It’s easy to equate Louisa May Alcott with her literary alter ego Jo March, the feisty, dark-haired bookworm of Little Women. But as Harriet Reisen vigorously shows in Louisa May Alcott (Holt, $26), the real Louisa was far more intriguing. Reisen introduces us to the woman who churned out thrillers and pulp fiction, and who penned a romance about hashish the same year she published Little Women. Jo March eventually married, but the fiercely independent Alcott, who supported herself and her family with her writing, preferred to be a free spinster and to paddle her own canoe. This is a compelling biography.

Louisa May Alcott: The Woman Behind Little Women Cover Image
$22.00
ISBN: 9780312658878
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Published: Picador - October 26th, 2010

In response to the Epicureans, the stoic philosopher Seneca said, “No one can live a happy life if he turns everything to his own purposes.  Live for others if you want to live for yourself.”  Psychoanalyst Adam Phillips and historian Barbara Taylor trace the origins, evolution, and psychology of benevolent human interaction in On Kindness (Farrar, Straus & Giroux, $20).  Chapters explore the earliest arguments for and against it, from ancient and Renaissance writers to Hobbes’s defense of individualism in Leviathan and the rebuttals from Rousseau and Hume.  The psychological root of the conflict between self-interest and the regard for others is traced from the mother/child relationship through puberty and the search for love and safety.  Insightful and erudite, On Kindness shows that the all-too-common, modern condition of disconnectedness is neither beneficial nor inevitable.

On Kindness Cover Image
$16.00
ISBN: 9780312429744
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Published: Picador - June 22nd, 2010

THE CRACK-UP, recently reprinted by New Directions, collects F. Scott Fitzgerald's working journals, essays, and letters. There are sketches biographical, as in the eponymous essay, which chronicles his downfall at age thirty-nine, and in his letters (to Eliot, Stein, Wharton). And then there are the sketches literary: snippets of stories and characters and dialogues, which the ever-writing F. Scott kept in working journals alphabetized into unconventional categories. C is for "conversations and things overheard," D is for "descriptions of girls," E is for "epigrams," and F is for "feelings and emotions (without girls)." Collected by Edmund Wilson only just after Fitzgerald's death, this genre-defying work operates on a variety of levels: it provides insight into the novelist's process, relationships, life, and the works-that-could-have-been, but it’s also just the right compromise: flash fiction avant le lettre—and from F. Scott!

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$17.95
ISBN: 9780811218207
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Published: New Directions Publishing Corporation - February 27th, 2009

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