The shapely pleasures of a favorite food.


On the Noodle Road

By Jen Lin-Liu

As Jen Lin-Liu feasted on tagliatelle, spaghetti, and linguini on her honeymoon in Italy, she started to consider the origins of the noodle -- and found herself traveling east, tracing the Silk Road to China, where the ubiquitous starch was born. From dumplings in Beijing all the way to tortellini, Lin-Liu's chronicle of the global as well as personal history of pasta is a fascinating look into the enduring bonds between family, food, and tradition.



The Geometry of Pasta

By Caz Hildebrand and Jacob Kenedy


A visually stunning celebration of the history and culture surrounding 100 distinct shapes of Italian pasta, with recipes for the perfect sauce to accompany each. The authors examine the structural peculiarities that make various pastas unique -- the spirals of fusilli that hold a ragu so well, the tensile strength of linguine, which makes it perfect for twirling. You'll never look at a plate of macaroni the same way again after reading this ingeniously designed black-and-white marvel.



The Encyclopedia of Pasta

By Oretta Zanini De Vita (translated by Maureen B. Fant)


The chronology, geography, and family lore of pasta is collected here by an Italian food authority whose research into the many forms that the blessed foodstuff takes -- from agnolotti and alfabeto to farfalle and fazzoletti; garganelli and gemelli to vermicellini and ziti -- combines storytelling, scholarship, and mouthwatering recipes. It's a delicious compendium that will have you impressing dinner guests with your knowledge and craft.



Essentials of Classic Italian Cooking

By Marcella Hazan

Essentials is the indispensable collection of Italian cuisine authority Marcella Hazan's recipes, presented not "in pursuit of novelty, but of taste." Covering all culinary bases, from authentic risotto to fresh spaghetti, Hazan offers abiding lessons in crafting the perfect Italian meal,  plus an innovative jewel: choosing the perfect pasta-and-sauce pairings.




By Bill Buford


An accomplished writer and editor puts down his pen and picks up a knife in the kitchen at Mario Batali's acclaimed NYC restaurant Babbo. After that first trial by fire, Buford travels to Italy to study the art of pasta-making under the old masters. Funny, fascinating, and -- of course -- elegantly composed, his adventures in the world of fine dining are a delight to savor.



April 19: "What you see first, after the starting gun's crack, is a column of bobbing runners, thousands of them, surging downhill..."

Donna Tartt's The Goldfinch is the winner of the 2014 Pulitzer Prize for Fiction. James Parker calls this Dickensian coming-of-age novel "an enveloping…

Books, CDs, DVDs to know about now
Poems That Make Grown Men Cry

And women too.  Luminaries from Colin Firth to Nick Cave and Jonathan Franzen chose the poems that bring them to tears, and the result is a stunning collection of poignant verse from writers like Auden, Whitman, Bishop, Larkin, Neruda and many others.  Warning: choking-up hazard.

The King of Pain

Trapped beneath his entertainment system, reality TV mastermind Rick Salter reflects on his life and tries to piece together the events of the previous evening. Seth Kaufman’s romp is an outrageous meditation on pain and entertainment in a deranged world in which the two are often interchangeable.

The Good Inn

Frank Black, frontman for the Pixies, has written a transgressive historical fiction with shades of Thomas Pynchon (focused as it is on the history of explosives and cinematic pornography), all set in a hallucinatory Edwardian Europe.