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."


July 23: Jessica Mitford died on this day in 1996.

Crime fiction legends Dennis Lehane and Michael Connelly discuss the new book that unites their beloved sleuths Patrick Kenzie and Harry Bosch.

Books, CDs, DVDs to know about now
Paradise and Elsewhere

Canadian short story marvel Kathy Page emerges as the Alice Munro of the supernatural from these heartfelt tales of shapeshifting swimmers, mild-mannered cannibals, and personality-shifting viruses transmitted through kisses.


When a persuasive pastor arrives in a sleepy farm town, his sage influence has otherworldly results (talking sheep, a mayor who walks on water). But can he pull off the miracle of finding kindly local Liz Denny the love of her life?  Small wonder looms large in this charmer from Andre Alexis.

The Hundred-Year House

When a poetry scholar goes digging through the decrepit estate of his wife's family to uncover a bygone arts colony's strange mysteries, he awakens a tenacious monster: his mother-in-law. A wickedly funny take on aging aristocracies from author Rebecca Makkai (The Borrower).