Immersion blender and soup cookbook recommendations?

After a rather messy episode yesterday involving making marinara sauce in a food processor, I've decided that it's time to give in and acquire an immersion blender. Does anyone have a recommendation for brands/models that are good, reliable, easy to clean and reasonably priced? I don't usually make gallons of soup at one time, but I tend to make it quite a bit in the winter, so it'll be put through its paces.

On a related note, does anyone have any recommendations for a cookbook that focuses on soups? I'd like to branch out a bit from the two or three that are in my usual repertoire; I'm not vegetarian or vegan, but I am lactose intolerant, so a book that's full of milk- and cream-based soups isn't really for me.

Thanks in advance!


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