Arts & Culture
This Christmas, give books
To your friends, your family or yourself
Published: December 18, 2013
LIVES: 3RD PERSON
True stories of the great and the wicked
A Mysterious Something in the Light: The Life of Raymond Chandler by Tom Williams (Chicago Review Press): New interviews and unpublished letters illuminate the private life of our finest crime writer.
Salinger by David Shields, Shane Salerno (Simon & Schuster): Muckraking oral history of the reclusive writer beloved by generations of undergrads.
Fosse by Sam Wasson (Eamon Dolan): Sex, drugs and jazz hands.
Mad Girl’s Love Song: Sylvia Plath and Life Before Ted by Andrew Wilson (Scribner): The Bell Jar years.
Kansas City Lightning: The Rise and Times of Charlie Parker by Stanley Crouch (Harper): Irascible jazz purist limns life of bebop pioneer. Not recommended for moldy figs.
NEW YORK STORIES
Evocations of America’s eternal city
The Flamethrowers by Rachel Kushner (Scribner): Sex and speed – the MPH kind – in the downtown ’70s art scene.
Bleeding Edge Thomas Pynchon (Penguin Press): Pynchon on 9/11: Follow the money. Corruption, conspiracy, loathsome dot-com financiers. Visitation Street by Ivy Pochoda (Ecco): Small but flawless tale is nominally a “thriller,” but actually a portrait of a disappearing community.
Dissident Gardens by Jonathan Lethem (Doubleday): Red-diaper baby raised in a Greenwich Village commune.
The Goldfinch by Donna Tartt (Little, Brown and Co.): A Catcher in the Rye for the 21st century.
LIVES: 1ST PERSON
Chaos remembered in tranquility
Eminent Hipsters by Donald Fagen (Viking): Irascible jazz purist (and half of Steely Dan) limns own life. Not recommended for moldy figs.
Hyperbole and a Half: Unfortunate Situations, Flawed Coping Mechanisms, Mayhem and Other Things That Happened by Allie Brosh (Touchstone): Sidesplitting comics of depression, dog ownership and cake.
Buck ’Em! The Autobiography of Buck Owens by Buck Owens (Backbeat Books): Remarkably lucid reminiscences from the influential Bakersfield songwriter.
Mumbai New York Scranton: A Memoir by Tamara Shopsin (Scribner): Humor and intelligence suffuse the illustrator’s spare, incisive, yet emotional travelogue.
Autobiography by Morrissey (Putnam): This charming man.
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