimchi: Flavor Secrets for Creating 70 Asian-Inspired Recipes at Home

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Curry & Kimchi: Flavor Secrets for Creating 70 Asian-Inspired Recipes at Home

by Unmi Abkin, Roger Taylor

Curry & Kimchi: Flavor Secrets for Creating 70 Asian-Inspired Recipes at Home

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In Curry & Kimchi: Flavor Secrets for Creating 70 Asian-Inspired Recipes at Home, Unmi Abkin and Roger Taylor share recipes from their popular restaurant, Coco & the Cellar Bar, Easthampton, Mass., as well as from their home kitchen.

Many of the recipes are inspired by Abkin's Korean and Mexican-American heritage. However, the element that holds the cookbook together is not the flavors used but rather the authors' belief that great meals begin with great sauces. Instead of relegating sauce ... [ Read More » ]

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Christmas Feasts and Treats

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Christmas Feasts and Treats

by Donna Hay

Christmas Feasts and Treats

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Australian trusted home cook and international food-publishing marvel Donna Hay takes the fuss out of Christmas cooking, baking and entertaining.

This beautifully photographed and inviting collection pairs traditional recipes alongside others spun with modern styling techniques and time-saving tricks. The Feasts section includes step-by-step guides for inventively cooking all types of protein--turkey, pork, fish, lobster--quick-fix nibbles and sides, including dressed up veggies, savory tarts, crackers ... [ Read More » ]

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The Art of Escapism Cooking: A Survival Story, with Intensely Good Flavors

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The Art of Escapism Cooking: A Survival Story, with Intensely Good Flavors

by Mandy Lee

The Art of Escapism Cooking: A Survival Story, with Intensely Good Flavors

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"I'm not selling you a lifestyle; I'm telling you how I evaded one." Unenthused expat Mandy Lee started her "angry food blog" Lady and Pups after she began attacking her depression with attempts at from-scratch pasta. Loathing Beijing as much as she adored New York City, her previous home, Lee turned a tiny kitchen into a refuge and the act of cooking into the art of survival. In essays (and recipes) as hearty and salty as her Ramen Seasoning, Lee revisits the experiences that led her to master delicacies ... [ Read More » ]

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Alpine Cooking: Recipes and Stories from Europe's Grand Mountaintops

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Alpine Cooking: Recipes and Stories from Europe's Grand Mountaintops

by Meredith Erickson

Alpine Cooking: Recipes and Stories from Europe's Grand Mountaintops

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The Alps conjure images of craggy mountaintops, thrilling ski slopes and cozy chalets where one may enjoy a hot cup of cocoa or a snifter of brandy. It's high time delicious cuisine is added to the list.

In Alpine Cooking, Meredith Erickson skis her way through the Alps to highlight decadent yet comforting recipes from the mountaintops of Italy, Austria, Switzerland and France. While Erickson features popular and traditional dishes like schnitzel and fondue, dozens of recipes from family-run restaurants, ... [ Read More » ]

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