<p> </p>THE GOOD LIFEAdrian Richardson with Lucy Malouf
Plum, $59.99

Men tend not to watch Nigella for the recipes. So what to buy the bloke getting interested in cooking? Richardson, from Carlton's La Luna, serves fare that is hearty, tasty, healthy and unpretentious. Degrees of difficulty vary, from mashed potatoes to home-made salami. So the beginner is catered for but also the more advanced cook. Veggie options are provided, and also sinful cakes. When we tried a cookbook dinner party challenge (try a recipe, bring a plate), every dish came out just fine. His debut, Meat, is also recommended.
Bryan Gaensler
NewSouth, $29.95
Some people loudly declaim they don't ''get'' science. Others would like to know more but don't know where to start. Astronomer Gaensler has produced a book with a big gosh-wow factor, but also solid information. His thesis is that the universe is stranger and more extreme than we could ever imagine. See the planet that speeds like a hellish bat! The monster star! Or the Oh-My-God Particle! The content is extraordinary but explained easily. The science might be hard but it is an effortless, enjoyable read. An endless source of wonder.
Judith Armstrong
Pier 9, $29.99
In the worst literary husband stakes, Leo Tolstoy is up there with Dickens and Sir Edward Bulwer-Lytton. His marriage to the much younger Sonya was passionate and stormy. She acted as his copyist and bore 13 children. Her diaries colour this closely researched novel: Sonya tells her own story. It reveals a toxic relationship of mutual dependence. The writing is powerful and grim, showing the great writer as egoist and misogynist. Only a strong woman could survive Tolstoy, and Sonya did. Compelling.