Thoughtfully curated by Best Made, published by the esteemed New York Review of Books, the Best Made Reading List is a seasonal five-volume offering of tall tales, rip-roaring adventure, and savvy narration. We have chosen these volumes because they are nothing short of the Best Made stories: rare, underrated gems that are sure to be new discoveries and fine additions to our sophisticated customers’ libraries. So pull up a chair and bask in the glow of our selection for Winter 2014.
Clandestine in Chile – Gabriel García Márquez
After a dozen years in exile, Miguel Littin returned to Chile in 1985 to surreptitiously film the heavy hand levied on the daily life of Chile’s people by dictator Augusto Pinochet. Successfully returning from his mission, Littin recounted his fascinating reportage to Nobel Prize winning author Gabriel Garcia Marquez who expertly set down Littin’s account. Pinochet was not pleased, he promptly burned the first 15,000 copies he got his hands on; the truth hurts.
The Hall of Uselessness – Simon Leys
“Everyone knows the usefulness of what is useful, but few know the usefulness of what is useless.” -Zhuang Zi
In this collection of essays, author Simon Leys adeptly expounds upon a diverse range of topics from literature, China, academia, the sea, and quixotism. Some reflections are brief enough to be digested in the time it takes to imbibe two fingers of whiskey, others require a longer evening - all humorously challenge established intellectual norms.
Defeat – Philippe-Paul De Ségur
Few military campaigns (save the Charge of the Light Brigade) are marked in the annals of history as epically disastrous as Napoleon’s campaign to conquer Russia in 1812 that culminated in the total destruction his Grand Armée. Chronicled by Philippe-Paul de Ségur, Napoleon’s aide-de-camp, we follow along, painfully aware of the impending ruinous winter retreat from Moscow, witnessing a first-hand account of the dire consequence of hubris.
The Adventures of Sinbad – Gyula Krúdy
In the pantheon of supernatural lovers, Sinbad lives securely in his company with Casanova and Don Juan. His physiogical condition, however, remains in question throughout the novel as Krúdy’s style corrodes the foundation of reality. Enjoy the mystic seduction of Sinbad as he visits past lovers, ethereally traversing a world obsessed with courting, flattery, and love.
The Crisis of the European 1680-1715 – Paul Hazard
As the swelling ideas of the Renaissance began to coalesce in Europe nearly 500 years ago, a crisis was born that gave birth to the Enlightenment. Hazard deftly catalogs and contextualizes this altering landscape that upended the foundation of the Establishment. The result recast the bedrock for much of today’s intellectual, philosophical, and scientific thought.