As someone who wants to be more than a dabbler in cooking, I have to say that this book is absolutely superb. The recipes clearly walk you through the processes and are written in such a way as to inspire confidence in one's abilities rather than terror at one's perceived inadequacies. Even better is the fact that you can actually sit down and take pleasure in simply reading through. It serves to put you at your ease, and - certainly in my opinion - the warm anecdotes, stories and suggestions for cullinary sourcing are a much better use of space than pictures of the results of every recipe. I find that pictures engender an unrealistic expectation - certainly nothing that I have prepared ever looks as good as the picture on the pages of the recipe book, hardly surprising when they are usually created by professional chefs and photographed by professional photographers, both of whose jobs are to make the subject as artistic and perfect as possible. You end up feeling disappointed, which does little to assist in your appreciation of the food. This book avoids all that in favour of reassuring you that one's first pancake or blini is invariably a disaster, but once the first is out of the way, it gets better.
IIf you are looking for an invaluable kitchen companion, then this would be my first recommendation. Read it cover to cover, don't just flick through for the recipes, you miss so much that way. There's simple, everyday suggestions scattered throughout what some seem to think of as filler text.