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Essential Knit Sweaters: Patterns for Every Sweater You Ever Wanted to Wear Every Day

Frauke Ludwig, trans. from the German by Katharina Sokiran. Stackpole, $29.95 trade paper (192p) ISBN 978-0-8117-7276-1

Knitwear designer Ludwig debuts with an inspired collection of women’s sweater patterns. Each project includes instructions for sizes XS through XXL, making it easy to tailor garments for different body types. The items range in difficulty from easy to advanced; on the former end of the spectrum is the “easiest cardigan in the world,” which consists of rectangular blocks knitted in a ridge pattern and seamed together. Experienced knitters up for a challenge will be eager to create the “Allegra” sweater, the sleeves of which include intricate lace insert strips. The more traditional articles include a seamed “short-sleeved narrow summer top” primarily comprised of garter stitch with some ribbing, a top-down raglan hooded sweater featuring increases “worked at the sides to create an A-line shape,” and a “circular yoke sweater with simple cables.” Other projects use “contemporary construction methods,” as with a turtleneck sweater that doesn’t require seaming. The diversity of techniques finds abundant variety in the sweater form, and a detailed section covering knit and purl stitches and how to bind off provides a thorough refresher for knitters of all experience levels. This has much to recommend it. (Mar.)

Reviewed on 02/16/2024 | Details & Permalink

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Lulu’s Crochet Dolls: 8 Adorable Dolls and Accessories to Crochet

Lulu Compotine. Search, $19.95 trade paper (112p) ISBN 978-1-80092-168-9

The quaint debut from Compotine, a pen name for crafter Sandra Muller, shows how to crochet small, seasonally themed dolls. The amigurumi-style figures are around eight inches tall and simple to make, largely worked in the round with minimalist faces consisting of black embroidered stitches for eyes and no noses or mouths. Each doll is outfitted in garments and accompanied by accessories corresponding to one of the seasons. For instance, Charlotte wears a spring dress and comes with a ladybug and basket of strawberries made with double crochet stitches, while Louis wears overalls for fall and is accompanied by an orange squirrel and kite comprised of chain stitches. The reliance on chain and double stitches provides a low barrier of entry for novices, and even the most advanced projects (one doll’s curly pigtails require a mix of treble, half treble, slip, and double stitches) are only moderately difficult. Compotine includes helpful tips, noting, for example, that readers can insert pipe cleaner in the dolls’ necks to give their heads more stability. The cute designs are hard to resist, and beginners will appreciate the detailed instructions on how to fasten off, weave in ends, change yarn colors, and execute other basic techniques. Crafters will be charmed. (Mar.)

Reviewed on 02/16/2024 | Details & Permalink

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Mind Your Gut: The Science-Based, Whole-Body Guide to Living Well with IBS

Kate Scarlata and Megan Riehl. Hachette Go, $30 (384p) ISBN 978-0-306-83233-8

This helpful resource from dietitian Scarlata (coauthor of The Low-FODMAP Diet) and health psychologist Riehl outlines strategies for managing irritable bowel syndrome. Explaining that stress can exacerbate IBS symptoms via the gut-brain axis, the authors describe how to change how one feels by changing how one thinks. For instance, they suggest that reframing negative thoughts (from “If I didn’t have IBS, I’d be way more productive” to “IBS is a bummer, but I can manage it”) can reduce anxiety. Scarlata and Riehl extol the benefits of such relaxation techniques as “gut-directed guided imagery,” which involves envisioning oneself in a tranquil environment and then “allow[ing] the same comfort that your senses are experiencing to bring comfort and peace to your stomach.” The dietary guidance revolves around cutting out foods high in sugars collectively known as FODMAPs, which create gas and cause cramping by stretching the intestinal wall. Other recommendations include keeping a consistent meal schedule, staying hydrated, minimizing alcohol intake, and incorporating oatmeal, canned chickpeas, and other fiber-rich foods into one’s diet. The breadth of strategies ensures that if readers don’t respond to one, they’ll have plenty of others to try, and the inclusion of a sample menu plan and extensive lists of low-FODMAP foods makes implementing the dietary advice easy. This gets the job done. Agent: Marilyn Allen, Allen O’Shea Literary. (Mar.)

