Meat lovers, have we got the cookbook for you. Michael Symon's Carnivore: 120 Recipes for Meat Lovers ($22) is filled with meat-centric recipes from celebrity chef and restauranteur Symon. After giving you tips on breeds, cuts, and techniques, Symon unloads a wide range of recipes for beef, pork, poultry, lamb, goat, and game, many accompanied by full-color photographs. So whether you're in the mood for smoked lamb ribs or bacon-wrapped rabbit legs, it's got you covered.
Most people know of John Lennon's writing from his music — but if you want to get to know Lennon the person, you need to read his letters. The John Lennon Letters ($20) brings together nearly 300 letters and postcards written by Lennon to friends, family, lovers, and even total strangers. The collection is edited and annotated by Hunter Davies, who wrote The Beatles' authorized biography way back in '68.
Not that anyone actually owns encyclopedias anymore — come on, that's what Wikipedia is for — but in case you do have an aging Britannica set taking up a load of space on your bookshelf, it's time to replace it with The Onion Book of Known Knowledge: A Definitive Encyclopaedia Of Existing Information ($17). Weighing in at just over 250 pages and thus far shorter than even the Menago-Ottawa volume of a real set, this hilarious compendium offers hundreds of entries for all 17 letters of the alphabet, all in the faux news organization's signature cutting style.
Aside from actually, you know, playing The Dude, Jeff Bridges has also tried to achieve Dude-ness by studying Buddhism with his teacher and friend Bernie Glassman. The Dude and the Zen Master ($15) allows you to share in the dialogue between the pair, including thoughts on life, the movies, and the importance of keeping things simple while trying to do good. Probably even some laughs — not sure about the burgers or beers, though.
Explore the history of one of the most iconic automobiles of all time with The Porsche 911 Book ($125). Created for the 50th anniversary of the original 901, this hefty hardcover weighs in at over 300 pages and is filled with 250 gorgeous photos of models both old and new, all shot by legendary auto photographer René Staud. Perfect coffee table fodder for Porsche lovers and really high-end Jiffy Lubes.
You can certainly learn about the main philosophy of the Jedi by watching the Star Wars films, but if you want specifics, you're going to want this. The Jedi Path: A Manual for Students of the Force ($100) includes "writings" from ancient Jedi Masters, as well as personal commentary from more recognizable faces like Yoda, Obi-Wan, Anakin, and Luke. The book itself arrives in a motorized vault and comes with multiple removable trinkets, similar to the Book of Sith ($60) — which is a must purchase for those looking to study the nuances of the Dark Side.
Don't worry about heading to your local comics store to scour the shelves for the best of Alfred E. Neuman's periodical — someone's already done that for you. Totally MAD: 60 Years of Humor, Satire, Stupidity and Stupidity ($20) is 256 pages of the best the magazine has had to offer. Some of the classic material inside includes Spy v. Spy, The Lighter Side Of, Horrifying Clichés, and A MAD Look At... Oh, and don't despair for Alfred — he's featured on 10 of the 12 included classic cover prints.
See underneath the face of more than 300 animals with Skulls: An Exploration of Alan Dudley's Curious Collection ($18). Weighing in at 240 pages, this hardcover tome is filled with fantastic full-color photography of many specimens from Dudley's private collection, which is believed to be the largest and most complete in the world. The visuals are accompanied by writing from Simon Winchester, explaining more about the skull and listing the more information about the animal. Oh, and if dead trees aren't your thing, it's also available as an interactive iPad app.
Last time we checked in with photographer Todd Selby, he was following creative types home. Now he's doing the same with foodies. Edible Selby ($23) is part photo book, part cookbook, and all interesting, with over 40 profiles of creative, dynamic culinary artists, each of which is accompanied by a watercolor illustration and handwritten questionnaire, complete with a signature recipe.
Unfortunately, this isn't an all-in-one pack that can give you back every Han, Luke, and Leia figure you had when you're a kid. Instead, Star Wars: The Ultimate Action Figure Collection ($21) is a hefty, 350-page paperback that chronicles the more than 2,500 Star Wars action figures created over the years. From A New Hope to Revenge of the Sith, every figure is detailed with a full-color photo and text explaining the details behind. Perfect coffee table fodder for the Force-obsessed.
There's a deeper story behind the Budweiser you're cracking open than what you might expect. Bitter Brew: The Rise and Fall of Anheuser-Busch and America's Kings of Beer ($19) is an in-depth look at the story of the Busch family, covering over a century of history. Business, baseball, and beer are intermingled in this engrossing tale of one of America's most powerful families, from the business' humble beginnings in St. Louis through its sale to InBev. A must-read for beer-lovers and teetotalers alike.
We're not sure whether it's named after the song — which also features Snoop
Dogg Lion and Kris Kristofferson — or whether the song's named after the book, but either way we're reading Roll Me Up and Smoke Me When I Die: Musings from the Road ($15). Penned by Willie Nelson himself, this sub-200-page tome is filled with anecdotes and wisdom acquired over his decades on the road, and covers everything from music and poker to pot and karma, all with Willie's trademark soft humor.