Anyone can drink and enjoy booze, but if you really want to know about a certain type of liquor, you're gonna need to try more than what you'll find at the local state store. Consider 101 Whiskies to Try Before You Die ($14) your paperback teacher on the subject of whiskey, offering not a list of the "best" whiskies, but instead a list that will help you develop your palette and appreciate the subtle nuances of the drink, with tasting notes, process explanations, and histories to help you along. Just don't try them all at once, lest you die way earlier than planned.
Assuming you've visited a market that sells more than meat and potato staples, you've probably seen the wonderful red rooster sauce on store shelves; some of you may even have some at home. The Sriracha Cookbook ($10) features 50 recipes that get the most out of the Thai hot sauce. From burgers and buffalo wings to ceviche and bacon-infused cornbread, this tasty tome will have you expanding your view of the hot stuff beyond its most noble application: the spicy-as-hell Thai bloody mary.