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Essays

Wonderlands

Wonderlands

Baxter, Charles
$17.00

Searching and erudite new essays on writing from the author of Burning Down the House.

Charles Baxter's new collection of essays, Wonderlands, joins his other works of nonfiction, Burning Down the House and The Art of Subtext. In the mold of those books, Baxter shares years of wisdom and reflection on what makes fiction work, including essays that were first given as craft talks at the Bread Loaf Writers' Conference.

The essays here range from brilliant thinking on the nature of wonderlands in the fiction of Haruki Murakami and other fabulist writers, to how request moments function in a story. Baxter is equally at home tackling a thorny matter such as charisma (which intersects with political figures like the disastrous forty-fifth US president) as he is bringing new interest to subjects such as list-making in fiction.

Amid these craft essays, an interlude of two personal essays--the story of a horrifying car crash and an introspective "letter to a young poet"--add to the intimate nature of the book. The final essay reflects on a lifetime of writing, and closes with a memorable image of Baxter as a boy, waiting at the window for a parent who never arrives and filling that absence with stories. Wonderlands will stand alongside his prior work as an insightful and lasting work of criticism.

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 irresistible columns from Southern Living and Garden & Gun

Celebrated author and newspaper columnist Rick Bragg brings us an ode to the stories and history of the Deep South, filled with "eclectic nuggets about places and people he knows well" (USA Today) and written with honesty, wit, and deep affection.

A collection of wide-ranging and endearingly personal columns--from Bragg's love of Tupperware (his mother preferred margarine tubs and thought Tupperware was "just showing off") to the decline of country music, from the legacy of Harper Lee to the metamorphosis of the pickup truck to the best way to kill fire ants--Where I Come From is a book that will be treasured by fans old and new.

Dear Memory: Letters on Writing, Silence, and Grief

Dear Memory: Letters on Writing, Silence, and Grief

Chang, Victoria
$25.00

A Kirkus Best Book of October 2021

From poet Victoria Chang, a collection of literary letters and mementos on the art of remembering across generations.

For Victoria Chang, memory "isn't something that blooms, but something that bleeds internally." It is willed, summoned, and dragged to the surface. The remembrances in this collection of letters are founded in the fragments of stories her mother shared reluctantly, and the silences of her father, who first would not and then could not share more. They are whittled and sculpted from an archive of family relics: a marriage license, a letter, a visa petition, a photograph. And, just as often, they are built on the questions that can no longer be answered.

Dear Memory is not a transcription but a process of simultaneously shaping and being shaped, knowing that when a writer dips their pen into history, what emerges is poetry. In carefully crafted collages and missives on trauma, loss, and Americanness, Victoria Chang grasps on to a sense of self that grief threatens to dissipate.

In letters to family, past teachers, and fellow poets, as the imagination, Dear Memory offers a model for what it looks like to find ourselves in our histories.

Other Honors for Dear Memory:

An Electric Literature Favorite Nonfiction Book of 2021

A TIME Magazine Most Anticipated Book of Fall 2021

A Los Angeles Times Most Anticipated Book of Fall 2021

A Literary Hub Most Anticipated Book of 2021An NPR Most Anticipated Book of October 2021

Home in Florida: Latinx Writers and the Literature of Uprootedness

Home in Florida: Latinx Writers and the Literature of Uprootedness

Delgado, Anjanette
$26.95

Independent Publisher Book Awards, Silver Medal
for Anthology


A powerful collection of contemporary voices


Showcasing a variety of voices shaped in and by a place that has been for them a crossroads and a land of contradictions, Home in Florida presents a selection of the best literature of displacement and uprootedness by some of the most talented contemporary Latinx writers who have called Florida home.



Featuring fiction, nonfiction, and poetry by Richard Blanco, Jaquira Díaz, Patricia Engel, Jennine Capó Crucet, Reinaldo Arenas, Judith Ortiz Cofer, and many others, this collection of renowned and award-winning contributors includes several who are celebrated in their countries of origin but have not yet been discovered by readers in the United States. The writers in this volume--first-, second-, and third-generation immigrants to Florida from Cuba, Mexico, Honduras, Perú, Argentina, Chile, and other countries--reflect the diversity of Latinx experiences across the state.



Editor Anjanette Delgado characterizes the work in this collection as literature of uprootedness, literatura del desarraigo, a Spanish literary tradition and a term used by Reinaldo Arenas. With the heart-changing, here-and-there perspective of attempting life in environments not their own, these writers portray many different responses to displacement, each occupying their own unique place on what Delgado calls a spectrum of belonging.


Together, these writers explore what exactly makes Florida home for those struggling between memory and presence. In these works, as it is for many people seeking to make a new life in the United States, Florida is the place where the uprooted stop to catch their breath long enough to wonder, "What if I stayed? What if here could one day be my home?"

Slouching Towards Bethlehem : Essays

Didion, Joan
$17.00
White Album

White Album

Didion, Joan
$15.00

Nora says: I was prompted to re-read Didion after hearing of her passing, and am once again moved by her intellect, her observations, her style. The White Album is a great place to start if you haven't read her non-fiction yet. Critics have pointed to the pieces on the sixties and James Jones' Hawaii as prime examples of her idiosyncratic style , but for my money, Many Mansions (Ronald Reagan's failed Governor's mansion project) and Quiet Days In Malibu (orchid breeding), are right up there!


 

"Didion is an original journalistic talent who can strike at the heart, or the absurdity, of a matter in our contemporary wasteland with quick, graceful strokes." –San Francisco Chronicle

 

"We tell ourselves stories in order to live . . . We interpret what we see, select the most workable of the multiple choices. We live entirely, especially if we are writers, by the imposition of a narrative line upon disparate images . . . Or at least we do for a while."

