Rebecca Goldstein


The author recommends works of fiction that capture the mind, heart and soul in one fell swoop.



A recipient of the prestigious MacArthur Foundation Fellowship, Rebecca Goldstein writes novels that bridge the gap between philosophy's intellectual pleasures and fiction's imaginative explorations -- as well as nonfiction works of profound substance, such as Incompleteness: The Proof and Paradox of Kurt Gödel. Her latest work, 36 Arguments for the Existence of God explores the tension between faith and skepticism in a wry tale of an "atheist with a soul." She shared with us three books she loves.


Books by Rebecca Goldstein




The Black Prince

By Iris Murdoch


"How can art be true to life when art has form and life is formless? This genius of a novel is bursting with frantic, frenzied, farcical life and still manages to address such high-minded questions. This book is so much: a mystery, a love story, a meditation on eros, the mysterious source of art and love. Its manic energy makes it an exhilarating ride, with a whopper of an ending. Sometimes Murdoch's characters can seem like faucets spouting forth her ideas, but not in this one."





Shadow Country

By Peter Matthiessen


"If you love fiction that swallows you whole, that offers you lives that feel more real than your own, here's a book for you. It's set in the Florida Everglades, and its mythic tale of racial violence stretches from the Civil War to the Great Depression. The dark figure of Edgar J. Watson, self-made man and possible murderer, looms over it all. Matthiessen has been at this book for a good part of his (thankfully) long life. Sometimes obsession pays off. This epic gets my vote for the Great American Novel."





The Prisoner's Dilemma

By Richard Powers


"Powers' books are brainy, but his focus is always on the fragility and yearning inside us. Here he turns a problem from game theory into a heartwrenching tale of a family. His brilliant characters make me think of Henry James. To a critic's objection that no real people sound like his characters, he responded, 'Well, they ought to.'"


April 23: " 'A job,' the woman repeated again, smiling, as if I hadn't heard her. 'Would you like one?' "

Kenneth Calhoun (Black Moon) and Lysley Tenorio (Monstress) of the Discover Great New Writers program on B-movies, heritage, and finales.

Books, CDs, DVDs to know about now
In the Light of What We Know

Zia Haider Rahman's mystery of a brilliant Bangladeshi mathematician's past barrels through the Ivy League, London high finance, and spy-haunted Afghanistan in a page-turning tale of exile, intrigue and the price of friendship. A Discover Great New Writers selection.

The People's Platform

Once touted as the foundation for tomorrow's digital democracy, the Internet is increasingly ruled by a few corporate giants, while millions of contributors till its fields for free. Astra Taylor looks at why the web has failed to deliver a communitarian cyberscape, and offers a compelling case for restoring its original vision.

A Private Venus

Dubbed "the Italian Simenon," Giorgio Scerbanenco (1911-1969) began his crime-writing career with books set in the USA, but quickly shifted scene closer to home, the city of Milan.  In this adventure, appearing in English for the first time, his underdog hero Dr. Duca Lamberti finds himself in the middle of a seedy, scantily clad criminal racket, where the presence of an outsider could result in death.