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Harvest: Unexpected Projects Using 47 Extraordinary Garden Plants

Stefani Bittner and Alethea Harampolis (Ten Speed)

Bittner and Harampolis, owners of the San Francisco landscape design firm Homestead Design Collective, put common plants to full use while showing readers how to increase the bounty of their harvest with this eclectic collection of easily executed projects including salves, dyes, and teas. Their book contains all the information of a garden reference book, yet looks worthy of a spot on the coffee table.

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The Hungry Brain: Outsmarting the Instincts That Make Us Overeat

Stephan Guyenet (Flatiron)

Guyenet, a health writer and obesity researcher, approaches health and weight management not through diet or fitness specifics, but by understanding and combating the urge to overeat. Guyenet wields his degrees in biochemistry and neuroscience while guiding readers through a wilderness of raw data; he explains how the brain works, discusses important research, and develops strategies from this information. His important new perspective on weight loss both informs and inspires.

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King Solomon’s Table: A Culinary Exploration of Jewish Cooking from Around the World

Joan Nathan (Knopf)

James Beard Award–winner Nathan explores the evolution of Jewish cuisine, beginning with King Solomon. The recipes are enticing, and the culinary history is meticulously researched and beautifully conveyed. This is quite possibly Nathan’s best book to date.

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Salt, Fat, Acid, Heat: Mastering the Elements of Good Cooking

Samin Nosrat (Simon & Schuster)

Nosrat, who got her start in the kitchen of Alice Waters, burst onto the cookbook scene this year with this exceptional one, her first. She conveys the essential elements of cooking with tempting recipes, accompanied by fun and helpful illustrations and charts by Wendy MacNaughton.

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WD~50: The Cookbook

Wylie Dufresne, with Peter Meehan (Ecco)

Dufresne opened his landmark restaurant, Wd-50, on New York City’s Lower East Side in 2003, and in this outstanding, wonderfully photographed cookbook he shares his genius methods. Sure, many of the recipes may be inaccessible to novice home cooks, but the cookbook inspires and offers a great opportunity to fantasize.

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Why We Sleep: Unlocking the Power of Sleep and Dreams

Matthew Walker (Simon & Schuster)

This unique health treatise begins with the reminder that, until very recently, the process of sleep was profoundly mysterious. Neuroscientist and first-time author Walker conveys up-to-date findings in an accessible conversational style, enlivened by anecdotes—a concert pianist who can “just play” even the most demanding piece after a good night’s sleep—and facts—such as that lack of sleep can literally kill.

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