Heaven's Bride

Ida Craddock (1857-1902) earned notoriety as an advocate of women's rights, a student of human sexuality, and a proponent of mystical exploration in an era that felt all three territories (to say nothing of belly-dancing, of which she was something of a devotee) were better left unexamined. Her remarkable and bracingly eccentric life, recounted here by Leigh Eric Schmidt, represents the intersection of free speech, psychiatry, sex, spiritualism, and politics, a yeasty nexus still pulsating today.

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…