1. David Sterling, Yucatán: Recipes from a Culinary Expedition. This cookbook is “too good” to actually cook from, but as account of food from Yucatán, along with history, photos, and recipes, it has to count as one of the year’s most notable publications.
2. Sebastian Edwards, Toxic Aid: Economic Collapse and Recovery in Tanzania. He gives foreign aid to Tanzania an “F” for the 1961-1981 period, a “B minus” for 1981-1994, and a B+ for the latter part of that period. Edwards is a top international economist and this is one of the best thought out books on foreign aid.
3. Todd Kashdan and Robert Biswas-Diener, The Upside of Your Dark Side. Only some people should read this book.
4. Virginia Woolf, Flush: A Biography. This one doesn’t get huge amounts of play, but it’s actually an awesome book about…a dawg. Recommended, beautifully written and easy to read, Straussian too though you can read it straight up for fun as well.
5. Rabih Alameddine, An Unnecessary Woman. A charming tale for bibliophiles, centering around a Lebanese woman who translates one classic novel a year, but for herself only.