I rather enjoyed Real American Breakfast! Mollie Katzen has a new 'all day breakfast' book out now that quitepossibly rivals the Jamsions.
As for reference, the New Pro Chef is great, but (and don't shoot me for this one...) Wolke's What Einstein Told His Cook is fantastic! And not because he was a professor at the school I went to. Eisnstein is insightful, a bit laughable and sophisticated without being pretentious. I am rooting for Robert Wolke!
Every recipe I have tried from "Real American Breakfast", admittedly not a huge number, has been great. And yes, there is baking in the book. I am at a library so don't have the book in front of me, but my impression is that there were both recipes for bread as well as other baked goods. In addition many of the dishes would work well for lunch and maybe even as side dish for dinner! In short, I like the book!
Aside from that, I am rooting for Zuni Cafe. In addition to wonderful recipes, it is fun to read. You don't have to be systematic about reading it either -- virtually every page has something interesting.
Paris Sweets is also delightful, though it would have been more appealing with pictures to show what the end product is supposed to look like. But then, the cost of the book would have been higher ...
Yay Crescent Dragonwagon! She's like a modern-day MFK Fischer, only less judgemental... and the recipes are good too. Love this book so much I've ordered a hardcover for myself, and I'm going to send the trade paperback to my sister for her birthday.
Well, since I tend to buy books either AS SOON AS they come out, or after they've been out for years and years, no. It's more because they intrigue me, or because they are "tried and true" on their topics. But I'm always thrilled when a new one that I adore wins big -- in this case, Vegetables from Aramanth to Zucchini, which I bought because I so loved Uncommon Fruits and Vegetables. It actually won three awards, and I could not be happier. Even if it does not have a recipe I want to make for a particular veg, it tells where to look in other books, and that has been very helpful. (Such as with cardoons.)
I truly could not cook without either of those two of Elizabeth Schneider's books. I tend to buy produce that looks interesting in all ethnicities of markets, whether or not even I know it is, and then look it up when I get home. I don't think I've ever been disappointed when I looked in one of her books. GO FOR IT.