Mailer, who won two Pulitzer Prizes, wrote 44 books and also produced one of the largest troves of letters in American life. J Michael Lennon, author of a 2013 Mailer biography, worked with the author over the last 30 months of his life to sift through 45,000 missives he wrote to 4,000 people, narrowing the selection down to 714. Beginning with his 1940 letter to his parents from Harvard, asking if they would subsidise the cost of his applying to literary magazine The Advocate, Mailer’s correspondence offers an intimate look at the author in all his variety: filial, pugnacious, collegial, spiteful, affectionate, defiant and generous by turn. Of particular note: his letters to Jack Henry Abbott, the convicted murderer whose literary talent he championed, James Jones, William Styron and longtime friend Diana Trilling. (Random House)