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.



July 25: On this day in 1834 Samuel Taylor Coleridge died of heart disease at the age of sixty-one.

Crime fiction legends Dennis Lehane and Michael Connelly discuss the new book that unites their beloved sleuths Patrick Kenzie and Harry Bosch.

Books, CDs, DVDs to know about now
Paradise and Elsewhere

Canadian short story marvel Kathy Page emerges as the Alice Munro of the supernatural from these heartfelt tales of shapeshifting swimmers, mild-mannered cannibals, and personality-shifting viruses transmitted through kisses.


When a persuasive pastor arrives in a sleepy farm town, his sage influence has otherworldly results (talking sheep, a mayor who walks on water). But can he pull off the miracle of finding kindly local Liz Denny the love of her life?  Small wonder looms large in this charmer from Andre Alexis.

The Hundred-Year House

When a poetry scholar goes digging through the decrepit estate of his wife's family to uncover a bygone arts colony's strange mysteries, he awakens a tenacious monster: his mother-in-law. A wickedly funny take on aging aristocracies from author Rebecca Makkai (The Borrower).