In The Social Animal, New York Times columnist David Brooks explores the role of the unconscious in human happiness and prosperity. But instead of an extended long-winded medical journal article, the ideas play out in narrative form through the lens of two characters.
Louis Bayard's The School of Night is a work of fiction that melds modern-day Washington with the imagined lives of real historic figures, such as 16th century scientist Thomas Harriot. A mysterious letter and a series of murders surrounding it propels this thriller.
DC biographer Meryle Secrest has studied the lives of notables such as Frank Lloyd Wright, Leonard Bernstein, and Stephen Sondheim. In this work, she takes a closer look at the life of painter Amedeo Modigliani in an effort to resolve the discrepancy between his renowned work and miserable reputation.
This article first appeared in the March 2011 issue of The Washingtonian.