We read cookbooks cover to cover like novels — every page filling our heads with new ideas and ingredient lists, every delicious photo underscoring the urgency. Cookbooks are the obvious teachers of cooks: the subject master, the tutor, the first and always remaining thing that can move our cooking lives forward.
But they're not the only books that have ever taught us about cooking, food, or life and love in the kitchen. How could they be? In fact, we've found inspiration in the most unlikeliest of places, in books that have nothing to do with cooking on the surface, and yet teach us so much within their pages. Here are five favorites.