Do you remember the first book that really grabbed you?
Maybe it was Alice’s journey down the rabbit hole. Or the heartwarming tale of a spider named Charlotte and a pig named Wilbur. Or the one about how Harry’s life changes when his Hogwarts acceptance letter arrives. Or the haunting true story laid out in Anne Frank’s diary.
Fiction or nonfiction, books let us escape for a little while. In honor of National Book Lovers Day (celebrated every year on August 9), here’s a roundup of some of the latest and greatest reads in health, food, and wellness.
Cookbooks and books about food
“Dandelion and Quince: Exploring the Wide World of Unusual Vegetables, Fruits, and Herbs” by Michelle McKenzie
McKenzie makes every trip to the farmers market an adventure, inspiring a sense of curiosity and discovery—mustard greens and tomatillos have never seemed so exciting. This cookbook profiles 35 uncommon plants like sunchokes, nettles, and favas, and offers home cooks 150 recipes and new ways to use them.
“Ingredienti: Marcella’s Guide to the Market” by Marcella Hazan and Victor Hazan
Hazan—known as the godmother of Italian cooking—wrote “The Classic Italian Cookbook” in 1973 and introduced a whole generation of Americans to traditional fare from the Emilia Romagna region. Her commitment to simple, elegant recipes and local, seasonal ingredients set her apart. After Hazan’s death in 2013, her husband Victor found her handwritten notebooks with instructions on how to shop for the best produce, meat, pasta, and cheese and compiled them to share with the world.
“The Nordic Kitchen: One Year of Family Cooking” by Claus Meyer
Noma, the Copenhagen restaurant that nabbed the top spot on the Diner’s Academy World’s Best Restaurants list in 2010, 2011, 2012, and 2014, is a pretty well-known among foodies across the globe. Now, those who haven’t managed to make it to Denmark (or score a reservation) can enjoy a taste of Noma at home, with co-founder Chef Meyer’s latest book. Inside you’ll find seasonal Scandinavian recipes that are as accessible as they are flavorful.
“Canning for a New Generation: Updated and Expanded Edition: Bold, Fresh Flavors for the Modern Pantry” by Liana Krissoff
This book might be the ultimate resource on canning. In 250 recipes, Krissoff outlines how to preserve each season’s bounty—everything from pickled asparagus to strawberry jam to brandied cherries. The author’s approachable tone and useful instructions are perfect for novice canners.
“The Vegetable Butcher: How to Select, Prep, Slice, Dice, and Masterfully Cook Vegetables from Artichokes to Zucchini” by Cara Mangini
If you’ve ever felt baffled by a whole pineapple or spaghetti squash, this book is for you. Self-proclaimed “vegetable butcher” Mangini explains how to break down all different varieties of veggies with step-by-step instructions—and then shows you how to prepare them in 150 original recipes both vegetarians and carnivores will love.
“Home Cooked: Essential Recipes for a New Way to Cook” by Anya Fernald with Jessica Battilana
Fernald’s food philosophy might well be described as simple but meticulous. It’s the concept behind Belcampo Meat Co., her company that farms, processes, butchers, and sells organic and grass-fed meat. By closely overseeing the entire supply chain, Fernald has figured out how to produce the highest quality meat. Now, she’s sharing her favorite recipes in a new book. Inspired by old-fashioned home cooking, the tome includes tips for canning and preserving, making stock out of leftover bones, and even salt-curing fish.
“Around the Fire: Recipes for Inspired Grilling and Seasonal Feasting From Ox Restaurant” by Greg Denton, Gabrielle Quiñónez Denton, and Stacy Adimando
Summer’s not yet over, and grill masters still have a chance to try out one of the thrilling recipes from “Around the Fire.” The book—written by the two chef-owners of the Portland, Ore. restaurant Ox—is all about cooking with fire and serves as the perfect guide to hosting an outdoor feast. Denton and his co-authors go way beyond burgers and ribs, covering new takes on sides, salads, and desserts to complement grilled proteins.
“Real Food/Fake Food: Why You Don’t Know What You’re Eating and What You Can Do About It” by Larry Olmsted
Counterfeiting is a real problem—and not just in terms of crisp $100 bills. Faux foods are everywhere you look: in shakers of grated parmesan cheese diluted with wood pulp, in extra virgin olive oil watered down with vegetable oil and food dye, in so-called Kobe beef that never even entered Japan. In his latest book, Olmsted, an award-winning journalist, reveals how the food industry dupes us over and over again; then he teaches us how to seek out the real deal.
Books about health and wellness
“The Sleep Revolution: Transforming Your Life, One Night at a Time” by Arianna Huffington
Arianna Huffington might seem like someone who’s too busy to sleep—after all, she somehow found the time to co-found the Huffington Post, write several books, and still keep up her (very) active social life. But that lifestyle is exactly the thing that illuminated the importance of rest for Huffington. Her latest book, “The Sleep Revolution,” lays out the scientific reasons we need sleep—and offers readers advice on how to prioritize it. Hey, if she can do it, so can you.
