Staff Picks - 2010 December

Staff Picks December 2010
The December 2010 Staff Picks can also be viewed or printed as a PDF
Staff Picks December 2010 (1MB)
Karen M. Frank
The Classical Tradition by Anthony Grafton. A beautiful, comprehensive volume that calls out to be browsed and cherished.
Madame Bovary by Gustave Flaubert, new translation by Lydia Davis . I do not need it, but I want to own this new translation (really just an excuse).
The Country Cooking Of Ireland by Colman Andrews. As much for the history and the marvelous photography as for the recipes.

Stan Hynds
At Home with Madhur Jaffrey: Simple, Delectable Dishes from India, Pakistan, Bangladesh, and Sri Lanka by Madhur Jaffrey. I don't need any more cookbooks, but that doesn't mean I don't continue to want them. Without a good Indian cookbook on the shelf (and I love Indian cuisine), Madhur Jaffrey's would be perfect.
Nancy Scheemaker
The Amazing Monarch: The Secret Wintering Grounds of an Endangered Butterfly by Windle Turley. Looking through this wondrous photo essay, I was reminded of how awesome this little creature truly is. Looking at butterflies has always made me feel like a curious child, and who wouldn't enjoy being a kid again, even for a few hours?
Atlas of the Transatlantic Slave Trade by David Eltis and David Richardson. One can hardly begin to understand the unfolding history of humanity without understanding the cruel "story of greed" that shaped the developing world - the 350 year trans-Atlantic slave trade. This volume is receiving the highest praise as a definitive and essential text on the subject.
The Collected Stories of Lydia Davis What would I do in my busy life without short stories? I just know this smart little volume is loaded with many hours of sharp, surprising, delightful reading. I just know it!

Jon Fine
40: A Doonesbury Retrospective by G.B. Trudeau. As a teen, I began collecting (much smaller) Doonesbury comic strip anthologies. Trudeau's politically and culturally tinged humor is timeless and unique, brilliant, a little warped and, well, more often than not, flat out hysterical.
Charles Bottomley
The Flavor Thesaurus: A Compendium of Pairings, Recipes, and Ideas for the Creative Cook by Niki Segnit. The title drew me in, the contents blew my mind. An informative, essential, deeply personal take on flavor pairings. Did you know garlic and onion are known as "devil's dung" among Chinese Buddhists?
The War of the End of the World by Mario Vargas Llosa. Some books you need to own more than once. Vargas Llosa's epic tale of a holy war between fanatics and Brazilian overlords is as timely now as it was in 1981. Can't wait to be rocked again!
The Complete Stories of J.G. Ballard. The late Ballard was always five minutes ahead of reality. His tales are a wonderful introduction to a surreal, even sexy, mind that imagined our present into being.
Cheryl Cornwell
China: Through the Lens of John Thomson 1868- 1872 by Betty Yao. This is an amazing collection of rare photographs taken during the Qing reign, China's last dynasty. Thomson captured an array of people and experiences in stunning photographs.

Krysta Piccoli
The Tulip Anthology by Ron Van Dongen. This book shows why it's no wonder the Dutch economy tanked for these flowers. As a tulip lover, I really, really need this book.
What I Eat: Around the World in 80 Diets by Faith D'aluisio. The differences in food culture around the world have always fascinated me. After reading and loving What the World Eats I have flipped through this one a few times. A beautiful and startling book.
Some We Love, Some We Hate, Some We Eat: Why It's So Hard to Think Straight about Animals by Hal Herzog. People have the wackiest relationships with animals! A fun read that will really get you thinking about why we feel the way we do about them.
Louise Jones
Colonel Roosevelt by Edmund Morris. I'm a fan of Morris' The Rise of Theodore Roosevelt and Theodore Rex. This splendid, insightful book completes the trilogy — TR's last ten years traveling, writing, politicking. I can't wait to dive in.
Seeing Further: The Story of Science, Discovery, & the Genius of the Royal Society edited by Bill Bryson. This looks like the perfect companion to The Age of Wonder by Richard Holmes, one of my favorite books of 2009.
Mediterranean Clay Pot Cooking: Traditional and Modern Recipes to Savor and Share by Paula Wolfert. I love the food of the lands bordering the Mediterranean, and I love Wolfert's recipes. Now all I need is a nice clay pot.

Alden Graves
Requiem for Steam: The Railroad Photographs of David Plowden. A magnificent collection of photographs that both recall and pay a deserved homage to the age of steam trains in North America, the iron leviathans that helped to build and sustain both a nation and a way of life.
Sarah Knight
Drives of A Lifetime: 500 of the World's Most Spectacular Trips. I love travel books and this one from National Geographic is terrific. For those who like to travel and those who like to dream of travel, it includes far away places like Taiwan's Taroko Gorge and a closer trip from Montreal to the Revolutionary Roads of Massachusetts. Each trip teases with a photo, a map and just enough information to entice the reader to get in the car and take off.

Bill Lewis
Atlas of the Civil War by Neil Kagan and Stephen G. Hyslop. 34 vivid new maps, over 85 rare historical maps, 320 photographs and much more. Accurate and impressive as either a stand-alone read or (more likely) the perfect companion guide to other Civil War works.
The New York Times: The Complete Front Pages, 1851-2009 . Facsimile reproductions of 300 front pages for especially important dates plus 3 dvd-roms that contain every front page from 1851 onward (fully indexed) and links to every front page article story in full.