Melanie Benjamin

The author of The Aviator's Wife on three beloved books.


With her third and latest novel, The Aviator’s Wife, Melanie Benjamin presents the dynamic love affair of two world-famous adventurers: aerial pioneer Charles Lindbergh and his wife, author Anne Morrow Lindbergh. Benjamin’s nimble work stands beside those historical fictions that expand our worldview while offering poignant narratives to boot. This week, Benjamin praises three superb books, each offering their own unique view of momentous romance.

Books by Melanie Benjamin


Gift from the Sea
By Anne Morrow Lindbergh

"This is a recent discovery, read for research. Quiet, contemplative, brief; the amazing thing is that this book was published in 1955, yet resounds so strongly today. Over fifty years ago, Anne Morrow Lindbergh was bemoaning how complicated life is, how the pace of life keeps getting faster and faster, and how hard it is for a woman to make time for herself. How hard, yet how necessary; Anne was a proto-feminist as she implored herself, and all women, to find balance in life, and equality in relationships."


The Family Fang
By Kevin Wilson

"Who doesn't love a quirky exploration of family life that's also a page-turner and laugh-out-loud funny? I devoured this book in an afternoon, enthralled by the exploits of the Fangs. If I'm ever feeling as if I've made mistakes as a parent, I will reread this book and forgive myself. Annie and Buster Fang are wholly sympathetic, and their survival is as much a daring performance piece as any their famous -- and frustrating -- parents might have created."


No Ordinary Time
By Doris Kearns Goodwin

"As a history nerd, I'm a fan of this expert examination of Franklin and Eleanor Roosevelt in the years leading up to and during World War II. The personal and the public collide in this book to make an astonishing tale that reads like a novel. What I love about Goodwin is how human she makes these iconic figures; it's as much a domestic story as it is a sweeping historical one. It's also delightfully gossipy, especially in its portrayal of Winston Churchill."


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.