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John Skoyles

John Skoyles has authored three poetry collections. His most recent work is a memoir, Secret Frequencies: A New York Education.

Survival in Auschwitz by Primo Levi (Touchstone, $12). Levi’s account of life in the camps is filled with humane, detailed portraits, which make the narrative of his experience all the more powerful.

The Most of A.J. Leibling by A.J. Leibling (out of print). A great range of subjects: boxing, war, politics, the press, food. Whether he’s describing a French lieutenant—“The only blood for which he thirsted was the blood of the grape”—or the waiter whose response to a measly tip is simply “Thank,” Leibling is the most amusing writer I know.

The Art of Eating by M.F.K. Fisher (Wiley , $20). Five books collected in one volume. Fisher’s gentle authority is comforting, and these stories about food are really about much more: love, adventurousness, and survival.

Collected Poems by W.H. Auden (Vintage, $24). Auden wrote moving poems with an unsurpassed linguistic dexterity. There’s a memorable line on almost every page. “Time will say nothing but I told you so / Time only knows the price we have to pay.”

The Art Spirit by Robert Henri (Westview Press, $20). Henri, a painter, is best known as a teacher of many artists, including Edward Hopper. This book collects his advice and theory about painting, but the sweep of its truths resonates through all the arts, and into life itself.

Anton Chekhov’s Short Stories

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