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Flatland: A Romance of Many Dimensions

Rediscovering the 1884 geometric parable that signaled the brilliant dystopias of Orwell, Koestler, and Burgess.  

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Robert W. Chambers: Sentimental Horrification

An inspiration behind HBO's True Detective brings the horrors and earthly delights of the nineteenth century's roaring conclusion.

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The Philip Trent Mysteries

Why three lost tales of an amateur sleuth are among the best detective stories ever written.

 

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Wintry Mix

An inviting pile of season's readings -- magical, mysterious, and mirthful.

 

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The Ghost Stories of Edith Wharton

The great chronicler of turn-of-the-century New York was also a master of the chilling tale.

 

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The Riddle of the Sands

Why this 1903 "Record of Secret Service" may be the first great modern spy novel.

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Jean-Claude Izzo: Noir under the Sun

Hot nights and cold Cassis with Marseilles' master of crime fiction.

 

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Evan S. Connell: Bridging the Islands

The late author was an artist unconstrained by genre or convention.

 

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A Duckburg Holiday

How Carl Barks made Uncle Scrooge McDuck the center of a magical, web-footed world.

 

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Religio Medici and Urne-Burial

The haunting imagination and musical prose of a seventeenth-century physician.

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Mediterranean Breeze

Norman Douglas's classic novel of an Italian island makes for hilarious and "utterly pagan" beach reading.

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Diamond in the Roughneck: The Books of Harry Crews

The lasting impact of a writer committed to the "jagged edges" of the soul.

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Stranger Magic: Charmed States and the Arabian Nights

How the stories of Scheherazade invented fantasy.

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A Dreamer of Mars: Edgar Rice Burroughs and John Carter

How a failed salesman became a titan of planetary romance.

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"We Revel in a Crowd of Any Kind": Dickens the Journalist

The great novelist, in love with the life of the streets.

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Arabian Sands

A classic epic of endurance is also a testament to the beauty and hardship of desert life.

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When the World Spoke French

A captivating history of an era in which the gaze of the world was fixed on Paris.

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James Lees-Milne

The life, times, and seductions of James Lees-Milne (1908-1997), England's greatest 20th-century diarist.

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A Reader on Reading

A collection of essays on a reading life from the author of A History of Reading and The Library at Night

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About the Columnist
Michael Dirda is a Pulitzer Prize-winning columnist for The Washington Post Book World. He is the author of the memoir An Open Book and several collections of essays. His most recent book is Classics for Pleasure.

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.

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Books, CDs, DVDs to know about now
Paradise and Elsewhere

Canadian short story marvel Kathy Page proves herself to be the Alice Munro of the supernatural, in these heartfelt tales of shapeshifting swimmers, mild-mannered cannibals, and personality-shifting viruses transmitted through kisses.

Pastoral

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 town 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).