TO SUM UP: From the cotton fields of Azerbaijan to Cambodian factories and American boutiques, Fugitive Denim puts human faces to the cost of our deep blue obsession.
WHY YOU SHOULD READ IT: Because you'll never look at those "Made in" labels the same way again.
THE FABRIC OF OUR LIVES: "No other fabric has held the symbolic fortitude of denim-the rebellion, the anti-establishment rhetoric, the edginess."
Bitter Sweets by Roopa Farooki (St. Martin's Press)
TO SUM UP: This weightless, rolling read follows three generations of the Karim family, who are preoccupied with tradition, duty, and lies.
WHY YOU'LL LIKE IT: It exchanges typical chick-lit tropes-fabulous city jobs and designer-label name-drops-for the dry heat and colorful saris of Dhaka, India, and the damp, gray streets of London.
BEST SCENE, NOT LEAST BECAUSE IT REMINDS US OF LITTLE MISS SUNSHINE: During her grandson's rock band's concert, the vain grandma takes over the stage with a pack of Bangladeshi dancers, while the rest of the screwy, devoted gang looks on.
How to Talk About Books You Haven't Read by Pierre Bayard (Bloomsbury)
TO SUM UP: In this nonfiction wonder, Bayard, a Parisian professor of literature, explains how to appear well-read with the least amount of, well, reading.
WHY YOU'LL LOVE IT: These CliffsNotes extraordinaire will instantly purge your guilt over never having read Proust.
BEST TAKEDOWN OF THE INTELLECTUAL ELITE: "Among specialists, mendacity is the rule, and we tend to lie in proportion to the significance of the book under consideration."