April 23, 2012 Flamboyant and confident, Marilyn Monroe oozed sex appeal. But in Joyce Carol Oates' Blonde, we see a woman overshadowed by her onscreen persona. Author Manuel Munoz says the novel gives a glimpse into the star's interior life. Have a favorite book about a celebrity? Tell us in the comments.
April 12, 2012 There are many books set in the so-called City of Light, but author Rosecrans Baldwin says that none are quite as charming as The Dud Avocado. Have a favorite tale set in France? Let us know what it is in the comments.
February 22, 2012 If someone's not being killed or beaten, he's being shaken down, spied on, bedded, or seduced in James Ellroy's American Tabloid. Author Adam Levin says it will have you admiring J. Edgar Hoover's sleazy connivances and cheering for the violent downfall of the Kennedys.
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 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 9, 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 2, 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 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 12, 2011 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.
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.