Dispatches from Pluto: Lost and Found in the Mississippi Delta, by Richard Grant (2015)

The Little Locksmith, by Katharine Butler Hathaway (1943)

The Sound of a Wild Snail Eating, Elisabeth Tova Bailey (2010)

Running for the Hills, Horatio Clare (2006)

Lab Girl, Hope Jahren (2016)

With or Without You, Domenica Ruta (2013)

A Woman in the Polar Night, Christiane Ritter (1938)

Getting Stoned with Savages: A Trip Through the Islands of Fiji and Vanuatu, J. Maarten Troost (2006)

Toast: The Story of a Boy’s Hunger, Nigel Slater (2011)

But Beautiful, Geoff Dyer (2009)

God’s Hotel, Victoria Sweet, MD (2013)

Sold for a Farthing, Clare Kipps (1953)

The Shadow of the Sun, Ryszard Kapuściński (1998)

Hiroshima Notes, Kenzaburo Oë (1965)

The Boy in the Moon: A Father’s Search for His Disabled Son, Ian Brown (2009)

An Island Garden, Celia Thaxter (1894)

Onions in the Stew, Betty MacDonald (1955)

And There Was Light, Jacques Lusseyran (originally published 1940s or 50s?)

Journey Into the Whirlwind, Eugenia Ginzberg (1967)

Don’t Let’s Go to the Dogs Tonight, Alexandra Fuller (2001)

The Long Loneliness, Dorothy Day (1952)

Without You, There Is No Us: My Time With the Sons of North Korea’s Elite, Suki Kim (2015)

Behind the Beautiful Forevers: Life, Death and Hope in a Mumbai Undercity, Katherine Boo (2014)

So Happiness to Meet You: Foolishly, Blissfully Stranded in Vietnam, Karin Esterhammer (2017)

Cross Creek, Marjorie Kinnan Rawlings (1942)

Reading with Patrick, Michelle Kuo (2017)

When We Were the Kennedys, Monica Wood (2012)


The Gospel According to St. Matthew (1964): Pier Paolo Pasolinie’s masterpiece, featuring his own (aged) mother as the Virgin Mary.

The Pumpkin Eater (1964), British): Anne Bancroft as earth mother and Peter Finch as philandering professor husband. What abortion can do to a marriage.

The Comedians (1967): Elizabeth Taylor and Richard Burton in adaptation of Graham Greene novel, set in Haiti. Sizzling hot Technicolor.

Strait-Jacket (1964): Joan Crawford, axe murderer.

Homicidal (1961): produced and directed by William Castle: “Chaos and danger reign when good girl Miriam Webster (Patricia Breslin) meets her half brother’s girl friend, Emily (Jean Arless), a mysterious blonde bombshell living at their family’s Southern California estate. Emily serves as the nurse for the sibling’s aging, wheelchair-using guardian.”

Eyes without a Face (1960 horror-fantasy): body harvesting, French.

The Face of Another (1966 Japanese New Wave): “After an explosion disfigures a man, a lifelike mask gives him freedom, but with it comes a change of personality.”

Phaedra (1962): Based on the play Hippolytus by Euripides. Tony Perkins hooks up with stepmother Melina Mercouri with stunningly disastrous results.

Blind Corner (1963): Truly vile femme fatale and her lover scheme to murder sightless musician husband.

Jet Storm (1959: British airplane thriller, starring an unbalanced Richard Attenborough, when passengers still dressed to the nines to fly and the TSA didn’t yet pre-check for bombs.

The Naked Kiss (1964): Samuel Fuller at his off-the-charts weirdest.

The Browning Version (1951): British boarding school student-teacher tearjerker.

Leave Her to Heaven (1945): Gene Tierney, psycho love addict.

The Fallen Idol (1949): Young Bobby Henrey idolizes household butler Ralph Richardson–who falls, hard, from his pedestal. Dir. by Carol “The Third Man” Reed.

The Prisoner (1955): Catholic priest Alec Guinness with a secret in his past faces down a totalitarian-regime interrogator.

Whistle Down the Wind (1962): Alan Bates as (possibly) Jesus. Adapted from the Mary Hayley Bell novel, dir. by Bryan Forbes, called by some the best British film ever made, and almost impossible to find.

Into Great Silence (2007): Documentary re Carthusian monks of the Grande Chartreuse, a monastery high in the French Alps.

Land of Silence and Darkness (1971): Werner Herzog enters the realm of the deaf-mute.

Dead Ringer (1964): Bette Davis plays her own evil twin.

Abducted in Plain Sight: 2017 documentary about an Idaho family featuring a pedophile neighbor and the world’s most gullible set of parents.

Kiss Me Deadly (1955) Robert Aldrich film noir ends with the detonation of a nuclear device on Malibu beach.

Private Property (1960): Film noir starts on PCH, also near Malibu beach, UCLA Film Archive-restored, truly disturbing stalker duo.

Araya (1959) Lyrical Venezuelan-French documentary, shot in black and white, about workers in the Venezuelan salt mines. Praised by Pablo Neruda.

23 Great Films of Jean Painlevé (1920s through 1980s): Science is Fiction. Mesmerizing black and white films, set to classical music, pigeons, vampire bats, sea horses and more.

The House is Black (1962): Persian documentary short, dir. by Forough Farrokhzad: life in a leper colony.

The Story of Esther Costello (1957): “A terrible accident leaves Esther Costello (Heather Sears) blind, deaf, mute and without a mother. Living in squalor with her aunt, Esther is rescued by a Margaret Landi (Joan Crawford). Esther learns how to use sign language and blossoms into a lovely young woman. But her life darkens when Margaret’s scheming husband, Carlo (Rossano Brazzi), comes back into the picture.”

The Man with the Golden Arm (1955): Frank Sinatra, junkie.


The Lonely City: Adventures in the Art of Being Alone:.Olivia Laing

The Gift, Lewis Hyde

The Habit of Being: Letters of Flannery O’Connor

Dark Wood to White Rose: Journey and Transformation in Dante’s Divine Comedy, Helen M. Luke

The World of Donald Evans, Willy Eisenhart

This Is My World: The Life of Helen Martins, Creator of Owl House, Sue Imrie Ross