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The Reading Room Selects the Best Non-fiction Books for Holiday Gift-Giving

With the holiday season only a few months away, it’s time to start thinking about those “impossible to buy for” friends and family.  Books represent the perfect stocking stuffer and, this Christmas and Hanakkah, there are some great new reads to choose from.  To make your gift-giving easier, TheReadingRoom.com has revealed its favorite non-fiction books that should make wonderful gifts. Best of nonfiction Fall 2013 US In all likelihood  Malcolm Gladwell’s David and Goliath will be the biggest non-fiction title this season. All of his four previous books have been New York Times bestsellers. This time Gladwell turns his pen on the ‘mighty leverage of the unconventional’. Bill Bryson doesn’t need any introduction. We already know him as a sharp and humorous observer of places and people, an entertaining but knowledgeable enthusiast of science and literature, and a wickedly funny self-deprecating biographer. In his new venture, One Summer, he looks at the summer of 1927, the time of ‘outsized heroes’ and villains, baseball and famous flights. This is a great read for all those who enjoy armchair travel, history and social history. If you enjoy reading narrative American history, another title not to be missed is The Men who United the States, by bestselling author Simon Winchester. Winchester is the kind of writer who can turn the most boring subject into a fascinating read – so imagine what happens when the subject is already fascinating! The memoir An Appetite for Wonder by Richard Dawkins is for all those looking for a book to impress as a gift. In the words of The New York Times, award-winning science writer Dawkins’s books “make the reader feel like a genius”. In this new title he shares the story of how he learned to think, to ask questions, and to forge great ideas. If you are a foodie who loves great narrative non-fiction, I suggest Mastering the Art of Soviet Cooking by Anya von Brenzen in which, the publisher tells us, ‘A James Beard Award-winning writer captures life under the Red socialist banner in this wildly inventive, tragicomic memoir of feasts, famines, and three generations’. Brenzen’s unique brand of humor is combined with some interesting stories of Stalin’s table manners, Khrushchev’s kitchen debates and Gorbachev’s disastrous anti-alcohol policies, guaranteeing hours of entertainment. best bookbooks fall 2013 us Cookbooks make wonderful Christmas gifts, and since there are a few great cookbooks on the way over the next few months we decided to single out this category and suggest 5 fantastic titles that are already making our mouths water. One Good Dish: The Pleasures of a Simple Meal by David Tanis –  David Tanis cookbooks are not only magnificent in the simplicity of the design, they are also fantastic in the simplicity of the food. This famous Chez Panisse chef is often referred to as a man of enormous talent who cooks at a small table. We could not think of a more apt description. Jamie Oliver’s Food Escapes: Over 100 Recipes from the Great Food Regions of the World by Jamie Oliver – No introduction or description needed for this one: it’s another blockbuster from the man who is currently the world’s bestselling cookbook author. Ottolenghi: The Cookbook by Yotam Ottolenghi and Sami Tamimi – Yotam and Sami have been cooking together for dome time but it is only in the last four years that they have become household names in North America. Ottolenghi: The Cookbook was their first title – and there have been two since – but it is every bit as innovative and fresh as the newer volumes. The Heart of the Plate by Mollie Katzen – MAny of us have been cooking with  Katzen’s Moosewood cookbooks for years.  If you want to impress those who normally don’t favor vegetarian dishes, this new cookbook should be on your list as Katzen continues to bring vegetarian cuisine into the mainstream. You really can’t go wrong with an Italian cookboook, especially when it’s written by two people who have years of experience in Italian cuisine and pasta, in particular. Sauces and Shapes: Pasta the Italian Way by Oretta Zaninin de Vita and Maureen B. Fant is the “indispensable cookbook for genuine Italian sauces and the traditional pasta shapes that go with them’. Full of straightforward recipes, easy enough for the inexperienced cook.