While most of the photography books we've featured have been of a light nature, it's never a bad thing to have some more substantial material on your coffee table as well. Spawned from a GQ feature article, This is Our War: A Soldier's Portfolio ($20) tells the stories of our troops in Iraq through 250 photographs taken not by journalists, but by the soldiers themselves. Some are moving, some funny, some simply beautiful, but all are honest, intimate portrayals of war.
Company ($15) is the latest novel by our new favorite contemporary satirist, Max Berry. In the 350-page work, he takes office politics and banal tasks to an extraordinarily extreme degree, but it's not so twisted from reality that it doesn't apply to your own 9-5. The story line follows naive business school grad Jones through his relatively short career at Zephyr Holdings. His first task is to find out what the company (not just his department, which only deals with other internal departments) actually does. Not only does no one know, they can't grasp why Jones would be curious. A perfect book if you enjoy The Office, Dilbert or Office Space.
Growing up, we certainly had our share of fun — and got into a fair share of trouble — with our potato guns. Now we can rebuild better, stronger guns with the help of Backyard Ballistics ($11). Plans for building potato guns, a match-powered rocket, a tennis ball mortar, a pneumatic missile, and more are included. Just make sure not to bust out your neighbor's windows with your "toys."