If you've eaten your way through Rao's Cookbook ($27), then feast your eyes on Rao's Recipes from the Neighborhood ($27). Frank Pellegrino of Rao's — the toughest reservation in New York City — along with his extended family and neighbors provide 125 authentic Italian recipes, including many from the restaurant and more from grandma.
Skip the family-friendly vacation spots this year and instead tour the secret destinations of America found in Top Secret Tourism ($12). Author Harry Helms takes you on a tour of this "other America," complete with state-by-state listings, facility histories, descriptions, associated rumors, maps, directions, pictures, and more. You won't find any towering roller coasters or overpriced stuffed animals here.
Looking for some better bathroom reading material than Cosmo and Glamour? Look no further than Uncle John's Bathrooom Reader: Wonderful World of Odd ($11). This little book is full of interesting, weird, and otherwise bizarre stories and facts from around the world — like this story of killer CO2 gas in Cameroon. Sure, you can probably find information about all these tales on the 'Net, but surfing while you're on the can can't be sanitary.
Ditch the warm beer and spice up your BBQ festivities with some drinks from The Backyard Bartender ($13). This hardcover book gives you over 50 recipes of martinis and other libations which make use of summer's bounty of ingredients. Examples of drink ideas include a Spicy Ginger Blush Martini and an Aromatic Lavender Lush.