Austin's summer blast furnace has arrived early enough this year that even the thought of cooking could inspire perspiration, but surely reading about food won't make it hard to keep your cool. Some members of the Chronicle Food staff have collected thoughtful recommendations for your summer reading list. With these books, you can venture from the Pacific Northwest to the American South to Italy and deep beyond the Great Wall of China in air-conditioned comfort. And if some of our choices inspire you to cook in spite of the heat, we're convinced the recipes are perspiration-worthy.
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