Alison's Nonfiction

Reading for Fun

In Reading for Fun, Alison Lurie considers some of the most brilliant and original American and British writers of the last hundred years, including Henry James, Doris Lessing, John Updike, Mary McCarthy, Anthony Powell, Angela Carter, and Garrison Keillor—some of whom she has known personally. Their best works combine both tragedy and comedy, supernatural events and social realism—and they are all fun to read.



In this engaging series of essays, Pulitzer Prize-winning author Alison Lurie explores the theory that the best children's books authors have often preferred the world of young people to the world of adults. Lurie looks at children's classics from every era and relates them to the authors who wrote them, including Little Women author Louisa May Alcott and Wizard of Oz author Frank Baum, as well as Dr. Seuss and Salman Rushdie. In the Process she reveals how these gifted writers have used children's literature to transfigure sorrow, nostalgia, and the struggles of their own experiences.



"[T]here's a certain relentlessness about a book that tries to explain everything from the meaning of the color blue . . .to the semiotics of dotted bow ties . . .So, though Miss Lurie writes clearly and wittily, 'The Language of Clothes' is a book to be consumed with intermittent bites."




"[S]he has taken her research seriously and made both the authors and their surprising subversions of convention accessible to us. It should never be too late to see through a child's unjaded, penetrating eye."





V. R. LANG'S POEMS AND PLAYS With a memoir by Alison Lurie

". . . a fascinating memoir . . . raises questions about the importance of its heroine: Bunny Lang, a gifted eccentric who lived in Cambridge in the fifties and was one of the founders of the Poets' Theater."


FAMILIAR SPIRITS A Memoir of James Merrill and David Jackson (2001)

"Extraterrestrial" isn't exactly the first word that comes to mind when you hear the name of James Merrill (1926-95), the American poet who during the course of a staggeringly successful 50-year career won two National Book Awards, a National Book Critics Circle Award, a Pulitzer Prize, a Bollingen Prize and the Library of Congress's Bobbitt National Prize for Poetry -- to say nothing of a shelfload of other honors and distinctions. But that's what Alison Lurie, in her new memoir of her 40-year friendship with Merrill and his longtime companion, David Jackson, calls him -- twice. ...but as with the unexpected but brilliant characterization of Merrill with which it opens, it offers a lot of interesting suggestions."

Alison's books can be found in your local library,
at book retailers everywhere, or online at; - Barnes and Noble - iTunes - IndieBound

back to top