Author Silvia Lehrer explores the food and wine of Long Island's East End, offering portraits of farmers and fishermen and owners of local restaurants and wineries. Winemaker Roman Roth makes wines on a small scale for his own brand, the cleverly named Grapes of Roth (Roth is a resident of the Long Island village of Sag Harbor, as was, at one point, "The Grapes of Wrath" author John Steinbeck). Most of the wineries are open year round, and because the area is so compact, it is easy to go from one winery to another.
What makes Fishbar on the Lake, in Montauk on the eastern edge of Long Island, so unique is the freshness of its seafood. Executive chef and owner Jennifer Meadows handpicks the fish as it comes off the boats.
The heart of the book consists of a wonderful collection of recipes: bow tie pasta with asparagus and lemon, heirloom tomato and melon salad with goat's-milk yogurt dressing, pear and sweet potato casserole, fallen-chocolate souffle with berry sauce.
One of the more distinctive regional recipes is East End clam pie, which consists of two dozen freshly shucked littleneck clams. The book, divided by season, also has beautiful color photographs.
"The Most Beautiful Walk in the World"
Harper Perennial, $14.99
John Baxter lives on one of the most literary streets in Paris, if not the world: Rue l'Odeon. On this same street the famous bookseller, Sylvia Beach, ran Shakespeare and Co. (the English-language bookshop that published James Joyce's "Ulysses"). Beach lived in the same apartment building as Baxter. During the 1920s and 1930s, American publisher and writer Robert McAlmon, who published Ernest Hemingway's first work, "Three Stories and Ten Poems," lived next door.
As Baxter points out in this lovely book, Paris belongs to walkers. A native of Australia but a former resident of Los Angeles, he had to get used to the idea of walking again after leaving Southern California, where walking seemed to be an unusual, if not illegal, activity.
The Parisian strollers, or flaneurs, as they are known, claim that walking around Paris is an art form in itself, and Baxter proves them right as he leisurely saunters along the streets of his adopted city. But, as he also points out, every walk is as unique as the walker.
Among his many adventures, he has lunch with a friend at one of Hemingway's old haunts, Brasserie Lipp, and recalls seeing the French actress Catherine Deneuve standing in line at his neighborhood bakery. It's that kind of book: amiable, low-key and full of unexpected pleasures.
In the appendix, Baxter offers a helpful and idiosyncratic user's guide to Paris:
Because dinner in the French capital is so expensive, he suggests doing as the French do and concentrating on breakfast and lunch.
Resist the inclination to tip because every bill automatically includes a 15 percent service charge.
Use the safe, clean, reliable and cheap public transportation.
He also recommends trying absinthe, exploring the red-light districts of Saint-Denis and Pigalle and stopping by Au Lapin Agile, the city's oldest, "strangest" and "eerily memorable" nightclub.
"China Survival Guide"
Stone Bridge Press, $9.95
This revised edition provides the latest post-Olympics information on Beijing and also describes Beijing and Shanghai subway improvements.
In addition, a new chapter lists the authors' favorite places to visit in China. But the most important tips are still here: from drinking water to street crossings.