E. L. Doctorow

Works that illuminate the mind at play and the body under stress.


Few writers have had a larger influence on American letters in the last half-century than E. L. Doctorow. In novels like  RagtimeBilly Bathgate and The March, the lives of ordinary citizens collide with events that will dwell in the nation's memory. His recent book of new and collected stories, All the Time in the World, yields the penetrating moral investigations that characterize all of the author's work.  Here, E.L. Doctorow recommends three books that expand our understanding of the mind's grasp and ambition's reach.


Books by E. L. Doctorow




Betraying Spinoza: The Renegade Jew Who Gave Us Modernity

By Rebecca Newberger Goldstein


"A highly personal consideration of the life and work of the great excommunicated Jewish secularist philosopher, I found it insightful and eloquently presented."





Proust Was a Neuroscientist

By Jonah Lehrer


"This is an original study of the poets, novelists, painters, and composers whose work anticipated the discoveries of contemporary cognitive science. A convincing case for the prophetic capacities of art."






South: The Endurance Expedition

By Ernest Shackleton


"Depicts Shackleton's disastrous transcontinental voyage across Antarctica -- how he and his men were stranded and the harrowing super-human means by which they survived their years on the ice and returned to civilization. This is a painfully beautiful work."


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.