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Title Author Description
book image Voltaire in Love
Voltaire in Love
Nancy Mitford
+ Description

The inimitable Nancy Mitford’s account of Voltaire’s 16-year affair with Émilie du Châtelet—a renowned mathematician and scientist—is a spirited romp in the company of two extraordinary individuals as well as an erudite and gossipy guide to the French Enlightenment. “Voltaire in Love caps [Mitford's] career as the nonpareil popular biographer of that era.”—Michael Dirda, The Washington Post
Contributors: Adam Gopnik

book image Young Man with a Horn
Young Man with a Horn
Dorothy Baker
+ Description

This book, loosely inspired by the life of Bix Beiderbecke, is widely regarded as the first jazz novel, and it courses with the verve and swing of the sound that defined an era. It is the story of Rick Martin, a prodigy whose dedication to music cannot save him from self destruction. "Got a kid who's into music? This is the book. Interested in the Jazz Age? Ditto. Or just looking for a short novel that you can't put down? Here you go."—Jesse Kornbluth
Contributors: Gary Giddins

book image The Sun King
Sun King
Nancy Mitford
+ Description

Nancy Mitford crafts a dazzling double portrait of Louis XIV and Versailles, recreating the daily life of the King, his court, and his ministers during France’s golden age. “Nancy Mitford gives vivid, indeed searching, portraits of the Grand Monarch, and of his awe-struck relations and courtiers.... Readers will wish that her book were twice as long. —Sunday Times
Contributors: Philip Mansel

book image Alice James: A Biography
Alice James
Jean Strouse
+ Description

Alice James grew up in one of the most remarkable of 19th-century American families, and she was groomed to be no less remarkable than her brothers Henry and William. But a succession of poorly diagnosed ailments confined her to her bed for years at a time. Jean Strouse’s Bancroft Prize–winning biography is a portrait of a thwarted life, and a panoramic recreation of the particular intellectual world in which it came to be.
Contributors: Colm Tóibín

book image Love's Work
Love's Work
Gillian Rose
+ Description

Written as the author was dying of cancer, Love’s Work is a personal and philosophical meditation on fallibility and the endurance of love. “A masterpiece of the autobiographer’s art, intense and rationally decorous at the same time.” —Edward Said
Contributors: Michael Wood

book image My Dog Tulip
My Dog Tulip
J. R. Ackerley
+ Description

Ackerley has written a book that is a profound and subtle meditation on the strangeness abiding at the heart of all relationships.

"This is one of the greatest masterpieces of animal literature." —Christopher Isherwood
Contributors: Elizabeth Marshall Thomas

book image Original Letters from India
Original Letters from India
Eliza Fay
+ Description

It took Eliza Fay over a year to travel from London to Calcutta at the end of the eighteenth century. The letters she wrote along the way are unguarded and lively and provide an unparalleled view of the adventure that was travel in days past.
Contributors: Simon Winchester , E.M. Forster

book image The Journal 1837-1861
Journal 1837-1861
Henry David Thoreau
+ Description

To understand Thoreau, one must read his journals—but until now they have never been available in a one-volume reader's edition that draws on the entirety of his 14-volume journal. Here at last is the essence of the great naturalist's thoughts, accumulated over the span of a life time
Contributors: Damion Searls , John R. Stilgoe

book image The Snows of Yesteryear: Portraits for an Autobiography
Snows of Yesteryear
Gregor von Rezzori
+ Description

The author of Memoirs of an Anti-Semite tells his own story through portraits of the members of his childhood household. "An elegiac tribute to a receding past and a testament to the redemptive powers of memory—a family photography album, beautifully translated into words.—Michiko Kakutani, The New York Times Book Review
Contributors: John Banville , H. F. Broch De Rothermann

book image Ringolevio: A Life Played for Keeps
Emmett Grogan
+ Description

Grogan went from street punk to teenage junkie to countercultural icon in a few years. As the leader of the San Francisco Diggers in the '60s he set the tone—puckish, anarchic, radical—for a movement that was to alter the social fabric. He was also a great self-mythologizer. As Paul Krassner put it, "The leader of the Diggers doesn't exist, and his name is Emmett Grogan."
Contributors: Peter Coyote