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Essays

How To Read and Why

How To Read and Why

Bloom, Harold
$16.00
Information is endlessly available to us; where shall wisdom be found?" is the crucial question with which renowned literary critic Harold Bloom begins this impassioned book on the pleasures and benefits of reading well. For more than forty years, Bloom has transformed college students into lifelong readers with his unrivaled love for literature. Now, at a time when faster and easier electronic media threatens to eclipse the practice of reading, Bloom draws on his experience as critic, teacher, and prolific reader to plumb the great books for their sustaining wisdom.
Shedding all polemic, Bloom addresses the solitary reader, who, he urges, should read for the purest of all reasons: to discover and augment the self. His ultimate faith in the restorative power of literature resonates on every page of this infinitely rewarding and important book.
Where I Come From

Where I Come From

Bragg, Rick
$26.95
From the best-selling, Pulitzer Prize-winning author of All Over but the Shoutin' and The Best Cook in the World, a collection of his irresistible columns from Southern Living and Garden & Gun

A collection of wide-ranging and endearingly personal columns by the celebrated author, newspaper columnist, and Pulitzer Prize winner Rick Bragg, culled from his best-loved pieces in Southern Living and Garden & Gun.

From his love of Tupperware (My Affair with Tupperware) to the decline of country music, from the legacy of Harper Lee to the metamorphosis of the pickup truck, the best way to kill fire ants, the unbridled excess of Fat Tuesday, and why any self-respecting southern man worth his salt should carry a good knife, Where I Come From is an ode to the stories and the history of the Deep South, written with tenderness, wit, and deep affection--a book that will be treasured by fans old and new.

97,196 Words: Essays

97,196 Words: Essays

Carrere, Emmanuel
$28.00

A selection of the best short work by France's greatest living nonfiction writer

No one writes nonfiction like Emmanuel Carrère. Although he takes cues from such literary heroes as Truman Capote and Janet Malcolm, Carrère has, over the course of his career, reinvented the form in a search for truth in all its guises. Dispensing with the rules of genre, he takes what he needs from every available form or discipline--be it theology, historiography, fiction, reportage, or memoir--and fuses it under the pressure of an inimitable combination of passion, curiosity, intellect, and wit. With an oeuvre unique in world literature for its blend of empathy and playfulness, Carrère stands as one of our most distinctive and important literary voices.

97,196 Words introduces Carrère's shorter works to an English-language audience. Featuring more than thirty extraordinary essays written over an illustrious twenty-five-year period of Carrère's creative life, this collection shows an exceptional mind at work. Spanning continents, histories, and personal relationships, and treating everything from American heroin addicts to the writing of In Cold Blood, from the philosophy of Philip K. Dick to a single haunting sentence in a minor story by H. P. Lovecraft, from Carrère's own botched interview with Catherine Deneuve to the week he spent following the future French president Emmanuel Macron, 97,196 Words considers the divides between truth, reality, and our shared humanity as it explores remarkable events and eccentric lives, including Carrère's own.

Coventry

Coventry

Cusk, Rachel
$27.00

NPR's Favorite Books of 2019

Rachel Cusk redrew the boundaries of fiction with the Outline Trilogy, three "literary masterpieces" (The Washington Post) whose narrator, Faye, perceives the world with a glinting, unsparing intelligence while remaining opaque to the reader. Lauded for the precision of her prose and the quality of her insight, Cusk is a writer of uncommon brilliance. Now, in Coventry, she gathers a selection of her nonfiction writings that both offers new insights on the themes at the heart of her fiction and forges a startling critical voice on some of our most urgent personal, social, and artistic questions.

Coventry encompasses memoir, cultural criticism, and writing about literature, with pieces on family life, gender, and politics, and on D. H. Lawrence, Françoise Sagan, and Kazuo Ishiguro. Named for an essay Cusk published in Granta ("Every so often, for offences actual or hypothetical, my mother and father stop speaking to me. There's a funny phrase for this phenomenon in England: it's called being sent to Coventry"), this collection is pure Cusk and essential reading for our age: fearless, unrepentantly erudite, and dazzling to behold.

