Tired of the same old holiday crafts? Handprint turkeys, popsicle-stick God’s eyes, quaint silhouettes—that stuff is for preschoolers. Step up your DIY game with funny gal Amy Sedaris’s kooky craftiness. Sedaris’s colorful, tonguein- cheek nod to the current economic atmosphere is on full display in her many “crafts” created from found and salvaged materials such as tinfoil, hair, and rotting fruit. From the Crafty Candle Salad to the Crab-Claw Roach Clip to an entire chapter on “fornicrafting,” SIMPLE TIMES (Grand Central, $27.99) will cure your craft blues with hilarious and bizarre projects easily made from everyday household items.
Can you satisfy your vegetarian nephew and your son’s vegan girlfriend at a holiday meal? Can latkes be made without eggs? Is there such a thing as a fancy and delicious vegetarian entrée? Rose Elliot, Britain’s queen of vegetarian cooking, says “yes” and she’s here to show you how. With more than 1,000 mouthwatering and satisfying recipes, ROSE ELLIOT’S NEW COMPLETE VEGETARIAN (Sterling, $30) is not just for herbivores. Covering everything from soups, beans, and breads to drinks and desserts, Elliot’s dishes are simple yet exquisite, and eschewing soy and tofu for legumes and veggies. There’s a recipe here for everyone to love (my personal favorite: eggplant fritters with tomato sauce). Vegan and easy-to-freeze dishes are readily marked. Make room at the dinner table: vegetarianism has gone scrumptiously mainstream.
My experience with history is one of units divided neatly and chronologically, with key figures guiding the helm of change. In CHILDREN OF FIRE (Hill and Wang, $30), Thomas C. Holt, a prominent historian at the University of Chicago, creates an intimate portrait of history as a lived moment, experienced by individuals. He opens his history of African-Americans when the first Africans were sold from a Dutch man-of-war in 1619 and continues through the twenty-first century and the historic election of the first African-American U.S. president. Although decisive figures such as W.E.B. Du Bois, Martin Luther King, Jr., and Barack Obama populate Holt’s narrative, so, too, do little known men and women, caught in the shifts of culture, policy, and social norms that have defined race relations and institutions of oppression in the U.S. Holt’s generational portrait is a nuanced look at lives mired in history, lives more complex and dynamic than the flattened accounts of history textbooks.
(This book cannot be returned.)