Mark Bittman


The author of How to Cook Everything  and Food Matters recommends some literary nourishment.


Although his popular and influential New York Times column on cooking and food is called "The Minimalist," Mark Bittman's influence on American diets is anything but small.  His compendium of recipes and principles How to Cook Everything has become a generation's kitchen bible; more recently, in Food Matters, he offered a masterful guide to applying 21st-century awareness of nutrition and ecological concerns to our everyday eating.  We asked him to recommend three books that feed the mind and soul.


Books by Mark Bittman





New Grub Street

By George Gissing


"The definitive novel about the world of freelance writing. Scary, horrifying even, and yet not entirely bleak. Written 150 years ago, and yet the world it describes hasn't changed much. If I'd read this in 1970 I'd probably have become a doctor, as my mother wanted me to."









The Fire Engine that Disappeared

By Maj Sjowall and Per Wahloo


"My favorite police procedural ever, this is the highlight (maybe) of the brilliant ten-part series written by a Swedish husband-and-wife team in the 70s. As with all the books, it's filled with cleverly drawn, sympathetic, and often hilarious characters and a biting critique of Sweden's crumbling malfunctioning so-called welfare state. But unlike the others, there are two parallel mysteries here, and both are fun."








Journey of the Heart

By John Welwood


"A novel exploration of love and what it means. Maybe revolutionary, but at least different."


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.