“Effortless Healing: 9 Simple Ways to Sidestep Illness, Shed Excess Weight, and Help Your Body Fix Itself ” by Dr. Joseph Mercola
Health buffs may know board-certified family physician and natural health and natural medicine advocate Dr. Mercola from his popular website Mercola.com. His latest book, which comes out in paperback this September, outlines nine small changes that have the power to totally transform your health and change your life. Reading it is almost like having the chance to pick his brain and learn more about nutrition, inflammation, and exercise.
“The Human Superorganism: How the Microbiome Is Revolutionizing the Pursuit of a Healthy Life” by Rodney Dietert, PhD
Here’s the truth: The human body is teeming with microorganisms. Not necessarily the kind that make us sick, either—researchers now believe that each of us carries 3 to 5 pounds of foreign microbes in our bodies, and they might be the key to understanding disease. Dietert, one of the leading researchers in the field, unpacks the concept of the human microbiome in his new book. It’s a totally new way of looking at human biology, and one that experts believe could shift traditional medical thinking.
“Radical Beauty: How to Transform Yourself From the Inside Out” by Deepak Chopra and Kimberly Snyder
It’s what’s inside that counts. At least that’s the idea behind the latest book from alternative medicine expert Chopra. In “Radical Beauty,” he enlists the help of nutritionist Snyder to explain how transforming your health can have major, positive impacts on how you look and feel on the outside, too. The book includes everything from dietary tips and healthy recipes to DIY beauty treatments to teachings from Ayurvedic medicine.
“Spartan Fit! 30 Days. Transform Your Mind. Transform Your Body. Commit to Grit.” by Joe De Sena and John Durant
The spectrum of foot races probably looks something like this: 5K, 10K, half marathon, marathon. Then there are Spartan races. Designed by De Sena, an ultramarathon runner, these rigorous courses are in a class all their own. Each involves 20 or more different obstacles and requires a completely different type of training to conquer, which is where this manual comes in. “Spartan Fit!” includes advice on both diet and fitness, and is all about improving strength, endurance, flexibility, and agility in just 30 days—without weights or any special equipment.
Stiles, a professional model, first started practicing yoga while dancing ballet, then put her own twist on it—and Strala yoga was born. The practice is all about long, fluid movements and customizing the poses to work best for your body. With Stiles’ new book, you can try it out at home, and even includes seven-day and 30-day programs to help you get started.
“Run Fast. Eat Slow.: Nourishing Recipes for Athletes” by Shalane Flanagan and Elyse Kopecky
“Run Fast. Eat Slow” is more than just a cookbook. Co-authored by a former Olympic long-distance runner and a world-class chef, this book combines tasty recipes with functional eating ideas. It’s far from typical “diet food,” too—every recipe is as satisfying as it is nutritious. See ya never, calorie counting.
Memoirs and tell-alls
“32 Yolks: From My Mother’s Table to Working the Line” by Eric Ripert
Celebrity chef Ripert is almost as famous for his calm, friendly demeanor as he is for appearing on “Top Chef.” He makes it all look easy, but as he reveals in a new memoir, his life hasn’t always been as idyllic as it seems. Dealing with his parents’ divorce, followed by loss of his father, Ripert turned to cooking for solace during his childhood in the south of France. “32 Yolks” tells his poignant coming-of-age story—inside and outside of the kitchen—and reveals how one of of the greatest chefs of our time became so successful.
“Balancing in Heels: My Journey to Health, Happiness, and Making It All Work” by Kristin Cavallari
Fans of “Laguna Beach” and “The Hills” remember Cavallari well—the teenager who feuded with L.C. and later partied at the Hollywood club Les Deux in the mid-’00s is all grown up. “Balancing in Heels” offers a peek into Cavallari’s life today, as an entrepreneur and mother of three (with husband Jay Cutler, quarterback of the Chicago Bears)—and packs in everything from her favorite recipes to workout routines to thoughts on personal growth.
“Living With Intent: My Somewhat Messy Journey to Purpose, Peace, and Joy” by Mallika Chopra
You might think that the daughter of renowned alternative medicine expert Deepak Chopra doesn’t get stressed, overwhelmed, or anxious. After all, she’s been meditating since age 9. But in her recent book, Chopra reveals she struggles with finding time to relax while finishing her to-do list just like the rest of us. In “Living With Intent,” she shares wisdom about how she deals with pressure and centers herself.
“Patient H.M.: A Story of Madness, Memory, and Family Secrets” by Luke Dittrich
In a book that’s part psychological thriller, part scientific journalism, Dittrich tells the true story of Patient H.M., who was born Henry Molaison and suffered from severe epilepsy. In 1953, the author’s grandfather performed a procedure on Molaison that was once common—a lobotomy. It failed to cure Molaison’s seizures, but left him with an unshakeable type of amnesia instead. Because he was unable to form memories, Molaison was studied extensively by neurosurgeons over the rest of his life. Today, much of what we know of neuroscience can be traced back to Patient H.M.
Illustration by Foley Wu