Where Bourdain's prose was like someone pirouetting around an abbatoir with a chainsaw, Buford is more measured, offering the inquisitive view of a middle aged ingenu. In the end it gives us a better picture of how a great restaurant kitchen really feels.
Heidi Holland's biography of Robert Mugabe does something deeply unsettling - it makes one feel the dictator's pain.
The blurb would have us believe that as Benedict Allen and his team of huskies plunge over a precipice, the author asks himself: 'why do explorers put themselves in such dangerous situations? And â€“ once the worst possible situation occurs â€“ how do they find the resources to survive?â€™
It's a paradox that would bother Lord Reith or William Russell were they alive today.
"I am a woodlander; I have sap in my veins," Roger Deakin writes. The late author is on a mission to get to the heart of something huge and elemental - to understand not just trees, but the very essence of wood.
There's a perception that children's literature involves endless picnics where the strawberry jam and lashings of ginger beer never run out.
Stress is a word we throw around like confetti, yet no one knows or cares much what it means. "It's like defining sex, it's pretty impossible," says the managing director of a company selling stress tests.
In a pretentious moment, one might call Hardy a writer of terroir. Far From the Madding Crowd, while lacking the tragic grandeur of Tess, Jude or The Woodlanders, is the first novel to refer to Wessex by name.
That there were once 300 of these quasi-socialist experiments in public leisure, and that there remain fewer than a hundred, reveals much about how our municipal culture has changed.
Throughout this memoir, Egeland presents himself as one of the more assertive elements in the UN, who likes to "speak truth to power".