Joyful, Healthy Eating

Gwyneth Paltrow’s latest cookbook promises tasty nutrition

Rising lifestyle guru and noted healthy foodie Gwyneth Paltrow enters the Hardcover Nonfiction list at #2 with It’s All Good: Delicious, Easy Recipes That Will Make You Look Good and Feel Great, coauthored with Julia Turshen. Oscar-winner Paltrow, author of the bestselling cookbook My Father’s Daughter, founder of the popular lifestyle blog, and costar of this summer’s Iron Man 3, could easily rest on her laurels. But no. Her new title, she says, was inspired by a health scare that revealed her anemia, vitamin deficiency, and hormone imbalances. After her doctor prescribed an elimination diet (no coffee, alcohol, dairy, sugar, shellfish, deep-water fish, wheat, soy, or processed foods), Paltrow wanted to find recipes that would be within these parameters while still tasting good. Besides discussing an elimination diet, the book includes a lean-protein-based weight-loss diet, and diets that avoid gluten and dairy because of food allergies. Recipes for dishes such as lamb tagine, chicken burgers, and banana-date muffins keep the book from being too kale-centric. In addition to appearances on GMA, Dr. Oz, The Chew, Rachel Ray, and Ellen, Paltrow has signed books at Williams-Sonoma in New York and Beverly Hills, and Barnes & Noble at the Grove in L.A. As Paltrow’s editor Karen Murgolo of Grand Central notes: “Gwyneth has tapped into the kind of clean eating that people want right now for themselves and their families. We think that word-of-mouth will keep this book selling for quite a while.” —Jessamine Chan

Old School

They don’t make ’em like James Salter anymore. West Point grad. Twelve years in the Pacific with the U.S. Air Force. A hundred combat missions in Korea. Somehow, while still enlisted, he wrote a novel, The Hunters, published in 1957 and made into a film the following year starring Robert Mitchum. Before All That Is, which debuts on our Hardcover Fiction list at #16, Salter’s most recent novel was Solo Faces, published in 1979, and his biggest sales came from the novel A Sport and a Pastime (about 23,000), followed closely by Life Is Meals: A Food Lover’s Book of Days. All That Is details the life, loves, and losses of a naval veteran who served in WWII and, after the war, when publishing was a more genteel pursuit, became a book editor. Salter told us the impetus for the novel was the postwar period; he wanted to write about “publishing in an era that’s now past. Business was conducted by mail. Everything was letters back and forth, so the entire pace of writing was different... the relationship between editors and writers was a little more intimate.... You had writers sleeping on couches in the publishers’ offices.” In just a few days, almost 3,500 people have bought Salter’s first novel in more than 30 years (from outlets tracked by Nielsen BookScan), so it seems that the author isn’t alone in wanting a return to “a different kind of intimacy.” —Mike Harvkey

Fear the Reaper?

David Stockman, who served as Ronald Reagan’s budget director before becoming a private equity investor, offers The Great Deformation, likely the densest book on this week’s Hardcover Nonfiction list. Subtitled “The Corruption of Capitalism in America” and boasting a hefty 650-plus pages, it’s a grand take on how finance capital, through the Federal Reserve and Wall Street, has abandoned the principles of the Reagan Revolution—of which he was a major architect—in favor of meddling with sound money and banking policy. Taking on the mantle of “outlaw commentator,” Stockman, once dubbed the “blow-dried Grim Reaper,” calls out the “villains” he feels are responsible for the current Great Recession: Alan Greenspan, Ben Bernanke, and Hank Paulson among them. And while the vast bulk of the book is dedicated to historical contextualization and deep analysis of contemporary financial capitalism, his policy proscriptions come off as an afterthought, tacked on to the end of a text in which he argues that only sweeping constitutional changes could right the wrongs committed against free-market capitalism.—Alex Crowley

The Habit of Writing, and Selling, Books

With nearly 100 inspirational books to her credit, television minister Joyce Meyer has made a habit of writing that is paying off for her. Making Good Habits, Breaking Bad Habits: 14 New Behaviors That Will Energize Your Life debuts at #6. Meyer’s multiplatform reach is enviably colossal. Her broadcast program Enjoying Everyday Life airs on nearly 450 television networks and 400 radio stations in 61 different languages worldwide; her Web site averages 2.5 million visits monthly; she has more than 5 million Facebook and Twitter followers; she attracts hundreds of thousands to U.S. and international conferences. Sounds like a book that sells itself. “The message in Making Good Habits, Breaking Bad Habits is one that resonates well with Joyce’s readership. Its instant bestseller status is evidence of her continuing ability to write on topics that connect with consumers,” says Harry Helm, v-p, associate publisher of Hachette Nashville.—Marcia Z. Nelson

There’s Something About Mary

Nobody likes a roach, but the word will sure as hell get everyone’s attention. Try shouting it right now in your office and see what happens. Still got a job? Mary Roach understands the power of the word. No wonder the titles of four of her five über-popular pop science books are boiled down to just a single one—Spook ponders the whereabouts of the soul after the body’s gone stiff, Stiff examines the wonders of the body after it’s given up the ghost, Bonk grapples with the science of sex and how we build new bodies, and her newest, Gulp, explores the stomach-churning business of keeping those bodies fed and fueled so they can bonk before going stiff and spooking the living. As we wrote in our review, “She charts every crevice and quirk of the alimentary canal.” Nasty work, but Roach revels in it. (So do plenty of other people, apparently. Combined hardback and trade paper sales for all of her books tally up to over one million copies.) In an interview with NPR’s Peter Sagal in 2012, Roach explained her criteria for picking a topic to write about: “It’s got to have a little science…, a little history, a little humor, and something gross.”

Gulp: Adventures on the Alimentary Canal debuts at #11 on our Hardcover Nonfiction list. After a good run on the East Coast, including—no joke—an April Fools’ Day appearance on the Daily Show, Roach will be scuttling along the sunnier side of the U.S. with stops at San Francisco’s California Academy of Science and the Commonwealth Club on April 16 and 17, respectively. After that, folks in the Second City can catch Roach at what’s sure to be a hot-ticket event—she and Rebecca Skloot in conversation on April 29 at the Chicago Public Library.—Samuel R. Slaton

Debbie Does Books

Not only has movie star Debbie Reynolds written a memoir, she’s done it again: Unsinkable appears at #20 on our Hardcover Nonfiction list. (Memoir #1, Debbie: My Life, was published in 1988.) The indefatigable performer, who cheerfully admits to being 81, made her first screen appearance in MGM’s legendary musical Singin’ in the Rain—at the age of 19, opposite pros Gene Kelly and Donald O’Connor. Sixty years later she’s still charming ’em, as she’s done of late on GMA, Weekend Edition, and a CBS Sunday Morning. She also had a delicious gabfest dishing her three ex-husbands with the ladies of The View.

Her new book’s (exceptionally apt) title refers to one of her most celebrated film roles: in 1964 Reynolds, then 31, was nominated for a Best Actress Oscar for her role in The Unsinkable Molly Brown—playing the Colorado socialite who famously wasn’t about to abandon her place in one of the Titanic’s lifeboats. She showed off her vocal prowess with the film’s raucous number “I Ain’t Down Yet!” And it remains true.
—Dick Donahue