Five Best: Books on the Soviet Era in Sports

Five Best: Books on the Soviet Era in Sports

1. In 2022, the 15-year-old figure skater Kamila Valieva led the Russian team to Olympic gold, only to test positive for a banned substance. After her mistake-riddled solo program her coach demanded, “Why did you stop fighting? Explain it to me, why?” Tim Harte’s comprehensive history of Russia’s relationship to sports places the skating coach’s … Read more

Two Books on Orchids – WSJ

Two Books on Orchids – WSJ

“Raw sexuality” . . . “carnality” . . . “luscious scents” . . . And that’s just the first paragraph of Erica Hannickel’s lively “Orchid Muse: A History of Obsession in Fifteen Flowers.” Nothing brings out plant lust like the orchid. Ms. Hannickel, a professor of environmental history at Northland College who has previously written … Read more

Holiday Gift Books: Mystery – WSJ

Holiday Gift Books: Mystery – WSJ

“A Christmas Deliverance” is Anne Perry’s latest annual fable of the triumph of love and hope over doom and darkness in Victorian England. Its principal hero is Dr. Crowe, a somber, unmarried Londoner who strides his Thames neighborhood “as though he were a gentleman fallen on hard times.” The doctor runs a clinic for the … Read more

Holiday Gift Books: Food – WSJ

Holiday Gift Books: Food – WSJ

Consider the omelette, the egg dish that reveals as it conceals. A gentle French fold pocketing chopped fines herbes. The ubiquitous diner special, redolent of America itself: overstuffed and slightly overcooked. Where there are eggs, there is the promise of an omelette: frittata, egg foo yung, omurice; Spanish tortillas, Filipino tortangs, Indian poros. A most … Read more

Holiday Gift Books: Photography – WSJ

Holiday Gift Books: Photography – WSJ

Veritas Editions Beauty is in disrepute; “Impermanence” (Veritas Editions, 324 pages, $135) by Kenro Izo, restores it to our souls. Mr. Izu, now 73, uses an enormous view camera, a 14 x 20-inch Deardorff, to take very long exposures in dim light; this produces black-and-white images of exquisite detail. He shoots classic subjects like nudes, … Read more

Holiday Gift Books: Music – WSJ

Holiday Gift Books: Music – WSJ

Music: The Definitive Visual History By the Editors at DK DK 480 pages We may earn a commission when you buy products through the links on our site. Something to savor this holiday season is “Music,” Dorling Kindersley’s “visual history” of the subject from its beginnings to the present day. How does a single volume … Read more

Holiday Gift Books: Nature – WSJ

Holiday Gift Books: Nature – WSJ

Any book that opens in an Indian temple seething with sacred rats holds my attention. Bethany Brookshire’s “Pests: How Humans Create Animal Villains” examines how human attitudes shape our perception and treatment of the animals that encroach upon our spaces. Humans bring animal hitchhikers along wherever we go. Nowhere are the unintended consequences of these … Read more

Holiday Gift Books: Science – WSJ

Holiday Gift Books: Science – WSJ

In a speech to the United Nations in September 1963, President John F. Kennedy suggested that the Soviets and Americans should collaborate on a mission to the moon. The U.S.S.R. was at the time far ahead in the space race, having put into orbit the first artificial satellite (Sputnik), the first living being (a dog), … Read more

Holiday Gift Books: Business – WSJ

Holiday Gift Books: Business – WSJ

“The Brompton” is a wonderful account of a British company that makes a folding commuter bicycle. The primary author, Will Butler-Adams, is the chief executive of Brompton Bicycle and a chartered engineer. The text, edited and arranged by economist Dan Davies, proceeds clearly, mechanically, every line and word snapping into place. The Brompton: Engineering for … Read more