Contact Us

Follow BETA

Literary Non-fiction

Editor‘s Pick

“Black Earth” — Timothy Snyder — The best book on our current veer towards totalitarianism. “Blood & Soil” was no accident. Read this.


Editor‘s Pick

“The Seven Story Mountain” — Thomas Merton


Editor‘s Pick

“On Ugliness” — Umberto Eco


“History of Beauty” — Umberto Eco


“Serendipities: Language and Lunacy” — Umberto Eco


“Dangerous Games: The Uses and Abuses of History” — Margaret MacMillan


“Roumeli Travels in Northern Greece” — Patrick Leigh Fermor


“Confronting the Classics: Traditions, Adventures, and Innovations” — Mary Beard


“Celia, A Slave” — Melton A. McLaurin — A moving and unique account of a young woman enslaved in Missouri, and her epic court fight.


“The Origins of Totalitarianism” — Hannah Arendt


“Reading Lolita in Tehran” — Agat Nafise


“Stand Still Like the Hummingbird” — Henry Miller


Editor‘s Pick

“The Basement” — Kate Millett
WARNING: approach carefully.


Editor‘s Pick

Vol. I: The Ancient World — Susan Wise Bauer — Best history ever. A writer must know enough human history to be gobsmacked about how we were always this way.

Editor‘s Pick

Vol. II: The Medieval World — Susan Wise Bauer

Editor‘s Pick

Vol. III: The Renaissance World — Susan Wise Bauer

Editor‘s Pick

Betraying Spinoza: The Renegade Jew Who Gave Us Modernity — Rebecca Goldstein — “...a secularist challenge to religion that would be as radical as it was original.”

Editor‘s Pick

The Courtier and the Heretic: Leibniz, Spinoza, and the Fate of God — Matthew Stewart — Genius Leibniz denounced Spinoza in public, was privately obsessed. Reason vs Monads.

Editor‘s Pick

Guns, Germs, & Steel — Jared Diamond — .

Historical Fiction

“The Last of the Amazons” — Stephen Pressfield — sharp and infogettable storytelling, excellent research, vivid characters. Nitty-gritty.


Editor‘s Pick

“The Killer Angels” — Michael Shaara — extraordinary qualities of historical accuracy and luminous writing.


Editor‘s Pick

“Genghis: Birth of an Empire” — Conn Iggulden — more per page than most writers in any genre. Ripping yarns; tendon-flexing symphonies of lean storytelling. An instruction set for effective prose + Genghis! Mongolia/China/Persia!


“The Ptolemies” — Duncan Strott — odd, digressive, intimate, and languid. Hear the fat alligators splash in the temple pool.