Queer Eye’s food and wine guru Antoni Porowski leaves the screen and enters our kitchens with his cookbook Antoni in the Kitchen (Rux Martin/Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, $30). If you haven’t decided on a holiday gift, look no further—this cookbook can be enjoyed and used by a novice, as well as by more experienced home cooks. From easy and fast-to-make appetizers, snacks, and sides to the more elaborate pasta and rice, weeknight, and meat dishes he covers all the bases and makes sure you don’t feel overwhelmed. His guiding principle is that with just a couple of ingredients and a bit of effort, you can have Chicken Milanese, Champagne Lemon Risotto, or even French omelettes for your home brunch extravaganza. The same enthusiasm for food that comes through from Antoni’s appearance on the show is fully evident here, too, and trying out the recipes—whether you are cooking for yourself or preparing for a party—will bring you joy.
Letters from an Astrophysicist (W.W. Norton, $19.95,) by Neil deGrasse Tyson, is exactly what the title says it is: a collection of correspondence, via letters, emails, and social media posts, between the director of the Rose Center’s Hayden Planetarium and members of the general public. As you would expect, a lot of those missives contain science-related questions—including Tyson’s role in demoting Pluto—but many also concern hope, fear, religion, and even parenting. As Tyson notes, “there’s a longing we’ve all experienced at one time or another: the search for meaning in our lives; an evergreen urge to understand one’s place in this world and in this universe.” Addressing matters both philosophical and astronomical, his responses are relatable, thoughtful, and funny; reading them, you will be amused and charmed—and you will most definitely learn something new.
The wonderfully prolific Bill Bryson has taken us on trips around Europe and across America; he’s sent us Notes from a Small Island and showed us what life is like Down Under. But this time out, he launches us on a different kind of adventure—taking us on a journey within ourselves. As charming and funny as ever, in his new book, The Body (Doubleday, $30), the inimitable Bryson explores, head to toe, what we’re made of, examining certain body parts, explaining their purpose, and showing us how it all works. Can you believe that just six elements—carbon, oxygen, hydrogen, nitrogen, calcium, and phosphorus—comprise 99.1 percent of us? And these can be easily found and purchased, so that if you want to build your own Benedict Cumberbatch, it will cost you around $150,000. But here’s the thing: you won’t be able to do it (massive shame, I know!) because even though we are all made of the same basic elements that can be found in a pile of dirt, we are all beautifully unique and special. This book will educate, entertain, caution, and delight you.