Literature

Nature writer and adventurer Robert Macfarlane has given away one book more than any other volume. It's "The Living Mountain," by Scottish writer and poet Nan Shepherd.

For decades, Stanley Crouch has cut a singular path through American culture as a cultural critic and an intellectual mentor to jazz figures like Wynton Marsalis. For all of his intellectual virtuosity, we were still surprised to discover the book that Crouch wanted to recommend: Alejo Carpentier’s “Reasons of State.”

Albert Camus in the 1950s

Albert Camus’s first novel, "The Stranger," speaks strongly to the search for meaning. It’s the story of an alienated man who commits a senseless murder. Literary critic Alice Kaplan calls it "the perfect Black Lives Matter book."

chris ware on "society is nix"

When he’s not drawing, Chris Ware likes to read and look at vintage comics. He highly recommends a book that defies even his powers of description — a folio-sized reproduction of some of America’s first newspaper cartoons, made long before super-heroes and adventure stories took over the medium. Back then, he says, the medium could be anything — and was.

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.

Andreas Weber in the Grunewald Forest in Berlin, Germany.

Andreas Weber is a German biologist and philosopher with a highly unconventional way of describing the natural world, one in which "love" is a foundational principle of biology.

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.

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