Adam Ross

The author recommends three twentieth-century classics.



In his debut novel Mr. Peanut, Adam Ross stunned readers with a preternaturally assured exploration of death and marriage disguised as a police procedural.  Now Ross is back with a collection of short stories, Ladies and Gentlemen, overflowing with cruel characters and mordant plot twists. This week, he recommends three works of fiction from masters of the form.


Books by Adam Ross



Goodbye, Columbus and Five Short Stories

By Philip Roth


"Like golfer Rory McIlroy, certain writers seem to arrive with all the shots in the bag, with unspeakable power and unfair accuracy, a description which fits Roth's debut, written at the tender age of 26, to a tee. His brilliant novella, the title piece, about doomed love, class, and Jewish identity in post-war Newark and Short Hills, New Jersey, displays all his gifts: rapier-sharp comic timing, aching sensuality, and an unmatched command of how people speak. As if this performance weren't enough, he adds five pitch-perfect short stories for an encore, just to show he can. "




By Cormac McCarthy


"People who deem The Road great are late to this writer's party. Before All the Pretty Horses and even his incandescent Blood Meridian, McCarthy wrote this Knoxville picaresque, a comic-epic about Cornelius Suttree, a man who renounces a life of luxury to subsist as a fisherman on the Tennessee River along with the vagrants, fools, and assorted lowlifes haunting its shores. It's his last book about the south, as dark and hallucinatory as it is funny, and may well be his masterpiece."



The Adventures of Augie March

By Saul Bellow


"It's not a perfect book. It's craggy, uneven, and gigantic but so are mountains, and to read it is to be in the presence of a literary eruption. Bellow’s third novel, a Bildungsroman about a Chicago hustler, is not only a love letter to the Windy City but also a novel that threw open the gates to Jewish modernists like Malamud, Heller, and Roth who were looking for ways to describe America with high serious in a new vernacular. You’ll never encounter more memorable characters in a single novel--one of which is an eagle named Caligula--or read a book written with more energy and brio."

April 25: "[S]cience could be like baseball: a young man's game whose stars made their mark in their early twenties."

Kenneth Calhoun (Black Moon) and Lysley Tenorio (Monstress) of the Discover Great New Writers program on B-movies, heritage, and finales.

Books, CDs, DVDs to know about now
In the Light of What We Know

Zia Haider Rahman's mystery of a brilliant Bangladeshi mathematician's past barrels through the Ivy League, London high finance, and spy-haunted Afghanistan in a page-turning tale of exile, intrigue and the price of friendship. A Discover Great New Writers selection.

The People's Platform

Once touted as the foundation for tomorrow's digital democracy, the Internet is increasingly ruled by a few corporate giants, while millions of contributors till its fields for free. Astra Taylor looks at why the web has failed to deliver a communitarian cyberscape, and offers a compelling case for restoring its original vision.

A Private Venus

Dubbed "the Italian Simenon," Giorgio Scerbanenco (1911-1969) began his crime-writing career with books set in the USA, but quickly shifted scene closer to home, the city of Milan.  In this adventure, appearing in English for the first time, his underdog hero Dr. Duca Lamberti finds himself in the middle of a seedy, scantily clad criminal racket, where the presence of an outsider could result in death.