SNOBBERY: The American Version
By Joseph Epstein (Houghton Mifflin, $25)
After the fall of the old WASP culture — prep schools, Ivy League colleges, debutante balls, the social register — comes the new snobbery in all its regalia. Today’s snobs fixate on food and wine, fashion, high-achieving children, schools, politics, being with-it, and reverse-snobbery. The old three-tier society has been replaced by 60-odd new classes, or “marketing clusters,” all vying for their place in the spotlight and watching each other for signs of one-upmanship.
OUR READ: ENTERTAINING AND TRUE
THE PLEASURES OF WINE
By Gerald Asher (Chronicle Books, $25)
As wine editor for Gourmet magazine for more than 30 years, Asher’s knowledge of wine and wineries is unsurpassed, plus he writes in language that doesn’t rise above the masses. In his latest book-length work, Asher tells the stories of the world’s outstanding vintages and the people and places that produce them. For those who like a little education and culture with their favorite vintage, this makes entertaining reading.
OUR READ: READ WITH A CHILLED GLASS OF PINOT GRIS
THE TERRITORY OF MEN
By Joelle Fraser (Villard, $23)
A child of the countercultural ’60s and ’70s, Fraser was tossed from one chaotic household to another between her beautiful, wild mother and loving but flawed father, a talented writer brought to his knees by alcoholism. Fraser’s early years were largely dictated by her mother’s choice in men, and men continued to plague and entrance Fraser as she formed her own adult relationships. With an honesty that is as raw as it is real, this captivating memoir is a personal journey that also gives voice to many who grew up through this uniquely American era.
OUR READ: WELL-WRITTEN, FUNNY, AND ULTIMATELY HUMAN
I’M WORKING ON THAT: A Trek from Science Fiction to Science Fact
By William Shatner and Chip Walters (Pocket Books, $25)
Noted scientist Stephen Hawking once said, “I’m working on that,” referring to the warp drive of the fictional Starship Enterprise. Intrigued by this quip, Shatner and Walters crisscrossed the country to get the real scoop on just how real Star Trek fantasies might become. From traveling through space at warp speeds to real-life replicators, some of the world’s most noted scientific minds delve into the realm of possibility.
OUR READ: A VOYAGE INTO THE FANTASTIC