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Understand Rap

Rap, hip hop, whatever you want to call it — sometimes song lyrics leave you feeling clueless about their meaning — but don't worry, Understand Rap: Explanations of Confusing Rap Lyrics You & Your Grandma Can Understand ($10) is here to save you from uncool ignorance. This book explores rap lyrics from songs divided into multiple categories (braggadocio, cars, crime, disses, fashion, intoxicants, people, places, and sex) giving you deep insight into sometimes-cryptic hip hop turns of phrase. Each lyric is quoted, along with the artist, song, and album, and then explained in a matter-of-fact, academic manner that will leave even the least knowledgeable feeling like a hip hop head.

  • Herb Lester Travel Guides

    Even in the era of the smartphone, there's still plenty of room in the traveler's bag for a good guide book — especially if it's one of the Herb Lester Travel Guides ($7 and up). Made to serve as your go-to guides for the great cities of the world, these books feature maps and illustrations from exceptional designers, and cover everything from famous destinations to local favorites. Choose from guides to European cities like London, Amsterdam, and Paris, or American cities like New York, Austin, and San Francisco. They also offer collections of guides in case you're planning a grand tour.

  • The Geometry of Pasta

    You no doubt enjoy pasta with some regularity — but do you know where this versatile, yet simple culinary staple comes from? In The Perfect Shape + The Perfect Sauce = The Geometry of Pasta ($17) you'll find everything you didn't know you didn't know about pasta. Beginning with the basics (an introduction to ingredients, recipes for a few types of pasta and several sauces), the book dives deep into a huge range of pastas from A to Z. Each entry includes a brief history lesson, a detailed description, ideal sauce pairings, in some cases recipes for the pasta, and a black and white illustration.