Independence Day

A historical, biographical, and literary celebration.



Inventing America

By Garry Wills


One of our foremost political historians compares Jefferson's initial draft of the Declaration of Independence with the final document, uncovering a far different original intent than the final version shows and offering readers a fresh perspective on both the Declaration and Jefferson's political thinking.






By David McCullough


The award-winning historian restores to the fateful year its perilous immediacy and heroic human dimension. Detailing how military mishaps early in 1776 were salvaged by the great American victory at Trenton, McCullough draws an especially vivid portrait of George Washington and the revolutionaries who answered his call.




Independence Day

By Richard Ford


In this Pulitzer Prize-winner, Ford follows middle-aged realtor Frank Bascombe through the course of a fateful July 4th weekend as he struggles with work, ex-wife, girlfriend, and children. Its deceptively casual literary art makes this one of the most engaging, valuable, and telling novels of the past two decades.





American Sphinx

By Joseph J. Ellis


In his insightful portrait of the most intellectually complicated of the Founders, Ellis reveals the character of Thomas Jefferson while explaining the intellectual currents that influenced his thought, detailing his debt to political thinkers of the European Enlightenment. Winner of a 1997 National Book Award.




American Scripture 

By Pauline Maier


Maier's brilliant intellectual history of America's founding document traces the roots and branches of the Declaration from its drafting through its sanctification in the nineteenth century and its enduring significance. Along the way, it illuminates many of the ideas and events that have shaped our national identity.


April 16: ""Blue pottery vases and bowls for flowers are most attractive, and certain blue books...will repeat and emphasize color."

Donna Tartt's The Goldfinch is the winner of the 2014 Pulitzer Prize for Fiction. James Parker calls this Dickensian coming-of-age novel "an enveloping…

Books, CDs, DVDs to know about now
Poems That Make Grown Men Cry

And women too.  Luminaries from Colin Firth to Nick Cave and Jonathan Franzen chose the poems that bring them to tears, and the result is a stunning collection of poignant verse from writers like Auden, Whitman, Bishop, Larkin, Neruda and many others.  Warning: choking-up hazard.

The King of Pain

Trapped beneath his entertainment system, reality TV mastermind Rick Salter reflects on his life and tries to piece together the events of the previous evening. Seth Kaufman’s romp is an outrageous meditation on pain and entertainment in a deranged world in which the two are often interchangeable.

The Good Inn

Frank Black, frontman for the Pixies, has written a transgressive historical fiction with shades of Thomas Pynchon (focused as it is on the history of explosives and cinematic pornography), all set in a hallucinatory Edwardian Europe.