For courthouse mavens who can't get enough real-life drama comes a first novel from David Lat, founder and editor of the legal news website Above the Law. His Supreme Ambitions (ABA Publishing, to be released in January, $26.95) is a quick read centered on a swarm of federal law clerks and their judges. Lat employs predictable devices, some wisely ironic and others less so ("To be a successful professional woman, you need to be a little monstrous"). But the characters grow more complex and credible as the plot pursues its satisfying conclusion. How to Cook Everything Fast: A Better Way to Cook Great Food (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, $35) is the latest book in the popular series by Mark Bittman, the New York Times food writer and author of more than a dozen cookbooks. It includes tips for making your kitchen more efficient. "Prep" steps show in blue type, "cook" steps in black, and an icon indicates how much time the recipe requires (most take 30 minutes). A perfect gift for the busy lawyer who's tired of takeout. In the children's book Friends for Freedom: The Story of Susan B. Anthony and Frederick Douglass (Charlesbridge, $16.95) author Suzanne Slade and illustrator Nicole Tadgell chronicle the enduring friendship between two 19th-century civil rights icons. Compelling in their own right, Douglass and Anthony also serve here as stand-ins for issues from slavery to political infighting. Slade employs gentle imagery and keeps her young audience in mind at all times ("Worse yet-they fought in public with everyone watching").