Chip Brown, an award-winning magazine writer, is most recently the author of Good Morning Midnight: Life and Death in the Wild (Riverhead, $25).
The Art of Fiction edited by John Gardner and J. Laslocky (Knopf, $12). There isn’t a better how-to manual for young fiction writers, or for that matter, writers of any age working in any form.
The Ghosts of Manila by Mark Kram (HarperCollins, $25). This lambent meditation by a longtime Sports Illustrated writer who died last year manages to sustain the poetic compression of a magazine article across the length of a book. It is a beautifully composed and fiercely argued account of the rivalry of Joe Frazier and Muhammad Ali, he of the emptied, “dance-hall-at-daybreak” eyes. Kram finds the men beneath the myths.
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The Leopard by Giuseppe di Lampedusa (Pantheon Books, $13). Deservedly considered one of the great novels of the 20th century, this story of an Italian prince confronting the political upheavals of the Italian reorganization culminates in one of the most transcendently beautiful death scenes ever written.
Freud: The Mind of a Moralist by Philip Rieff (University of Chicago Press, $25). Rieff dissects Freudian ideology with a cool, uncultish eye, and separates the wheat of Freud’s genuine insights from the chaff of his smug reductionism.
Typhoon by Joseph Conrad (Modern Library, $9). Here’s the real “perfect storm,” next to which most examples from the current class of killer-weather books are so many paltry zephyrs. “This is the disintegrating power of a great wind: It isolates one from one’s kind,” writes Conrad. The countering genius of his description—the greatest meteorological event in the English language—is that it reconnects what typhoons wrench apart.
The Reenchantment of the World
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