Polish novelist Witold Gombrowicz wrote his first diary entry in 1952 while living abroad in Argentina and his last shortly before his death in 1969 in France. During the intervening seventeen years, the document grew from a chronicle of daily life into a vast collection of essays, short stories, confessions, and diatribes: one of the most brilliant and capacious works of the 20th century. Long out of print in English, it is collected here in a single, essential volume.

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…