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I’m a sucker for a sweet treat. Always have been. And if it’s something that was created with both skill and love? So much the better.

Perhaps no one in the larger cultural sphere is as currently celebrated for that brand of combined creative prowess than Christina Tosi, perhaps the most famous American pastry chef out there. She’s a two-time James Beard Award winner, the founder and owner of the legendary Milk Bar and author of numerous cookbooks. She also hosts the Netflix series “Bake Squad” and has appeared on numerous other television programs as a guest, judge and/or host.

And now, she’s written a memoir of sorts.

Tosi’s new book is “Dessert Can Save the World: Stories, Secrets, and Recipes for a Stubbornly Joyful Existence” (Harmony, $26). In it, she offers up her own story, one that saw plenty of pitfalls and setbacks as she made her way to the top of the baking world. And yet, her relentless optimism shines through on every page, a joie de vivre in which she fervently expresses her belief that, yes, dessert can indeed change the world.

Interspersed throughout her charming and compelling life’s journey are recipes drawn from particularly salient moments in that journey. Sure, this is a memoir, an account of her personal story, but here’s the thing – that story would not be complete without sharing at least a few of the delectable desserts she made along the way.

Published in Style

We’ve all heard stories – usually intended to be inspirational in some way, shape or form – about people who have died and come back. People who have suffered some sort of catastrophic accident or health-related incident and briefly passed away, only to, through some combination of quality treatment and pure luck, return.

The thing is, that’s often where the story stops – with the return. But what about what happens next? And what about the other people, the friends and family who, if you’ll pardon me, lived through it?

Those questions and their answers serve as the foundation for Drew Magary’s “The Night the Lights Went Out: A Memoir of Life After Brain Damage” (Harmony, $27). It’s the story of a fateful night a few years ago when the author suffered a massive and still-unexplained brain injury, one that led to his brief (but very real) death, followed by a medically-induced coma. It’s also the story of what happened when he woke up, as well as of the people who were there to witness what happened during that stretch of time before he came back. Not to mention his ongoing efforts toward some kind of recovery.

As you might imagine, there’s a lot of darkness to be explored here. And make no mistake – the shadows run deep in some sections of this book. But here’s the thing – Magary has developed a unique voice over his years of online writing (you can currently find him doing his thing on the excellent collectively-owned website Defector, which you should 100% subscribe to), a voice that is sharp and sly and self-aware and perfectly capable of mining humor and heart from the bleakest of ores.

Published in Livin'

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