Amanda Hesser



The food columnist and author of the The Essential New York Times Cookbook on a trio of her favorite novels.



After Amanda Hesser’s New York Times Magazine columns, chronicling her courtship with her future husband through the medium of the meals she prepared for him, were collected as the wryly charming memoir Cooking for Mr. Latte, the author undertook a project of far vaster scope: cooking and recipe-testing her way through the immense archive of recipes published in the Times over a century and a half.  The result, The Essential New York Times Cookbook, draws upon recipes from the Gilded Age to the 21st century, compiling a tome equally appealing to cooks and readers. To mark the occasion, Amanda Hesser told us about three of her favorite reads.


Books by Amanda Hesser





Watership Down

By Richard Adams


"I became deeply attached to this fugitive group of rabbits and their heroic efforts to establish a new warren."







The Transit of Venus

By Shirley Hazzard


"Shirley Hazzard's writing has great economy—with seemingly little effort, she manages to lead you through the complex trajectory of two Australian sisters' foredoomed love affairs."






Pig Earth

By John Berger


"I read Pig Earth shortly after college, when I was living in Europe, and its depiction of the life and hardships of French farmers aroused in me a lasting interest in peasant culture and farm life."


April 21: " 'Pull' includes 'invitations to tea' at which one hears smiling reminders that a better life is available to people who stop talking about massacres..."

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.