Allegra Goodman



The author of The Cookbook Collector recommends three contemporary classics.



Allegra Goodman's career as a storyteller started early—her first published short story was accepted by Commentary magazine the day she arrived for her freshman year at Harvard. Six novels and a short story collection later, she's widely recognized as one of the most intriguing voices in contemporary fiction. Our reviewer called her latest novel The Cookbook Collector "a delectable mix of intelligence, relevance, wit, romance, moral complexity, bibliophilia, dot-com startups, and family secrets." Here, Allegra Goodman shares three of her favorite reads.


Books by Allegra Goodman




Wolf Hall

By Hilary Mantel


"Wolf Hall is a historical novel set in England during the Anne Boleyn crisis. This is a period much discussed and dramatized, but Mantel tells the tale of Henry VIII and his divorce from the point of view of Thomas Cromwell, the king's lawyer. Mantel's prose is gorgeous, her scenes breathtaking, her protagonist flawed, pragmatic and mesmerizing. This is the best historical novel I've ever read, and I can't wait for the sequel."





By Marilynne Robinson


"Gilead is a novel you'll want to read slowly. It casts such a spell. You don't want it to end. Written as a kind of ethical will from father to young son, this is a book about memory, history, sin, and redemption. The book is like poetry—rigorous, heartfelt. Brings tears to your eyes."





Never Let Me Go

By Kazuo Ishiguro


"This dystopian novel by Kazuo Ishiguro is a profound meditation on conformity, sacrifice, and identity. It's also a psychological thriller. You care so much about the characters, and you keep hoping for them. Can they escape? Can they find out the truth? I am amazed by Ishiguro's understatement and subtlety, his use of silence. Read the book before you see the movie."


April 24: "[The HST] lifted a curtain from our view of the universe, changing it so profoundly that no human can look at the stars in the same way..."

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.