Plenty of books can tell you how to cook something — but far fewer can tell you why to do so a certain way. Modernist Cuisine ($470) belongs in the latter category. Written primarily by ex-Microsoft CTO Nathan Myhrvold and weighing in at 2,400 pages, this part cooking, part science six-volume set explains in simple, easy-to-understand terms the details behind practically every cooking method, making it just as useful for weekend grillmasters as it is for professional chefs. [Thanks, Chris]
The works of creative thinkers are just half the story — to get the rest, you need to follow them home. And that's exactly what photographer Todd Selby did. The Selby Is in Your Place ($23) is a 250+ page collection of Selby's portraits of creative, dynamic, and just plain interesting people in the places where they live and work. Over 30 such profiles lie within; for the rest, check out his website.