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Cheryl Strayed

Cheryl Strayed’s "Wild" is one of the most famous wilderness memoirs of our time. She especially appreciates writers who combine honesty with emotional intensity — writers who reveal themselves unflinchingly on the page. She recommends a memoir by the writer Poe Ballantine.

Pamuk

The Turkish writer and Nobel laureate says his favorite novel — the 800-plus-page Russian novel bursting with characters living the life of imperial Russian society — is a complex miracle of a book.

J woodson

The author of "Another Brooklyn" recommends a James Baldwin novel she says belongs on everyone's bookshelf.

Famed novelist Kazuo Ishiguro recommends “Prayers for the Stolen,” by Jennifer Clement —a harrowing tale about young children who are abducted in the midst of Mexican drug wars.

Karl Ove Knausgaard

Given the hyper-realism of author Karl Ove Knausgaard’s "My Struggle," you might be surprised to hear that the formative books of his childhood were filled with magic and imaginary worlds. He says Ursula K. Le Guin’s "Earthsea" fantasy series shaped him as an early reader.

ROSS GAY

Because he’s fascinated by the process of collecting and by the impulse to document everyday life, poet Ross Gay recommends “Gene Smith’s Sink,” by Sam Stephenson. It’s a portrait of another collector — the legendary documentarian and photographer, W. Eugene Smith. 

Susan Orlean

For as long as she can remember, Susan Orlean has had a favorite book, "The Sound and the Fury," by William Faulkner. A Southern gothic novel set over a period of three decades, the book explores the lives of the members of one family, the Compsons. Told from multiple perspectives and set in several time periods, it’s not a chronological or easy read.

Petina Gappah on "Persuasion"

Author Petina Gappah recommends a book she explains is “The most African of Jane Austen’s novels.” Her reason why is a look at women in African today told through the eyes of two novelists: a Zimbabwean in 2020 and English woman in 1818.

Pages

The Living Mountain
Love & Terror on the Howling Plains of Nowhere
Anna Karenina
"If Beale Street Could Talk" by James Baldwin
'Prayers for the Stolen'
"The Earthsea Trilogy" by Ursula LeGuin
Gene Smith's Sink by Sam Stephenson
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