VSL// Your favorite authors pick the five best books in their field

Still regretting that decision not to pursue a Ph.D. in Comparative Lit? It’s O.K. (Wouldn’t the best part have been sounding smart at cocktail parties, anyway?) The good people over at Five Books know it’s much more fun to be a quasi-expert in a lot of things.

At Five Books, a prominent expert or thinker will deliver you a mini-syllabus of five books to read on a topic each day, with the aim of arming you with indispensable knowledge of Elizabeth I or China in the world economy or cakes (hey, you never know!). Alpha female Sophie Kinsella, who wrote the enormously popular Shopaholic series, delivers the best and the pinkest chick lit, choosing both a well-seasoned author of the canon (Marian Keyes) and a deep cut from the 1930s (The Diary of a Provincial Lady, by E.M. Delafield). We suggest you peruse the Five Books archives, sorted by topic, which revives the fun of reading the college course catalog—tuition not required.

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VSL// Your favorite authors pick the five best books in their field