Roxanne says: Cusk's essay "Lions on Leashes" alone is worth the price! Resonant and profound.

Slouching Towards Bethlehem

Slouching Towards Bethlehem

Didion, Joan
$16.00

Beautifully repackaged as part of the Picador Modern Classics Series, this special edition is small enough to fit in your pocket and bold enough to stand out on your bookshelf.

Celebrated, iconic, and indispensable, Joan Didion's first work of nonfiction,
Slouching Towards Bethlehem, is considered a watershed moment in American writing. First published in 1968, the collection was critically praised as one of the "best prose written in this country."

More than perhaps any other book, this collection by one of the most distinctive prose stylists of our era captures the unique time and place of Joan Didion's focus, exploring subjects such as John Wayne and Howard Hughes, growing up in California and the nature of good and evil in a Death Valley motel room, and, especially, the essence of San Francisco's Haight-Ashbury, the heart of the counterculture. As Joyce Carol Oates remarked: "[Didion] has been an articulate witness to the most stubborn and intractable truths of our time, a memorable voice, partly eulogistic, partly despairing; always in control."

Same Gate: A Collection of Writings in the Spirit of Rumi (None)

Same Gate: A Collection of Writings in the Spirit of Rumi (None)

Durovicova, Natasa
$15.00
Featuring 17 poets and writers from around the world in a setting devoted to the contemplation of Rumi's long-standing importance, this collection offers a series of dynamic essay-reflections from the US, Iran, Mexico, Afghanistan, Syria, Sweden, France, Turkey, and Pakistan.
American Originality: Essays on Poetry

American Originality: Essays on Poetry

Glück, Louise
$16.00

A luminous collection of essays from one of our most original and influential poets

Five decades after her debut poetry collection, Firstborn, Louise Glück is a towering figure in American letters. Written with the same probing, analytic control that has long distinguished her poetry, American Originality is Glück's second book of essays--her first, Proofs and Theories, won the 1993 PEN/Martha Albrand Award for First Nonfiction. Glück's moving and disabusing lyricism is on full display in this decisive new collection.

From its opening pages, American Originality forces readers to consider contemporary poetry and its demigods in radical, unconsoling, and ultimately very productive ways. Determined to wrest ample, often contradictory meaning from our current literary discourse, Glück comprehends and destabilizes notions of "narcissism" and "genius" that are unique to the American literary climate. This includes erudite analyses of the poets who have interested her throughout her own career, such as Rilke, Pinsky, Chiasson, and Dobyns, and introductions to the first books of poets like Dana Levin, Peter Streckfus, Spencer Reece, and Richard Siken. Forceful, revealing, challenging, and instructive, American Originality is a seminal critical achievement.

Collected Essays of Elizabeth Hardwick

Collected Essays of Elizabeth Hardwick

Hardwick, Elizabeth; Pinckney,
$19.95
The first-ever collection of essays from across Elizabeth Hardwick's illustrious writing career, including works not seen in print for decades.

A New York Times Notable Book of 2017

Elizabeth Hardwick wrote during the golden age of the American literary essay. For Hardwick, the essay was an imaginative endeavor, a serious form, criticism worthy of the literature in question. In the essays collected here she covers civil rights demonstrations in the 1960s, describes places where she lived and locations she visited, and writes about the foundations of American literature--Melville, James, Wharton--and the changes in American fiction, though her reading is wide and international. She contemplates writers' lives--women writers, rebels, Americans abroad--and the literary afterlife of biographies, letters, and diaries. Selected and with an introduction by Darryl Pinckney, the Collected Essays gathers more than fifty essays for a fifty-year retrospective of Hardwick's work from 1953 to 2003. "For Hardwick," writes Pinckney, "the poetry and novels of America hold the nation's history." Here is an exhilarating chronicle of that history.
Make It Scream, Make It Burn

Make It Scream, Make It Burn

Jamison, Leslie
$17.99
From the "astounding" (Entertainment Weekly), "spectacularly evocative" (The Atlantic), and "brilliant" (Los Angeles Times) author of the New York Times bestsellers The Recovering and The Empathy Exams comes a return to the essay form in this expansive book.

