Some travel books are less about travel—that is a specific itinerary and perambulation—than about an intense experience of a particular place. I think of this as both an inner and an outer journey; what is illuminated is the landscape and the people—the place rather than the traveler or the trip.
Roman KrznaricI have a slight allergy to all those self-help books that offer tips and tricks for graduates on how to write the perfect résumé or shine in job interviews. What really matters, I believe, is delving into books that help you think hard about your values and talents, and how your career might fit into your wider philosophy of life.
As an author of narrative history, I read a lot of history books. What follows is a list of the books I find myself returning to years after I first read them.The Powerbroker: Robert Moses and the Fall of New York By Robert CaroI first read this in the early 1980s when I was a sailing journalist living in Manhattan’s Upper West Side.
The Female Eunuch by Germaine GreerThis was the first feminist book I ever read. It was l970 and I was in my late 20s, working as a journalist. The Female Eunuch showed me the power of articulate, smart, and humorous language to express the anger I felt at the male establishment.
Payment Deferred By C.S. Forester One of the best suspense stories ever written. The reader feels the fear and dread of the killer and the ending is a magnificent twist. Fallen By Karin Slaughter Karin Slaughter always grabs you on the first line and never lets go.
I have always loved reading writers on writing, and the lectures they give especially. The fact that these are typically addressed to a particular audience, and in response to a particular need or occasion seem to give the writers a special license, with results for the reader that are a bit like a raft trip.
The cover is green linen with the title printed in forest green letters, A Field Guide to Western Birds. An imprint of a swift appears as the heart of the book. The backside of the book offers a seven-inch ruler to gauge the size of any bird viewed.
Here are my picks for five majorly sexy and erotic novels involving interesting and complex characters and a ton of erotic sex. Get reading and have fun!Portnoy’s Complaint by Philip RothWhen Portnoy’s was first published in 1969 it sparked much controversy and turned Roth into a major celebrity.
Sarah Manguso’s latest book might be subtitled An Elegy for a Friend, but it is also a memoir about her grief. The Guardians tells the story of Harris, Manguso’s best friend who escaped from a psychiatric hospital and jumped under a train.
Sabbath’s Theater By Philip RothThis is one of Roth’s best, and master of puppets Mickey Sabbath is a beautiful outrage. You will never feel the same way again about art, death, love, and sniffing your friend’s daughter’s underwear.
Fun Home By Alison BechdelBechdel’s graphic novel is a gripping exploration of her father’s hidden sexuality and ambiguous death, and the effects that the tortuous course of his life—and her parents’ fraught marriage—had on her own emerging identity.
Who I Am By Pete TownshendThe great tilter at, and of, windmills is a wonderfully literate commentator not only on his own turbo-charged band but the generally turbulent milieu of rock and roll. We might not be in the least surprised that he’s been banned for life from Holiday Inns because of leaving a Lincoln Continental in a swimming pool, but we might be ever so slightly surprised that he held the Everly Brothers in such esteem.
The Trinity By St. AugustineAugustine, the only major thinker of Late Antiquity who was monolingual (Latin) and could not read the original Trinitarian speculations of the Greek Fathers, so he had to look inside himself for the image of God.
I did not come to essay writing immediately, but fell in love with the form after fiddling around with fiction and poetry, even publishing books in those two genres. In time I came to see the essay as so capacious and flexible that it could accommodate the storytelling impulse of fiction and the associative, quicksilver moves of poetry, enabling me to draw on my training in both.
Slouching Towards Bethlehem by Joan DidionI read this in Glasgow in one big sitting when I was a teenager, and I couldn’t speak for like a week and a half. These essays capture the moral temperament of the 1960s and the weather as well as the inner life of the author.
Need a book recommendation? We get asked all the time. But look no further, because here's our answer. We've left the task to the experts: every week, great writers pick their favorite books and tell you why they are must-reads. What are you waiting for?
The Daily Beast picks the best journalism from around the web this week. By David Sessions.