Laura Hillenbrand



A trio of reading recommendations from the author of Unbroken.



Biographies of famous animals are rarities—and rarer still are those that become enormous bestsellers. Laura Hillenbrand’s majestic and award-winning Seabiscuit re-created the heyday of thoroughbred racing through the life of one of its most unlikely champions. With her rare ability to recreate scenes from history, the author has now published Unbroken, the inspiring story of one World War Two pilot's experience of survival against the odds. Here, the author recommends three favorite reads.


Books by Laura Hillenbrand




Black Like Me

By John Howard Griffin


"In the late 1950s, the white southern writer John Howard Griffin was dogged by a question: What is it really like to be black? The question led him to embark on a remarkable experiment. He shaved his head, and, using medication, makeup and a sunlamp, darkened his skin, then spent six weeks traversing the Deep South, living as a black man. Black Like Me, Griffin's wrenching and sometimes terrifying memoir of his journey, captures the experience of being black in 1959 America, from the horror of lynching to the grinding indignity of searching for a bathroom open to blacks. With insight and compassion, Griffin explores the profoundly caustic impact that racism has on the souls of its victims and perpetrators. Griffin paid dearly for his efforts: after his story was publicized, residents of his Texas hometown threatened his life and burned him in effigy. Griffin was forced to flee to Mexico."



Suite Française

By Irene Nemirovsky


"In 1940, as the Nazis descended on her adopted hometown of Paris, the Jewish writer Irene Nemirovsky fled with her family to the French countryside. In a notebook, she began penning a series of five novellas about the Nazi occupation, to be called Suite Française. In 1942, after she had completed two of the novellas, Nemirovsky was arrested, taken to Auschwitz, and murdered. Her children were soon taken into hiding. As she was whisked from her home, Nemirovsky's daughter Denise picked up her mother's suitcase, not knowing that the notebook was inside. For more than half a century, Denise was unable to bring herself to read the manuscript. When she finally did, she discovered a masterpiece. Nemirovsky wrote with exquisite skill and beauty, and her ability to craft believable, vivid, fully realized characters was second to none. The Napoleonic Wars had Tolstoy; France's World War II had Nemirovsky."



Diary of Anne Frank

By Anne Frank


"In the last months of her life, this delightful, radiantly intelligent girl penned a diary that is everything—a chronicle of the yearnings, turbulence and joys of adolescence, a keenly observed work of history, and ultimately, a monumental tragedy. In its pages, Anne wrote of her wish to someday become a great writer. She didn't know that she already was."


April 19: "What you see first, after the starting gun's crack, is a column of bobbing runners, thousands of them, surging downhill..."

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.