February 20, 2012 How much do we read into ourselves when we write a diary? Author Patrick DeWitt recommends the dark, deep journal of a man suffering from a nervous breakdown.
February 14, 2012 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.
February 6, 2012 In historical fiction, the facts draw the reader in, making the world of the novel believable. That's the lesson author Eva Stachniak learned from The Beginning of Spring, a Penelope Fitzgerald novel that immerses readers in the lives of its Russian characters.
January 30, 2012 Margaret Atwood's novel Cat's Eye is as philosophical as it is emotional, as poetic as it is psychological. Its story of an abusive friendship helped author Margaux Fragoso to recover from a relationship with a toxic frenemy.
January 26, 2012 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.
January 19, 2012 When Roya Hakakian moved from Iran to the U.S., she didn't think any poet in her adopted country could top the ones whose work she grew up with. But then she discovered a piece that blew away her prejudices. It was "My Papa's Waltz" by Theodore Roethke.
January 12, 2012 Can a book of elegies rise above maudlin morbidity? Author Stewart O'Nan says yes — and he recommends a great one by Christie Hodgen. It's a book that will break your heart, and warm your soul.
January 3, 2012 Author Alex Gilvarry recommends Max Frisch's I'm Not Stiller, a novel that intertwines a classic tale of mistaken identity with high comedy and postwar seriousness.
December 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.
December 19, 2011 As a journalist and author looking for some inspiration, Jill Abramson looked to James Thurber. His description of working for storied editor Harold Ross isn't just hilarious; it's an illuminating look at an important journalistic icon.
December 5, 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.
November 16, 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.
November 4, 2011 Love is a many splendored thing ... or is it? Author Eleanor Henderson, once admittedly infatuated with the writings of her teacher, Robert Cohen, insists that you must read The Varieties of Romantic Experience — his collection of tumultuous tales of love and the struggles that lie therein.
October 14, 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.
October 12, 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.