The English Opium Eater

Writing in the Washington Post, BNR columnist Michael Dirda hails this groundbreaking volume as "a lucid, deeply researched biography," and recommends sampling De Quincey's own writings first for best appreciation of his life's tale. In Robert Morrison's portrait, De Quincey emerges, in one aspect, as the forerunner of today's flood of tell-all memoirists.

April 18: "[W]ould it be too bold to imagine that all warm-blooded animals have arisen from one living filament…?"

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…