A Few New Reads to Encourage Us to Eat Healthier Comfort Foods, Enhance Our Mental Acuity and Spark Renewed Joy

Comfort & joy.

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  • Edited by
    Michele Garber

Vegan, at Times: 120+ Recipes for Everyday or Every So Often

By Jessica Seinfeld

We hear a lot these days about the wonders of plant-based diets and their myriad health benefits. Yet most of us aren’t game for becoming full-fledged vegans. Jessica Seinfeld isn’t a steadfast vegan. Neither are her husband and children. Yet she enthusiastically infuses many home-cooked meals with flavorful vegan dishes that please her whole family. In her newest cookbook, the best-selling author shares with readers how easy it is to prepare delicious plant-based meals—whether daily, weekly or on occasion. Along with step-by-step recipes, she includes insights on creating a vegan pantry, what essential ingredients and equipment to have on hand, and how to combine recipes to create a vegan menu and a healthier home.

Beginners: The Joy and Transformative Power of Lifelong Learning

By Tom Vanderbilt

In his new book, journalist Tom Vanderbilt tackles a common question: why so many of us stop learning new skills as we age. Inspired by his young daughter’s insatiable curiosity while simultaneously finding himself in a mid-career rut, he embarked on a self-described year of learning dangerously, tackling five new skills purely for the joy and challenge of learning them. While dodging scorpions at surf camp, singing Spice Girls in an amateur choir and losing chess matches to 8-year-olds, he also interviewed experts on the scientific benefits of becoming an adult beginner. Tom reveals how learning new skills refreshed his sense of curiosity and opened him up to profound happiness. He shares how small acts of reinvention can make life more magical for all of us.

Joy: Life Lessons from a Tuscan Villa

By Debbie Travis

Over a decade ago, lifestyle guru Debbie Travis transformed a neglected 13th-century farmhouse into Villa Reniella, a magnificent Tuscan retreat. She has been welcoming guests ever since and over the years has marveled at their metamorphosis during just a week’s stay. In her ninth book, Debbie reveals the secrets of the dolce vita and the dolce far niente—the quintessential Italian lifestyle that leads to fabled Tuscan longevity. Along with her friend and noted nutritional therapist Jacky Brown, Debbie shares the simple habits and pleasures of her Tuscan neighbors that have sparked the remarkable transformation within her guests. Her 10 essential lessons of the Tuscan lifestyle—from learning to eat and drink like an Italian, getting a better night’s rest and rediscovering one’s purpose to simply making life a little sweeter—will guide her readers to creating their own enhanced joy.