Lydia Millet

The novelist on great reads from wild West to wild nature.



Lydia Millet won the 2003 PEN-USA Award for Fiction for her novel, My Happy Light, and her collection of short stories, Love in Infant Monkeys, was a finalist for the 2010 Pulitzer Prize. Her new novel, Ghost Lights, revolves around an IRS agent, disconnected from his family, who seeks renewal by traveling to Belize to find his erstwhile boss, the protagonist of Millet's previous novel, How the Dead Dream. Asked to choose three favorites, Millett responded with an eclectic trio of picks.


Books by Lydia Millet




Far Bright Star

By Robert Olmstead


"A western, true, historical, true, featuring men and guns and horses, guilty. But one of the most beautifully written books I've read, abstractions that are gorgeous in their rhythms and affect and subtle in their suggestions about mortality and aloneness. Sublime novel. Olmstead should be more widely read."




Ill Nature

By Joy Williams


"My favorite book of essays possibly ever. Williams is to be worshiped for her mastery of the aggressive but righteous nonfiction narrative self. Best essay about a dog ever, best essay about hunting ever, a whole array of powerful heavy hitters. Williams' stories are truly excellent too, but if you're looking for great polemics that transcend the genre, please read Ill Nature at your first convenience."




The Unprofessionals

By Julie Hecht


"Hecht is one of the funniest Americans writing today. Her cranky, solipsistic, vain, elitist misanthrope of a narrator is a work of brilliance. The Unprofessionals is a novel; try also her better-known and even more lacerating collection Do the Windows Open? for hilarious short stories."

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.