I'm working on a history of the Gilded Age, so I'm reading a lot about that era. ... My favorite is Frank Norris' "The Pit." It's about people who play the commodities market, it's fascinating. It's a terrific portrait of the wealthiest way of life in the 19th century.
I'm in this book club which forces me to read things I would never pick up otherwise. We just read Barry Unsworth's "Morality Play." It is wonderful, very short novel about a troupe of traveling theatrical players.
Also, from my mother I borrowed Dashiell Hammett's "Red Harvest." I think the world is divided between Dashiell Hammett fans and those who can't stand him - I think the world of him. I like his books, because the plots are so complicated I can go back and re-read and re-read and never remember all the twists.
Jill Jonnes is a Baltimore journalist and author. Her latest book, "Hep-Cats, Narcs, and Pipe Dreams: A History of America's Romance with Illegal Drugs," was published this year by Scribner.
Pub Date: 12/15/96