The White Album – Joan Didion

Joan Didion’s The White Album was first published in 1979 and can be considered a follow-up to her Slouching Towards Bethlehem published 11 years earlier. It consists of 20 essays arranged in five sections, including one about California phenomena,  ...

A Round-Heeled Woman – Jane Juska

Jane Juska’s first book is a memoir that takes as its starting point what happened when she placed an ad in The New York Review of Books seeking to "have a lot of sex with a man I like."  ...

Running with Scissors – Augusten Burroughs

Does the narrator of a memoir need to be likeable? What if he’s particularly unsympathetic? What if the life he describes is so very different from your own that you can only shake your head in amazement? Augusten  ...

Dispatches – Michael Herr

Dispatches was praised by John le Carre as "the best book I have ever read on men and war in our time." There is a masculine mystique that revolves around wartime fear, bravery, foolhardiness. Can a war book equally  ...

Minor Characters – Joyce Johnson

One "minor character" is accorded just half a sentence in biographies of cult author Jack Kerouac: he had "an erratic love affair with Joyce Glassmann between 1957 and 1959." In 1983, Glassmann (now Johnson) published her account of that  ...

Old Glory – Jonathan Raban

In 1979, Jonathan Raban journeyed down the Mississippi from Minneapolis to New Orleans in a specially equipped 16-foot motorboat. Quite the loner, he makes the trip on his own, exploring a river that has fascinated him from afar since  ...

The Company She Keeps – Mary McCarthy

Mary McCarthy’s first novel plunges into the psyche of a young married woman in the 1930's who is starting an affair with a Young Man, planning to drop hints of it to her girlfriends and then reveal all to  ...