With the virtuosic synthesis of memoir, criticism, and journalism for which Leslie Jamison has been so widely acclaimed, the fourteen essays in Make It Scream, Make It Burn explore the oceanic depths of longing and the reverberations of obsession.

Among Jamison's subjects are 52 Blue, deemed "the loneliest whale in the world"; the eerie past-life memories of children; the devoted citizens of an online world called Second Life; the haunted landscape of the Sri Lankan Civil War; and an entire museum dedicated to the relics of broken relationships. Jamison follows these examinations to more personal reckonings -- with elusive men and ruptured romances, with marriage and maternity -- in essays about eloping in Las Vegas, becoming a stepmother, and giving birth.

Often compared to Joan Didion and Susan Sontag, and widely considered one of the defining voices of her generation, Jamison interrogates her own life with the same nuance and rigor she brings to her subjects. The result is a provocative reminder of the joy and sustenance that can be found in the unlikeliest of circumstances.

Finalist for the PEN/Diamonstein-Spielvogel Award for the Art of the Essay
One of the fall's most anticipated books: Time, Entertainment Weekly, O, Oprah Magazine, Boston Globe, Newsweek, Esquire, Seattle Times, Baltimore Sun, BuzzFeed, BookPage, The Millions, Marie Claire, Good Housekeeping, Minneapolis Star Tribune, Lit Hub, Women's Day, AV Club, Nylon, Bustle, Goop, Goodreads, Book Riot, Yahoo! Lifestyle, Pacific Standard, The Week, and Romper.
Bad Side of Books

Bad Side of Books

Lawrence, D.H.
$19.95
You could describe D.H. Lawrence as the great multi-instrumentalist among the great writers of the twentieth century. He was a brilliant, endlessly controversial novelist who transformed, for better and for worse, the way we write about sex and emotions; he was a wonderful poet; he was an essayist of burning curiosity, expansive lyricism, odd humor, and radical intelligence, equaled, perhaps, only by Virginia Woolf. Here Geoff Dyer, one of the finest essayists of our day, draws on the whole range of Lawrence's published essays to reintroduce him to a new generation of readers for whom the essay has become an important genre. We get Lawrence the book reviewer, writing about Death in Venice and welcoming Ernest Hemingway; Lawrence the travel writer, in Mexico and New Mexico and Italy; Lawrence the memoirist, depicting his strange sometime-friend Maurice Magnus; Lawrence the restless inquirer into the possibilities of the novel, writing about the novel and morality and addressing the question of why the novel matters; and, finally, the Lawrence who meditates on birdsong or the death of a porcupine in the Rocky Mountains. Dyer's selection of Lawrence's essays is a wonderful introduction to a fundamental, dazzling writer.
How to Slowly Kill Yourself and Others in America

How to Slowly Kill Yourself and Others in America

Laymon, Kiese
$16.00
A revised collection with thirteen essays, including six new to this edition and seven from the original edition, by the "star in the American literary firmament, with a voice that is courageous, honest, loving, and singularly beautiful" (NPR).

Brilliant and uncompromising, piercing and funny, How to Slowly Kill Yourself and Others in America is essential reading. This new edition of award-winning author Kiese Laymon's first work of nonfiction looks inward, drawing heavily on the author and his family's experiences, while simultaneously examining the world--Mississippi, the South, the United States--that has shaped their lives. With subjects that range from an interview with his mother to reflections on Ole Miss football, Outkast, and the labor of Black women, these thirteen insightful essays highlight Laymon's profound love of language and his artful rendering of experience, trumpeting why he is "simply one of the most talented writers in America" (New York magazine).

Words Are My Matter

Words Are My Matter

Le Guin, Ursula K.
$15.99
A collection of essays on life and literature, from one of the most iconic authors and astute critics in contemporary letters.

