Daniel Vaughn

Daniel Vaughn's The Prophets of Smoked Meat is a new and insightfully exhaustive study of Texas barbecue's mouthwatering history: its cultural significance, its unique and varied approaches, and its delicious end results. In celebration of fine dining outdoors in the heat of summer, Vaughn this week shares his recommendations for great books offering the ABC's of BBQ: poetic and visually thrilling journeys toward culinary nirvana certain to leave you hungry for more.


Smokestack Lightning: Adventures in the Heart of Barbecue Country
By Lolis Eric Elie, with photographs by Frank Stewart


"This book defines the barbecue road trip that is now commonplace across Texas but was more of a rarity when these two friends set out in 1994. They wanted to cross the country and find how the barbecue styles change. They found plenty of good and plenty of bad, but just as riveting are their stories of the people and of unexpected discoveries. Elie's real wisdom is shown in his pronouncement 'In the end, it was made deliciously clear that, whether your taste is for barbacoa, brisket, or ribs, you'll find no better quality and variety than that in Texas.' "


Legends of Texas Barbecue Cookbook: Recipes and Recollections from the Pit Bosses
By Robb Walsh


"Labeling this as a simple cookbook doesn't begin to cover the ground of this pioneering book. It provided a simplistic definition of the four unique styles of Texas barbecue and did much to cover its history along with highlighting the present-day pit masters. I refer to it regularly.


Texas BBQ: Photographs
By Wyatt McSpadden


"This collection of photographs is stunning, and that Texas barbecue is the subject of every one of them is just gravy. This book is the go-to source for photographers seeking inspiration. The essays included, from John Morthland to Jim Harrison, are thought-provoking additions to the incredible photos."


July 23: Jessica Mitford died on this day in 1996.

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
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).

Watching Them Be

What makes a film actor into a larger-than-life movie star? James Harvey's passionate, freewheeling essays explain why there are some faces (from Greta Garbo's to Samuel L. Jackson's) from which we cannot look away.


What if you called up the spouse on the verge of leaving you -- and instead found yourself magically talking to his younger self, the one you first fell for?  Rainbow Rowell, author of the YA smash Eleanor & Park, delivers a sly, enchanting take on 21st-century love.