Three years ago, thirty-year-old JULIE POWELL was a would-be actress working a lousy temp job and living in a lousy Queens apartment. In need of a Great Undertaking, the Austin native decided one night to cook her way through every recipe in Julia Child’s classic Mastering the Art of French Cooking in one year’s time. Her whim begat the Julie/Julia Project blog, which irreverently documented her travails and has now metastasized into the rippingly funny confessional JULIE & JULIA: 365 DAYS, 524 RECIPES, 1 TINY APARTMENT KITCHEN (Little, Brown). Yes, Powell talks a good boeuf bourguignon, but she also riffs at length on her saucy friends, soul-sucking day job, and the breakdowns that threaten to derail the enterprise. Diaries do not get any better than Julie & Julia—like a dose of reality TV with real reality.