The Widow Clicquot
by Tilar J. Mazzeo (Collins, $26)
Tilar Mazzeo has just the right touch for a business biography about a heroine of the Champagne industry, said Julia Flynn Siler in The Wall Street Journal. The titular “widow Clicquot” was just 27 in 1805 when she began transforming “a struggling family business into one of the great Champagne houses of France.” Little is known about Clicquot’s personal life, but Mazzeo generates “intoxicating” drama from her subject’s risk-taking and finds color in the history of Veuve Clicquot and the lore of sparkling wine.
by Jennifer McLagan (Ten Speed, $32.50)
Here’s a cookbook destined to be an award winner in the culinary world, said Janet K. Keeler in the St. Petersburg, Fla., Times. This “well-researched and beautifully photographed volume, from the author of 2005’s Bones, champions an ingredient that’s been unfairly maligned for years. We didn’t really need Jennifer McLagan’s medical evidence to convince us of fat’s merits, though: “She had us at cookies made with bacon grease.”
Seven Days in the Art World
by Sarah Thornton (Norton, $25)
This whirlwind tour of the contemporary-art world already feels like a historical artifact, said Gilbert Cruz in Time. Art-market prices were still stratospheric when Thornton parachuted in on an auction at Christie’s and on the unveiling of a mammoth Takashi Murakami sculpture. Now, like everything else, prices have crashed. But because she allows us “to both laugh at and empathize with” people for whom art functions as religion, even readers who normally “couldn’t care less” about this insular subculture will find sights worth seeing.
by Tony Faber (Random House, $30)
Fabergé wasn’t always a name associated with “a line of midmarket toiletries,” said Maria Puente in USA Today. In the most detailed book yet about the 50 “fantastically gaudy” Easter eggs created by the 19th century’s most famous jeweler, Tony Faber revisits czarist Russia and the “happy vulgarity” of the ruling aesthetic. The story of those eggs is largely “about the collecting mania—the thrill of the chase.” Are they worthy of such obsessive attention? Faber lets you decide.