As recently as February of last year, just before the coronavirus shut theaters, David Mamet was working. (The Christopher Boy’s Communion, which he both wrote and directed, premiered at L.A.’s Odyssey Theatre for a limited run and featured a star-studded cast led by William H. Macy.) The prolific playwright has brought his magic touch to both the stage (Glengarry Glen Ross, for which he won the Pulitzer Prize; Speed-the-Plow) and the screen (Heist, The Untouchables), delivering cynical, street-smart works that don’t shy away from controversy. Here, Mamet recommends the authors you never knew you needed, with input from the late Shel Silverstein.

Twelve Against the Gods: The Story of Adventure, by William Bolitho

Please allow me to introduce you to the works of William Bolitho. I learned of him from my great friend Shel Silverstein, who said that there are some books so good you want to hug them to your chest, and some so damned good you just want to eat them. As I do the following.