The World Atlas of Musical InstrumentsBozhidar Abrashev, Vladimir Gadjev  
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"Throughout human history, music has accompanied us in times of joy and in times of sorrow. This comprehensive encyclopedia is not only a reference work on musical instruments suitable for experts; it also explains the effects and expressive powers of the musical arts. The authors present the various methods of producing sound with great passion, vividly explaining how early musical inventions were scattered across the globe and how they evolved in various cultures. Clearly arranged, the structure of the book provides a quick overview of the history, symbolism, construction and playing technique of each of the instruments discussed.

The World Atlas of Musical Instruments is an indispensable reference work for every professional musician and for interested amateurs."

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Thai Cooking: From the Siam Cuisine RestaurantKwanruan Aksomboon, Diana Hiranaga, Somchai Aksomboon  
*****
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Siam Cuisine is a unique restaurant in Berkeley, California, which has been acclaimed since the early eighties for serving authentic Thai food rivaling that in Bangkok restaurants. Gathered here are more than 100 recipes for their superbly cooked dishes—chicken simmered in red curry with coconut and bamboo shoots...prawns and calamari with sweet basil and chilies...coconut soup with pickled garlic and red preserved bean curd.

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Hot Sour Salty Sweet: A Culinary Journey Through Southeast AsiaJeffrey Alford, Naomi Duguid  
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Luminous at dawn and dusk, the Mekong is a river road, a vibrant artery that defines a vast and fascinating region. Here, along the world's tenth largest river, which rises in Tibet and joins the sea in Vietnam, traditions mingle and exquisite food prevails.

Award-winning authors Jeffrey Alford and Naomi Duguid followed the river south, as it flows through the mountain gorges of southern China, to Burma and into Laos and Thailand. For a while the right bank of the river is in Thailand, but then it becomes solely Lao on its way to Cambodia. Only after three thousand miles does it finally enter Vietnam and then the South China Sea.

It was during their travels that Alford and Duguid—who ate traditional foods in villages and small towns and learned techniques and ingredients from cooks and market vendors—came to realize that the local cuisines, like those of the Mediterranean, share a distinctive culinary approach: Each cuisine balances, with grace and style, the regional flavor quartet of hot, sour, salty, and sweet. This book, aptly titled, is the result of their journeys.

Like Alford and Duguid's two previous works, Flatbreads and Flavors ("a certifiable publishing event" —Vogue) and Seductions of Rice ("simply stunning"—The New York Times), this book is a glorious combination of travel and taste, presenting enticing recipes in "an odyssey rich in travel anecdote" (National Geographic Traveler).

The book's more than 175 recipes for spicy salsas, welcoming soups, grilled meat salads, and exotic desserts are accompanied by evocative stories about places and people. The recipes and stories are gorgeously illustrated throughout with more than 150 full-color food and travel photographs.

In each chapter, from Salsas to Street Foods, Noodles to Desserts, dishes from different cuisines within the region appear side by side: A hearty Lao chicken soup is next to a Vietnamese ginger-chicken soup; a Thai vegetable stir-fry comes after spicy stir-fried potatoes from southwest China.

The book invites a flexible approach to cooking and eating, for dishes from different places can be happily served and eaten together: Thai Grilled Chicken with Hot and Sweet Dipping Sauce pairs beautifully with Vietnamese Green Papaya Salad and Lao sticky rice.

North Americans have come to love Southeast Asian food for its bright, fresh flavors. But beyond the dishes themselves, one of the most attractive aspects of Southeast Asian food is the life that surrounds it. In Southeast Asia, people eat for joy. The palate is wildly eclectic, proudly unrestrained. In Hot, Sour, Salty, Sweet, at last this great culinary region is celebrated with all the passion, color, and life that it deserves.

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Beard on Food: The Best Recipes and Kitchen Wisdom from the Dean of American CookingJames Beard  
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In Beard on Food, one of America's great culinary thinkers and teachers collects his best essays, ranging from the perfect hamburger to the pleasures of oxtails, from salad dressing to Sauce Diable. The result is not just a compendium of fabulous recipes and delicious bites of writing. It's a philosophy of food-unfussy, wide-ranging, erudite, and propelled by Beard's exuberance and sense of fun.
In a series of short, charming essays, with recipes printed in a contrasting color (as they were in the beloved original edition), Beard follows his many enthusiasms, demonstrating how to make everyday foods into delicious meals. Covering meats, vegetables, fish, herbs, and kitchen tools, Beard on Food is both an invaluable reference for cooks and a delightful read for armchair enthusiasts.

