Do you know a history buff with a sense of humor? That person should already have a copy of Kate Beaton’s first book, Hark! A Vagrant! Now Beaton brings us Step Aside, Pops (Drawn and Quarterly, $19.95) with all new strips featuring The Black Prince, Ida B. Wells, Emperor Maximilian, racist suffragettes, and a highly disgruntled Wonder Woman. Beaton is a master of three-panel cartoons: her drawing is loose and expressive, and her humor as silly, surreal, and angry as ever. Anyone who can read Step Aside, Pops without laughing out loud at least eight times is more to be pitied than censured. Plus, most of her characters have crazy eyes—who doesn’t like crazy eyes? If you want to sit on the sofa and chortle until it’s time to catch the plane back home—you see the holidays rollin’ up, you Step Aside, Pops. (Spoiler alert: Pops doesn’t step aside; he gets run over by an insolent velocipedestrienne.)
It is possible to have taste buds and a heart, a fact seldom acknowledged by chefs. The vegan mantra at most restaurants is, “I guess I’ll have the garden salad.” Eventually, some chefs achieve enlightenment and give us what we really want: fricassee of morels and fava beans with coconut taro purée, or perhaps charred corn ravioli with basil fondue. Delicious choices abound in Great Chefs Cook Vegan (Gibbs Smith, $35) by Linda Long. Twenty-five chefs, among them Jean-Georges Vongerichten, José Andrés, and Charlie Trotter, contributed recipes—all of which have been mouthwateringly photographed. It’s rabbit food for the world’s most sophisticated bunnies.