Three new little books gather up traditional culture and knowledge.
Bring Back Beatrice! 1,108 Baby Names With Meaning, Character and a Little Bit of Attitude (Workman) by Jennifer Griffin frowns on made-up spellings (and names) when there are so many fine monikers from different cultures available; with histories of names and lots of fun factoids.
Home Economics: Vintage Advice and Practical Science for the 21st-Century Household (Quirk) by Jennifer McKnight Trontz is a pocket-sized stand-in for the home ec classes every school used to teach, with tips on everything from how to plan a buffet to how to bathe a baby.
Wicked Good Words: From Johnnycakes to Jug Handles, a Roundup of America's Regionalisms (Perigee) by Mim Harrison is a fascinating survey of idioms — don't plotz if someone in Maryland says "mung you," and be sure to order your enchiladas "Christmas style" in New Mexico.
Colette Bancroft, Times book editor