As 2020 draws to a close, with most of this year's new books stretched out before us, Smithsonian magazine's editors and writers have clear favorites. When searching for new recipes to test in our quarantine kitchens, we turned to Sami Tamimi and Tara Wigley's Falastin and Joe Yonan's Cool Beans—the latter helping with all the beans we panic-purchased early in the pandemic. In Jia Lynn Yang's One Mighty and Irresistible Tide and Isabel Wilkerson's Caste, we found context for current events. Wally Koval's Accidentally Wes Anderson and Gina Rae La Cerva's Feasting Wild provided some much-needed armchair travel. And Eva Holland's Nerve left us feeling more scientifically equipped to face our fears.

So, whether you're doing some holiday shopping or looking for your own next read, consider our thoughtfully curated lists.

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