 

First published in 1979, The White Album is a mosaic—of people, places, events—from the late 1960s and 1970s. Among other artifacts and personalities from those years, it includes the dark journeys and impulses of the Manson family, a Black Panther Party press conference, portraits of Doris Lessing and Georgia O'Keeffe, the romance of water in an arid landscape, and a visit to the disorienting city of Bogota—a varied and vibrant portrait of the times as seen through Joan Didion's clear-eyed perspective. With commanding sureness of mood and language, she exposes the realities and dreams of that age of self discovery whose spiritual center was California.

Why Didn’t You Just Do What You Were Told?

Why Didn't You Just Do What You Were Told?

Diski, Jenny
$18.00

NBCC Finalist
NEW YORK TIMES EDITORS' CHOICE

The best of the indomitable Jenny Diski's essays, an injection of grade-A intellectual adrenaline (Vulture), selected by the legendary editor Mary-Kay Wilmers.

Diski expanded notions about what nonfiction, as an art form, could do and could be. --New Yorker

Jenny Diski was a fearless writer, for whom no subject was too difficult, even her own cancer diagnosis. Her columns in the London Review of Books--selected here by her editor and friend Mary-Kay Wilmers, on subjects as various as death, motherhood, sexual politics and the joys of solitude--have been described as virtuoso performances, and small masterpieces.

From Highgate Cemetery to the interior of a psychiatric hospital, from Tottenham Court Road to the icebergs of Antarctica, Why Didn't You Just Do What You Were Told? is an interrogation of universal experience from a very particular psyche: original, opinionated--and mordantly funny. With an afterword by her daughter, Chloe Diski, this is a must-have for essay lovers everywhere.

In the Margins: On the Pleasures of Reading and Writing

In the Margins: On the Pleasures of Reading and Writing

Ferrante, Elena
$20.00

Four new and revelatory essays by the author of My Brilliant Friend and The Lost Daughter.

In 2020, Claire Luchette in O, The Oprah Magazine described the beloved Italian novelist Elena Ferrante as "an oracle among authors." Here, in these four crisp essays, Ferrante offers a rare look at the origins of her literary powers. She writes about her influences, her struggles, and her formation as both a reader and a writer; she describes the perils of "bad language" and suggests ways in which it has long excluded women's truth; she proposes a choral fusion of feminine talent as she brilliantly discourses on the work of Emily Dickinson, Gertrude Stein, Ingeborg Bachmann, and many others.

Here is a subtle yet candid book by "one of the great novelists of our time" about adventures in literature, both in and out of the margins.

"Everyone should read everything with Elena Ferrante's name on it."--The Boston Globe

Sunshine State: Essays

Sunshine State: Essays

Gerard, Sarah
$15.99

Longlisted for the PEN/Diamonstein-Spielvogel Award for the Art of the Essay - Finalist for the Southern Book Prize

A New York Times Critics' Best Books of the Year - An NPR Best Book of the Year - A NYLON Best Nonfiction Book of the Year - A Buzzfeed Best Nonfiction Book of the Year - An Entrophy Magazine Best Non-Fiction Book of the Year - A Brooklyn Rail Best Non-Fiction Book of the Year - A Baltimore Beat Best Book of the Year

A Paris Review Staff Pick - A Chicago Tribune Exciting Book for 2017 - A Rolling Stone Culture Index Reccomendation - A Buzzfeed Most Exciting Book for 2017 - A The Millions Great 2017 Book Preview Pick - A Huffington Post 2017 Preview Pick - A NYLON Best 10 Books of the Month - A Lit Hub 15 Books to Read This Month A Poets & Writers New and Noteworth Selection - A PW Top 10 Spring Pick in Essays & Literary Criticism- An Emma Straub Reccomendation on PBS

"One of the themes of 'Sunshine State, ' Sarah Gerard's striking book of essays, is how Florida can unmoor you and make you reach for shoddy, off-the-shelf solutions to your psychic unease.... The first essay is a knockout, a lurid red heart wrapped in barbed wire.... This essay draws blood." -- Dwight Garner, New York Times

Unflinchingly candid memoir bolstered by thoughtfully researched history.... A nuanced and subtly intimate mosaic... her writing, lucid yet atmospheric, takes on a timeless ebb and flow." -- Jason Heller, NPR.org

Stunning. -- Rolling Stone

"These large-hearted, meticulous essays offer an uncanny x-ray of our national psyche... showing us both the grand beauty of our American dreams and the heartbreaking devastation they wreak." -- Garth Greenwell, author of What Belongs to You

Sarah Gerard follows her breakout novel, Binary Star, with the dynamic essay collection Sunshine State, which explores Florida as a microcosm of the most pressing economic and environmental perils haunting our society.

In the collection's title essay, Gerard volunteers at the Suncoast Seabird Sanctuary, a world renowned bird refuge. There she meets its founder, who once modeled with a pelican on his arm for a Dewar's Scotch campaign but has since declined into a pit of fraud and madness. He becomes our embezzling protagonist whose tales about the birds he "rescues" never quite add up. Gerard's personal stories are no less eerie or poignant: An essay that begins as a look at Gerard's first relationship becomes a heart-wrenching exploration of acquaintance rape and consent. An account of intimate female friendship pivots midway through, morphing into a meditation on jealousy and class.

With the personal insight of The Empathy Exams, the societal exposal of Nickel and Dimed, and the stylistic innovation and intensity of her own break-out debut novel Binary Star, Sarah Gerard's Sunshine State uses the intimately personal to unearth the deep reservoirs of humanity buried in the corners of our world often hardest to face.

Roxanne says: Former New College Writer in Residence's comprehensive Florida book which profiles fascinating real life characters as well as weaving in her own chaotic upbringing.