The Pleasure Is All Mine

You can lick your fingers. As I said, it's a messy meal. Just refrain from loud sucking noises. And as for drinking wine with your bird, hold the glass by the stem, as you should. Thank you. No, thank you, Suzanne Pirret, for reminding us that eating alone need not resemble a date with a carton of ice cream and a spoon or -- worse still -- doling out sections of a store-bought rotisserie chicken five nights in a row. Instead this graduate of the Cordon Blue School, having tempered her knowledge in the heat of professional kitchens on both sides of the Atlantic, offers a manual on "cooking for yourself, decadently." A multitude of excellent recipes to prepare and eat solo follows, each with an appropriate drink pairing and handy kitchen tips that could only come from classical training, such as turning an egg through a sieve to "leave the yuck part of the albumen behind." Starting with a rich steak au poivre with frites (a meal Pirret notes would be her last, if she happened to wind up on death row), Pirret progresses through easy, fresh reinventions of a variety of dishes to end with a simple, decadent bread and chocolate: a thin slice of bread, a slab of chocolate, olive oil, cocoa and a little fleur de sel. ("Eat with a knife and fork," she advises. My pleasure.) The fact that it's liberally sprinkled with amusing anecdotes on everything food-related, from making reservations in NYC (fuggedaboutit) vs. LA (easy, no one eats!) to proper table etiquette (related in truly uproarious fashion complete with, shall we say, salty language), makes it all the more delicious.

April 24: "[The HST] lifted a curtain from our view of the universe, changing it so profoundly that no human can look at the stars in the same way..."

Kenneth Calhoun (Black Moon) and Lysley Tenorio (Monstress) of the Discover Great New Writers program on B-movies, heritage, and finales.

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Books, CDs, DVDs to know about now
In the Light of What We Know

Zia Haider Rahman's mystery of a brilliant Bangladeshi mathematician's past barrels through the Ivy League, London high finance, and spy-haunted Afghanistan in a page-turning tale of exile, intrigue and the price of friendship. A Discover Great New Writers selection.

The People's Platform

Once touted as the foundation for tomorrow's digital democracy, the Internet is increasingly ruled by a few corporate giants, while millions of contributors till its fields for free. Astra Taylor looks at why the web has failed to deliver a communitarian cyberscape, and offers a compelling case for restoring its original vision.

A Private Venus

Dubbed "the Italian Simenon," Giorgio Scerbanenco (1911-1969) began his crime-writing career with books set in the USA, but quickly shifted scene closer to home, the city of Milan.  In this adventure, appearing in English for the first time, his underdog hero Dr. Duca Lamberti finds himself in the middle of a seedy, scantily clad criminal racket, where the presence of an outsider could result in death.