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The Master Switch: The Rise and Fall of Information Empires
Tim Wu (Knopf)
Wu dazzles in his history-cum-manifesto as he reveals how fiercely corporate empires have vied to control communication and information technology-and why we must keep the Internet free and open.

Religion

Tattoos on the Heart: The Power of Boundless Compassion
Gregory Boyle (Free Press)
In this surprisingly jubilant and spiritually acute memoir, Boyle writes about difficult social and spiritual work on the streets of Los Angeles that has changed, and saved, the lives of gang members.

Nine Lives: In Search of the Sacred in Modern India
William Dalrymple (Knopf)
Through keen observation and adroit focus, Dalrymple conveys the contradictions of modern India, where deeply rooted and diverse religious practice is of a piece with modern economic life.

Fishers of Men: The Gospel of an Ayahuasca Vision Quest
Adam Elenbaas (Penguin/Tarcher)
Elenbaas writes with bravery, candor, and humility about mistakes, redemption, and growing up, sounding familiar and universal themes of families and striving and shortsightedness woven into a narrative about an exotic and unfamiliar quest.

The Tenth Parallel: Dispatches from the Fault Line Between Christianity and Islam
Eliza Griswold (Farrar, Straus, and Giroux)
Griswold's on-the-ground reporting ranges from Africa to Asia as she offers poetic and closely observed portraits of people who coexist in varied ways in the geographic area of the world where Christianity and Islam make headlines when they collide.

Hannah's Child
Stanley Hauerwas (Eerdmans)
The provocative theologian casts a characteristically thoughtful look back in an uncharacteristically self-revelatory way in a memoir that fulfills his mother's powerfully formative intention for her child to do service to God.

Christianity: The First Three Thousand Years
Diarmaid McCulloch (Viking)
Historian McCulloch's ambitious book covers the historic length and geographical and theological breadth of the multiple-millennia-old Christian waterfront in an elegantly written way.

American Grace: How Religion Divides and Unites Us
Robert D. Putnam and David E. Campbell (Simon & Schuster)
In a sweeping analysis, Harvard political scientist Putnam and his colleague Campbell measure America's religious landscape. Among their findings: America is a religiously diverse and-contra the currently popular perception-religiously tolerant nation.

Bread of Angels: A Journey to Love and Faith
Stephanie Saldaña (Doubleday)
This gorgeously memoir set in Damascus combines political tension, passion, and spiritual seeking, a timeless blend that offers spiritual sustenance.

Hillel: If Not Now, When?
Joseph Telushkin (Nextbook-Schocken)
The multitalented Telushkin is the right author to convey the wisdom of the man who could distill the ethical wisdom of the Torah in a single maxim.

Made for Goodness: And Why This Makes All the Difference
Desmond M. Tutu and Mpho A. Tutu (HarperOne)
The South African religious leader retired from public life this year, and this book, written with his daughter, is a lovely swan song in a life of faith that has prevailed in the face of the enormity of evil, faith learned as a child and strengthened through love, sacrifice, and failure.

Lifestyle

Food Matters Cookbook: Lose Weight and Heal the Planet with More than 500 Recipes
Mark Bittman (Simon & Schuster)
New York Times columnist Bittman provides a rational approach to eating that not only improves health but helps the environment as well.

The Frankies Spuntino Kitchen Companion & Cooking Manual
Frank Falcinelli, Frank Castronovo, Peter Meehan (Artisan)
It is surprising to learn that Castronovo and Falcinelli, as they are pulling off a 20-something hipster vibe these days, are also lighting up Brooklyn with their restaurants. They have created a tribute to red sauce dining, bound in an embossed, gilded, faux-leather cover.


Around My French Table
Dorie Greenspan (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt)
This inviting French cookbook, written from an American in Paris perspective, has all the classics plus unusual dishes, inspired by Vietnam and other cultures.

One Big Table: 800 Recipes from the Nation's Best Home Cooks, Farmers, Pit-Masters and Chefs
Molly O'Neil (Simon & Schuster)
O'Neill, former New York Times Magazine food writer and author, has compiled an informative and touching refutation of the demise of American home cooking.

Origins: How the Nine Months Before Birth Shape the Rest of Our Lives
Annie Murphy Paul (Free Press)
Science writer Paul segues between ponderings about her own second pregnancy and the developing literature on fetal origins in this fascinating study of the prenatal period. Paul's thought-provoking text reveals that this pivotal period may be even more significant and far-reaching than imagined.

In the Green Kitchen: Techniques to Learn by Heart
Alice Waters (Clarkson Potter)
Waters, restaurateur and culinary force of nature, showcases basic cooking techniques every cook can and should master.

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