Reviewed on 02/16/2024 | Details & Permalink

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Joyfull: Cook Effortlessly, Eat Freely, Live Radiantly

Radhi Devlukia-Shetty. Simon Element, $35 (288p) ISBN 978-1-982199-72-2

Nutritionist and yoga instructor Devlukia-Shetty promotes 5,000-year-old Ayurveda tradition in her scattered debut. “Low-vibration foods” bring people down, she asserts, while spices and plants energize. Though the author insists that “Ayurveda doesn’t judge,” she also prescribes a diet free of garlic, onion, and cold drinks: “If your digestion is like a fire, then imagine what introducing a cold drink can do to that flame.” The light tone verges on cutesy (vegetable kitchari is likened to a “belly cuddle”) and the unifying concept is fuzzy, but the vegan recipes appeal. A breakfast chapter includes stewed apples and savory muffins made with chickpea flour and vegan feta. Nondairy cheeses aren’t the only ersatz items on the menu: Devlukia-Shetty creates eggplant “bacon” using liquid smoke, and “crabcakes” out of hearts of palm. Pasta dishes include tagliatelle with nutritional yeast, miso, and roasted red peppers, and fusilli with tomatoes, corn, and vegan cheddar. Five recipes for naan variants precede a smattering of sandwich options and store-bought pita with various fillings. The redolently spiced riffs on Indian dishes are standouts: red lentil dal can be blitzed into a dip; mung bean pancakes with grated carrots come with a side of cilantro-mint chutney; and a range of veggie curries appetize. Readers curious about an Ayurvedic diet will want to check this out. (Feb.)

Reviewed on 02/16/2024 | Details & Permalink

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Nourish: Simple Recipes to Empower Your Body and Feed Your Soul: A Healthy Lifestyle Cookbook

Gisele Bündchen. Clarkson Potter, $35 (256p) ISBN 978-0-593-58048-6

“What I eat and how I eat affects the quality of life and my health more than almost anything else I do,” writes supermodel and philanthropist Bündchen in her holistic debut. She starts by sharing her struggles in maintaining a healthy lifestyle during the early years of her modeling career, asserting that eating foods containing refined sugars and gluten contributed to her depression and anxiety. Per her osteopath’s suggestion, Bündchen reformed her eating habits and noticed her body “reboot.” Adhering to the same principles 20 years later, Bündchen’s flavorful offerings, which include butternut squash soup with rosemary, pesto chicken lettuce wraps, and coconut muffins with coconut dulce de leche, are all free of gluten and refined sugar. Other recipes, such as Pão de Queijo (cheese bread) and grilled rib eye with chimichurri, pay tribute to Bündchen’s Brazilian heritage. Alongside the recipes are plenty of suggestions for hearty pairings (the garlicky clams with rice noodles can be served with the beet and arugula salad) and kid-friendly versions (the sheet-pan squash and chickpeas make “an amazing taco filling”). While there’s nothing groundbreaking, gluten-free readers seeking a healthier lifestyle will be intrigued. Agent: Pilar Queen, UTA. (Mar.)

Reviewed on 02/02/2024 | Details & Permalink

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Tiffy Cooks: 88 Easy Asian Recipes from My Family to Yours

Tiffy Chen. Ten Speed, $30 (272p) ISBN 978-1-984861-29-0

Tiffy Cooks blogger Chen’s appetizing debut offers home cooks a wide array of easy and economical recipes designed to go quickly from fridge to table. Taiwan-born Chen digs deep into her family’s recipe book for culinary treasures while also putting her own distinctive twists on classic fare. Drunken chicken and hot and sour soup appear alongside more surprising options such as cheesy baked pasta with an Asian kick, and a Taiwanese breakfast sandwich with Japanese mayo, cucumber, egg, and ham. Prawn and pineapple fried rice and mushroom and chicken sizzling plate are welcoming, tasty, and stunning. Recipes are grouped into quick and easy, family-style, “make-in-bulk,” and desserts/drinks, giving readers a range of options depending on how much time they have. Home cooks will treasure the step-by-step photos showing how to make more involved components including the dough for bao and buns, dumpling wrappers, boba pearls, and more. Those new to Taiwanese cooking will appreciate Chen’s Back to Basics section, offering instruction on making such core elements as fluffy rice, hand-cut noodles, and flavored oils. Sidebars on Taiwanese culture add to the appeal, with Chen describing “bustling night markets,” the importance of breakfast, and the popularity of noodles in the Taiwanese diet. For those looking to make their first foray into Taiwanese cooking, Chen proves a gracious and knowledgeable guide. (Feb.)

Reviewed on 02/02/2024 | Details & Permalink

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The Unexpected: Navigating Pregnancy During and After Complications

Emily Oster and Nathan Fox. Penguin Press, $28 (272p) ISBN 978-0-593-65277-0

Oster (The Family Firm), an economics professor at Brown University, teams up with obstetrician Fox to provide a thorough primer on preeclampsia, fetal growth restriction, miscarriage, and other pregnancy difficulties. In each chapter, Oster details recurrence rates and care options for a condition, and then Fox describes how he treats patients experiencing it. For instance, Oster explains that gestational diabetes, which can occur when “the hormones of the placenta affect [the] processing of blood sugar,” has a roughly 48% chance of recurring in future pregnancies and is typically treated through diet and exercise. Fox then assures readers that for most people, gestational diabetes is a “nuisance... but not a dangerous one” and can usually be kept in check by eating fewer carbohydrates and increased protein. The authors demonstrate a keen awareness of how the pregnancy following a previous complication can cause psychological distress, as when Fox reports that pregnancies after a stillbirth often revive feelings of grief. To cope, he recommends patients “assemble a strong support system,” which might include a psychologist, support group, or loved ones. Oster’s cogent presentation of scientific data manages to be informative but not dry. It’s a valuable resource for parents who have experienced pregnancy complications. Agent: Suzanne Gluck, WME. (Apr.)

