1. Climbing the Mango Trees - A Memoir of a Childhood In India by Madhur Jaffrey - Jaffrey's World of The East Vegetarian Cookbook was one of my first, 20+ years ago and still useful today; her autobiography gives an amazing glimpse into the world and food of an upper class Indian family around the time of Partition.
2. Best Food Writing 2009 - edited by Holly Hughes - I read this annual compendium every year; it is one of the best ways to get an overview of all the great things happening in the culinary world, and the writing is often terrific.
3. Bakewise - by Shirley O. Corriher - Corriher does a good, popular job of explaining baking science and applying it with recipes that have been turning out mostly great for me.