Jhumpa Lahiri

Having in recent years claimed the Pulitzer Prize, a PEN/Hemingway Award, and a Guggenheim Fellowship, Jhumpa Lahiri has emerged as one of fiction's most decorated and admired new voices. This month marks the publication of her new novel, The Lowland, and so we invited Lahiri to offer some recommendations that share her world-traveled eye for nuance and invention of unforgettable characters.


Memoirs of Hadrian
By Marguerite Yourcenar

"Written in the form of a letter from the Emperor Hadrian's point of view, this novel is an exceptional rendering of history made personal, an example of a modernist writer meditating with urgency and immediacy on the ancient world."


Tess of the d"Urbervilles
By Thomas Hardy

"Arguably Hardy's masterpiece, epic in scope, virtuosic in telling, shattering in effect. An indelible study of society, of human psychology, and of place. A book I re-read at every opportunity."



Mister Palomar
By Italo Calvino

"I love this novel for its wit, its pathos, and for the profundity of its descriptions. Conceived as a series of idiosyncratic observations about the world that surrounds us, it is, in the end, a cartography of consciousness: one man's attempt to map his existence, and to arrive at meaning."


The Collected Stories
By William Trevor

"This book is my bible. It has guided me from the beginning and will inspire me to the end. For his control of language, his depth of vision, his compassion, he has no equal."




My Poems Won't Change the World
By Patrizia Cavalli

"I spent a week recently doing nothing but reading these poems. They are witty, frank, disarming, lapidary, philosophical, passionate, exquisite. This new bilingual edition will be a revelation to Anglophone readers."



Giovanni's Room
By James Baldwin

"A novel of unique emotional intensity and exceptional beauty, hypnotic, intimate, harrowing. A portrait of a man torn between a woman and another man, groundbreaking for its time, it remains a transcendent novel."


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
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).

Watching Them Be

What makes a film actor into a larger-than-life movie star? James Harvey's passionate, freewheeling essays explain why there are some faces (from Greta Garbo's to Samuel L. Jackson's) from which we cannot look away.


What if you called up the spouse on the verge of leaving you -- and instead found yourself magically talking to his younger self, the one you first fell for?  Rainbow Rowell, author of the YA smash Eleanor & Park, delivers a sly, enchanting take on 21st-century love.