November 28, 2011 As it turns out, Raymond Chandler isn't the only writer who can channel the dark charisma of deceptively sunny California. Author Hector Tobar recommends John Fante's Ask the Dust, a novel that captures the grit and glamor of Los Angeles' past.
November 14, 2011 The best books don't just get inside a character's psyche, they get in the reader's head, as well. Author Ismet Prcic recommends Irvine Welsh's Marabou Stork Nightmares, a funny, provocative, cerebral novel that explores the meaning of violence.
October 27, 2011 Can the mishaps of three seriously misguided Victorian gentlemen still provoke laughter? More than 120 years after its first edition, author Julia Stuart says Jerome K. Jerome's classic caper, Three Men in a Boat, is still a delightful read.
October 24, 2011 In the bucolic setting of The Twin by Gerbrand Bakker, the joys and pitfalls of sibling rivalry are given new life. Author Amy Waldman says the book's sparse prose and stark setting provide the backdrop for a moving story of familial resentment.
October 10, 2011 Homage to the Iliad lingers in literature even today, but most retellings do not live up to the grandeur of their ancient ancestor. Author Dawn Tripp recommends a rare find that does measure up — the haunting Homeric novel Ransom, by David Malouf.
October 5, 2011 The romantic power of words has the uncanny ability to lead us through the aches and pains of growing up. Author Leah Hager Cohen recommends Brian Hall's The Saskiad, a coming-of-age tale with a bookish twist.
September 26, 2011 Critics originally described it as a "housewife's choice" when it won the Booker Prize in 1987, but the feisty female protagonist in Penelope Lively's Moon Tiger is a "little wife" to no one. Author Moni Mohsin explains why the unexpected verve of this novel is worth its weight in pages.
September 22, 2011 Set amid an imaginary world of harmony, beauty and intellectual thought, Rokeya Sakhawat Hossain's story Sultana's Dream only had one catch — no men. Author Tahmima Anam explains why it remains one of her favorite feminist pieces.
September 15, 2011 Robert Stone's characters fall all over the moral spectrum, but between a revolutionary nun, a treacherous spy and an alienated anthropologist, they certainly make for good reading. Author Roland Merullo recommends Stone's A Flag for Sunrise, a rich depiction of Central America in the turbulent '70s.
September 13, 2011 In his beautifully illustrated book, The Arrival, Shaun Tan depicts the struggle of immigration — without a language barrier. Author Ruta Sepetys explains how a wordless story can say so much.
September 11, 2011 The rolling green hills and charming villages of the English countryside have inspired many a contemplative novel. Author Jesse Browner describes why none are quite so lovely as J.L. Carr's A Month in the Country.
September 5, 2011 Author Marc Kaufman recommends this tale of an explorer on the hunt for a rare animal — and something more. The Snow Leopard shows that while we can't always find what we're looking for, we still get what we need.
September 1, 2011 For a writer, each novel is a labor of love. But what about the reader's toil? Author Jesmyn Ward explains why the beautiful and brutal Death in Spring, by Catalan author Merce Rodoreda, is worth its weight in trials and tribulations.
August 29, 2011 The sound of the sea, the smell of rain — what makes Ireland such a magical place? Maybe its writers like Claire Keegan who tease the nuance and grace out of everyday interactions. Author Keith Donohue says each of Keegan's stories is a morsel worth savoring.
August 2, 2011 It's easy to become resentful when life is too mundane or throws an unsavory curveball. Author Monica Ali knows that sometimes we need to get a fresh perspective. For this she insists you read One Day in the Life of Ivan Denisovich by Alexander Solzhenitsyn.