Tracy Kidder


Three works of genuine mastery.




From his early bestseller The Soul of a New Machine, a groundbreaking chronicle of the birth of the computer, Tracy Kidder has brought both broad cultural perspective and intense human interest to his studies of the rapidly changing contexts of modern life. His newest book, Strength in What Remains, traces one man's journey from war-torn Burundi to the U.S., and back again, with characteristic concentration and compassion. What are his three favorite books?


Books by Tracy Kidder




The Thing Itself

By Richard Todd


"Wit is a word that a number of contemporary artists inaccurately apply to their own work. For an example of the real thing, I suggest The Thing Itself, a haunting and often very funny meditation on authenticity. The author, Richard Todd, taught me how to write a book, but I don't think this fact has colored my admiration for the one that he has written. If anything, I ought to feel reluctant to praise it, since I wouldn't want him to give up editing. "





The Complete Short Stories of Ernest Hemingway

By Ernest Hemingway


"At some point during my first year at college, I discovered Hemingway, and began ardently trying to imitate him. I don't re-read his novels now, for fear of finding they have aged as gracelessly as I have. I do re-read his short stories, though, with pleasure and admiration, and also with nostalgia. Even today, I believe, aspiring writers could find much worse places to begin."





Moby Dick

By Herman Melville


"My favorite novel, which resembles no other novel I've ever read. A very funny and haunting book. But, I believe, no one under forty ought to attempt it."

July 29: On this day in 1878 Don Marquis was born.

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
Paradise and Elsewhere

Canadian short story marvel Kathy Page emerges as the Alice Munro of the supernatural from these heartfelt tales of shapeshifting swimmers, mild-mannered cannibals, and personality-shifting viruses transmitted through kisses.


When a persuasive pastor arrives in a sleepy farm town, his sage influence has otherworldly results (talking sheep, a mayor who walks on water). But can he pull off the miracle of finding kindly local Liz Denny the love of her life?  Small wonder looms large in this charmer from Andre Alexis.

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).