Words Are My Matter is essential reading: a collection of talks, essays, and criticism by Ursula K. Le Guin, a literary legend and unparalleled voice of our social conscience. Here she investigates the depth and breadth of contemporary fiction--and, through the lens of literature, gives us a way of exploring the world around us.

In "Freedom," Le Guin notes: "Hard times are coming, when we'll be wanting the voices of writers who can see alternatives to how we live now ... to other ways of being, and even imagine real grounds for hope. We'll need writers who can remember freedom--poets, visionaries--realists of a larger reality."

Le Guin was one of those authors and in Words Are My Matter she gives us just that: a vision of a better reality, fueled by the power and might and hope of language and literature.

Words and Worlds

Words and Worlds

Lurie, Alison
$16.00
In this candid and bluntly humorous collection of essays on a wide range of topics, Lurie begins with a candid portrait of her life at Radcliffe during World War II when the smartest women in the country were treated like second-class citizens, the most scholarly among them expected to work in factories to support the war effort. She moves on to her unheralded, clumsy attempts and near failure to be a writer, and finally having reached a level of recognition, the great good fortune of forming close relationships with other writers and editors and great thinkers, including Robert Silver of the New York Review of Books, the poet James Merrill and the illustrator, Edward Gorey. On this fascinating journey, we are amused by her insightful, often delightfully funny meditations on topics like "deconstruction" and beloved children's literature series such as The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe, Harry Potter, and Barbar. A crowning reminiscence from a much beloved and celebrated writer.--Boston Globe
Poetry Handbook

Poetry Handbook

Oliver, Mary
$14.99
With passion, wit, and good common sense, the celebrated poet Mary Oliver tells of the basic ways a poem is built-meter and rhyme, form and diction, sound and sense. Drawing on poems from Robert Frost, Elizabeth Bishop, and others, Oliver imparts an extraordinary amount of information in a remarkably short space. "Stunning" (Los Angeles Times). Index.
Little Weirds

Little Weirds

Slate, Jenny
$27.00
One of Vanity Fair's Great Quarantine Reads: Step into Jenny Slate's wild imagination in this "magical" (Mindy Kaling), "delicious" (Amy Sedaris), and "poignant" (John Mulaney) New York Times bestseller about love, heartbreak, and being alive -- "this book is something new and wonderful" (George Saunders).

You may "know" Jenny Slate from her Netflix special, Stage Fright, as the creator of Marcel the Shell, or as the star of "Obvious Child." But you don't really know Jenny Slate until you get bonked on the head by her absolutely singular writing style. To see the world through Jenny's eyes is to see it as though for the first time, shimmering with strangeness and possibility.

As she will remind you, we live on an ancient ball that rotates around a bigger ball made up of lights and gasses that are science gasses, not farts (don't be immature). Heartbreak, confusion, and misogyny stalk this blue-green sphere, yes, but it is also a place of wild delight and unconstrained vitality, a place where we can start living as soon as we are born, and we can be born at any time. In her dazzling, impossible-to-categorize debut, Jenny channels the pain and beauty of life in writing so fresh, so new, and so burstingly alive, we catch her vision like a fever and bring it back out into the bright day with us, where everything has changed.
How to Make a Slave and Other Essays

How to Make a Slave and Other Essays

Walker, Jerald
$19.95
Finalist for the 2020 National Book Award in Nonfiction

For the black community, Jerald Walker asserts in How to Make a Slave, "anger is often a prelude to a joke, as there is broad understanding that the triumph over this destructive emotion lay in finding its punchline." It is on the knife's edge between fury and farce that the essays in this exquisite collection balance. Whether confronting the medical profession's racial biases, considering the complicated legacy of Michael Jackson, paying homage to his writing mentor James Alan McPherson, or attempting to break free of personal and societal stereotypes, Walker elegantly blends personal revelation and cultural critique. The result is a bracing and often humorous examination by one of America's most acclaimed essayists of what it is to grow, parent, write, and exist as a black American male. Walker refuses to lull his readers; instead his missives urge them to do better as they consider, through his eyes, how to be a good citizen, how to be a good father, how to live, and how to love.