Reviewed on 02/16/2024 | Details & Permalink

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Everything No One Tells You About Parenting a Disabled Child: Your Guide to the Essential Systems, Services, and Supports

Kelley Coleman. Hachette Go, $19.99 trade paper (304p) ISBN 978-0-306-83170-6

This helpful debut guide from Coleman draws on her experiences raising a son with an undiagnosed genetic syndrome (supporting diagnoses include autism, cerebral palsy, and intellectual disability) to offer advice on caring for children with disabilities. The guidance is largely structured in a q&a format. For instance, Coleman responds to the question, “Do I need a diagnosis?” by noting that while some parents believe labels are limiting, she finds that they “open up doors to therapies, services, allies, and insurance coverage.” Elsewhere, she tackles how to coordinate care providers, navigate insurance and government benefits, choose the right education pathway, and afford care, explaining that tax-advantaged ABLE accounts can be used to pay for disability-related expenses and that a special needs trust can provide funds for a disabled individual without “affecting that person’s eligibility for government benefits.” Coleman’s conversational and empathetic tone is a balm (“Remember when you had all those plans? Sigh,” she writes on adjusting expectations after a child’s diagnosis), and interviews with disability rights activists and medical professionals provide expert insight on, among other topics, the benefits of starting therapies early and the importance of working with educators on a child’s education plan. Caregivers for children with disabilities will want to check this out. Photos. Agent: Laurel Symonds, Bent Agency. (Mar.)

Reviewed on 02/16/2024 | Details & Permalink

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The Breakthrough Years: A New Scientific Framework for Raising Thriving Teens

Ellen Galinsky. Flatiron, $32.99 (560p) ISBN 978-1-250-06204-8

In this superb guide, Galinsky (Mind in the Making), president of the Families and Work Institute, expounds on how parents can support their children through adolescence. Listening to the concerns of more than 1,500 nine- to 19-year-olds for a study, she discovered five main messages teens want adults to know, including “listen and talk with us, not at us,” and “don’t stereotype us.” Drawing on academic research to explore each message, Galinsky helps parents “understand our development” by explaining that the teen brain’s reward center is more active than adults’, which can motivate risk-taking but also seeking new opportunities. The research yields practical advice, as when Galinsky notes studies showing that recognizing teens’ need for both agency and guidance when solving problems helps them feel more confident. To embrace this style of caregiving, Galinsky recommends parents share their perspective while providing their child with choices on how to move forward. The astounding amount of research touches on how to promote executive function skills and teens’ belief that they have the power to effect positive change, among myriad other topics, and it’s to the credit of Galinsky’s lucid prose and sensible organization that it never feels overwhelming. Overflowing with insight backed by scientific rigor, this is an essential companion for parents of adolescents. Agent: Jim Levine, Levine Greenberg Rostan Literary. (Mar.)

Reviewed on 02/16/2024 | Details & Permalink

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Make It Fancy: Cooking at Home with Sad Papi

Brandon Skier. Simon Element, $35 (256p) ISBN 978-1-66800-424-1

TikTok creator and private chef Skier promises in his ambitious if somewhat fussy debut to walk readers through the process of creating “elevated meals” in the comfort of their homes. The recipes draw inspiration from global cuisines; hiramasa aguachile appears alongside potato gnocchi with chile pomodoro and fried garlic, dukkah-crusted lamb rack with burnt honey gastrique, and yuzu lemonade. Special attention is given to fermenting and dehydrating foods, with classics including preserved lemons and pickled red onions as well as lesser-known fare such as black garlic and puffed beef tendon. Skier provides instructions for an assortment of condiments, dressings, and stocks to be used in other recipes: the burnt onion powder serves as a topping for the Little Gems salad and the mushroom stock is incorporated in the sauce for the tagliatelle and morels. While Skier’s straightforward instructions inspire confidence (“You can quite easily make a fancy-looking gel as impressive... as one you’d see in a fine restaurant,” he writes of the preserved lemon gel), sourcing some ingredients, including fennel pollen for the pork chops with pear mostarda or pistachio oil for the pistachio oil cake, will likely prove a challenge. Many recipes also call for specialized equipment, such as a dehydrator. Still, advanced home cooks looking to dazzle a dinner party will want to check this out. (Mar.)

Reviewed on 02/16/2024 | Details & Permalink

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