We start this ABC Staff Picks with an unusual choice: a cookbook!

In recent years, we’ve seen many fandom cookbooks showing up on our shelves, and even though we might be a bit skeptical, many are actually quite good. Think about cookbooks based on TV series, games and, yes, even books!.

Luke picks The Unofficial Sims Cookbook, featuring recipes from the famous computer game. We even used to sell CD-ROMs of the game in the store way back when everybody was playing it. You might think they can’t be serious, but the recipes in this and most fandom cookbooks are actually seriously well-thought and quite good.

Lília is homing in on The Murderbot Diaries series by Martha Wells, which starts with All Systems Red. Although it took her some time to dig into the series, Lília is now hooked on it, as is Iris. Most of the books are novellas, which are digestible bite-sized chunks: quick to read and enjoy. Even though they are full of action, the stories are brimming with introspection. They are both fun and serious, making you laugh and think about life and the universe at the same time. What else could you want from a book?

The Boy, the Mole, the Fox and the Horse is Shirley’s pick, both the original illustrated edition and the new – connected to the animated film – illustrated version. According to Shirley, it is a modern classic, for both kids and adults, and it has a Winnie the Pooh vibe and wisdom.

Jesmae suggests two books, one she read herself and one featuring in her new biography section.

Love, Pamela is Pamela Anderson’s biography. A1990’s icon, she tells her story from growing up in a small town to coming of age and multiple traumas and escapades in Hollywood.. With this book she reclaims her own narrative instead of letting the world decide who she is and what she can do with her life.

Medusa by Jessie Burton is one of those titles where you ask yourself: is this fiction or fantasy? Medusa flips the Greek myth in a an fascinating take on the heroine’s story. It is a deserving retelling, painting a more human Medusa than the monster we’ve come to know. How has she become that monster? This new trend of retelling stories and myths of “evil” characters is fun and sheds a new light.

Iris M. presents Salto & Ubba Book 1 and Salto & Ubba 2 by Wilbert van der Steen. The stories center around the relationship between Salto and Ubba and their friends. An important theme is realizing one’s dreams. The series also talks about body positivity, and open communication is key. These books are slices in the life of a gay couple.

Both volumes have been printed on our EBM – Espresso Book Machine – Betty, in Amsterdam. They are in color and beautifully made, worth the read. Originally released in Dutch, the author decided to also print them in English and came to us. We sell them in our stores, so if you’d like to read them and they’re not available, we can print them for you as quickly as possible!

And if you’re interested in knowing more about Betty and all our publishing possibilities, visit the publishing page on our website: ABC Betty.

Iris W. suggests The Adventures of Amina Al-Sirafi by Shannon Chakraborty.. It tells the story of a middle-aged woman who has a child and a past and is drawn back to the pirate life she left behind. It addresses an older character who is not as quick or fit as your usual young hero, making the story a lot more real and interesting. The setting is also different from the typical European seas, as all its adventures happen in the Indian Ocean, where many different cultures, religions and languages mix. It also has heist vibes, something Iris really loves. She simply says: “Go read it!”

Shannon Chakraborty is mostly known for her Daevabad trilogy, but this new book, in spite of being the first in a new series, can also be read as a stand-alone.

And since it’s Oscars time, Jonna suggests Red Carpet Oscars by Dijanna Mulhearn. It’s a big book, presenting Oscars fashion from its beginning in 1929 through 2022. It has beautiful pictures of red carpet fashion and entries showing how much it has changed and evolved through the years. But most importantly, it tells us about those moments lost in time: the inspiration for Marilyn Monroe’s signature bombshell looks, the symbolism behind Halle Berry’s dress for her 2002 Oscar win and much more. It’s a comprehensive chronological survey of Hollywood’s most famous red carpet looks and the reasons behind them.