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Dandelion WineRay Bradbury  
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An endearing classic of childhood fancies and memories of an idyllic Midwestern summer from America's most beloved storyteller.

Dandelion Wine

Ray Bradbury's moving recollection of a vanished golden era remains one of his most enchanting novels. DANDELION WINE stands out in the Bradbury literary canon as the author's most deeply personal work, a semi-autobiographical recollection of a magical small town summer in 1928.

Twelve-year-old Douglas Spaulding knows Green Town, Illinois, is as vast and deep as the whole wide world that lies beyond the city limits. It is a pair of brand-new tennis shoes, the first harvest of dandelions for Grandfather's renowned intoxicant, the distant clang of the trolley's bell on a hazy afternoon. It is yesteryear and tomorrow blended into an unforgettable always. But as young Douglas is about to discover, summer can be more than the repetition of established rituals whose mystical power holds time at bay. It can be a best friend moving away, a human time machine who can transport you back to the Civil War, or a sideshow automaton able to glimpse the bittersweet future.

Come and savor Ray Bradbury's priceless distillation of all that is eternal about boyhood and summer. Twelve-year-old Douglas Spaulding knows Green town, Illinois, is as vast and deep as the whole wide world that lies beyond the city limits. It is a pair of brand-new tennis shoes, the first harvest of dandelions for Grandfather's renowned intoxicant, the distant clang of the trolley's bell on a hazy afternoon. It is yesteryear and tomorrow blended into an unforgettable always. But as young Douglas is about to discover, summer can be more than the repetition of established rituals whose mystical power holds time at bay. It can be a best friend moving away, a human time machine who can transport you back to the Civil War, or a sideshow automaton able to glimpse the bittersweet future.

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The Toynbee ConvectorRay Bradbury  
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Bradbury displays anew the unclassifiable versatility of his imagination in this new collection of twenty stories, the first in eight years. This fall, USA Cable television will rebroadcast six episodes of the HBO Ray Bradbury Theatre series.

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You Can't Catch Death: A Daughter's MemoirIanthe Brautigan  
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In all of the obituaries and writing about Richard Brautigan that appeared after his suicide, none revealed to Ianthe Brautigan the father she knew. Through it took all of her courage, she delved into her memories, good and bad, to retrieve him, and began to write. You Can't Catch Death is a frank, courageous, heartbreaking reflection on both a remarkable man and the child he left behind.

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Willard and His Bowling Trophies: A Perverse MysteryRichard brautigan  
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Brautigan was in many ways the Hemingway of the 60s—but a Hemingway with a playful sense of humor. His epigrammatic stories and poems are clean and simple, but like a pool of quiet water, sometimes deceptively deep; the individual parts of each of his books are short, but linger in your imagination for a long time like the flavor of the best chocolate envelops your palette; and his subjects are mundane and even naively treated, but sometimes touch on the profound.

I loved Brautigan's writing as a teenager, hated his writing when I was a snobby East coast academic—but find that I am once again attracted to his work. Perhaps this change of opinion occurred because I have spent so much time in his stomping grounds in the Pacific Northwest in the past years, or perhaps my transient dislike for his writing arose out of his ability to delicately punch holes in pompous pretense. At any rate, if you haven't read Brautigan yet, you might give him a try—and if you are already a fan of his, you should rejoice at these recent reissues of all his major works.

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The Edna Webster Collection of Undiscovered WritingsRichard Brautigan  
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On the eve of his departure from Eugene, Oregon, to San Francisco and worldly success, a twenty-one-year-old unpublished writer named Richard Brautigan gave these funny, buoyant stories and poems as a gift to Edna Webster, the beloved mother of both his best friend and his first "real" girlfriend. "When I am rich and famous, Edna," he told her, "this will be your social security.' The stories and poems show Brautigan as hopelessly lovestruck, cheerily goofy, and at his most disarmingly innocent. We see not only a young man and young artist about to bloom, but also the whole literary sensibility of the 1960s counterculture about to spread its wings and fly.

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