Matching longjohns. Kicklines in skis. Peeing on Santa's lap. Every family has these cringe-worthy moments, immortalized on film, that embody the particularly joyous brand of awkward that the holidays bring. And thanks to Mike Bender, co-author of Awkward Family Holiday Photos, the rest of us can rubberneck.
A cookie in the oven almost looks like a monster coming alive. It bulges out, triples in size and then stiffens into a crisp biscuit. So how does an oven turn raw dough into a delight? A new animation explains the chemistry behind great baking so you, too, can unleash your inner mad scientist in the kitchen.
South Africa's Mponeng gold mine is a 2.5-mile-deep network of chutes and tunnels that employs about 4,000 miners. Of course, that number doesn't include the miners who wander its tunnels clandestinely, stealing and refining ore. In a new book, journalist Matthew Hart investigates why gold and crime sometimes go hand in hand.
Isabel Greenberg's new Encyclopedia of Early Earth weaves a human love story into a quasi-Biblical creation tale, full of capricious gods, feckless shamans and more-or-less doomed love. Reviewer Glen Weldon says the graphic novel is full of tasty visual gags, and "lands with an emotional impact you likely won't see coming."
In softcover fiction, Ellen Meister resurrects a literary icon, Ryan McIlvain sends elders door to door, and William H. Gass strikes the key to an identity crisis. In nonfiction, Monte Reel tells of the Victorian who chased after gorillas, and Bill Streever explores the thermometer's upper frontiers.