Men of Letters & People of Substance

In this ingenious gallery of graphic invention, Roberto de Vicq de Cumptich puts his design genius to work assembling discrete typographic elements -- letters, linecuts, and ornaments (known in the trade as "dingbats") -- into delightful portraits of literary figures, as well as facial patterns suggesting emotions, qualities, and states of mind. De Vicq, who has worked as creative director for Random House and HarperCollins and now manages his own studio, is a master of typefaces in more ways than you can imagine. He gives us James Joyce rendered entirely in Baskerville, John Steinbeck in Bodoni Old Face, Marcel Proust in Auriol, Virginia Woolf in Didot. His array of common linecuts and ornaments into representations of "Creepy," "Philanderer," "Social Butterfly," "Raw," "Cooked," and other ideas and attributes are blissfully fanciful examples of imagination composed upon a page. This elegant, beautifully produced paperback is a marvelous book in every way. -

April 19: "What you see first, after the starting gun's crack, is a column of bobbing runners, thousands of them, surging downhill..."

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…

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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.