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."

 

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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.