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."

April 17: "In less than three years, both GM and Chrysler would be bankrupt, and a resurgent Ford would wow Wall Street..."

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.