Essay/nonfiction

American Originality: Essays on Poetry

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$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.

ISBN/SKU: 
9780374537463
0
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Au Revoir, Tristesse: Lessons in Happiness from French Literature

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$25.00
A lighthearted look at how to bring more humor, happiness, and joie de vivre into our lives through French literature

Like many people the world over, Viv Groskop wishes she was a little more French. A writer, comedian, and journalist, Groskop studied the language obsessively starting at age 11, and spent every vacation in France, desperate to escape her Englishness and to have some French chic rub off on her. In Au Revoir, Tristesse, Groskop mixes literary history and memoir to explore how the classics of French literature can infuse our lives with joie de vivre and teach us how to say goodbye to sadness. From the frothy hedonism of Colette and the wit of Cyrano de Bergerac to the intoxicating universe of Marguerite Duras and the heady passions of Les Liaisons dangereuses, this is a love letter to great French writers. With chapters on Marcel Proust, Victor Hugo, Gustave Flaubert, Stendhal, Honoré de Balzac, Albert Camus, and of course Françoise Sagan, this is a delectable read for book lovers everywhere.

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9781419742989
0
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Best American Essays 2019

$15.99
A collection of the year's best essays selected by Robert Atwan and guest editor Rebecca Solnit.

"Essays are restless literature, trying to find out how things fit together, how we can think about two things at once, how the personal and the public can inform each other, how two overtly dissimilar things share a secret kinship," contends Rebecca Solnit in her introduction. From lost languages and extinct species to life-affirming cosmologies and literary myths that offer cold comfort, the personal and the public collide in The Best American Essays 2019. This searching, necessary collection grapples with what has preoccupied us in the past year--sexual politics, race, violence, invasive technologies--and yet, in reading for the book, Solnit also found "how discovery can be a deep pleasure."
The Best American Essays 2019 includes Michelle Alexander, Jabari Asim, Alexander Chee, Masha Gessen, Jean Guerrero, Elizabeth Kolbert, Terese Marie Mailhot, Jia Tolentino, and others.

ISBN/SKU: 
9781328465801
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Beyond Your Bubble: How to Connect Across the Political Divide, Skills and Strategies for Conversations That Work

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$16.99

This practical, politically neutral book offers concrete skills for holding meaningful conversations that cut across today's intense political divide, showing readers how to connect to the people in their lives.

Political polarization is at an all-time high, and the consequences for our personal relationships are significant. Many people have friends and family members with whom they feel they can no longer communicate because of their extreme political views. In this book, psychologist Tania Israel presents her program for helping people have meaningful, constructive conversations with those they disagree with politically.

Chapters show readers how to develop and use the scientifically-proven skills that are the foundation of constructive conversation, including strategies for effective listening, managing emotions, and understanding someone else's perspective, as well as finding common ground, avoiding self-righteousness, and telling your own story. Throughout, conversation prompts, practical exercises, case examples, and self-quizzes help readers visualize and practice starting, sustaining, and ending challenging conversations.

ISBN/SKU: 
9781433833557
0

Bookends: Collected Intros and Outros

$16.99

A brilliant, idiosyncratic collection of introductions and afterwords (plus some liner notes) by New York Times bestselling and Pulitzer Prize winning author Michael Chabon--"one of contemporary literature's most gifted prose stylists" (Michiko Kakutani, New York Times).

In Bookends, Pulitzer Prize winning author Michael Chabon offers a compilation of pieces about literature--age-old classics as well as his own--that presents a unique look into his literary origins and influences, the books that shaped his taste and formed his ideas about writing and reading.

Chabon asks why anyone would write an introduction, or for that matter, read one. His own daughter Rose prefers to skip them. Chabon's answer is simple and simultaneously profound: a hope of bringing pleasure for the reader. Likewise, afterwords--they are all about shared pleasure, about the pure love of a work of art that has inspired, awakened, transformed the reader. Ultimately, this thought-provoking compendium is a series of love letters and thank-you notes, unified by the simple theme of the shared pleasure of discovery, whether it's the boyhood revelation of the most important story in Chabon's life (Ray Bradbury's The Rocket Man); a celebration of the greatest literary cartographer of the planet Mars (Edgar Rice Burroughs, with his character John Carter); a reintroduction to a forgotten master of ghost stories (M. R. James, ironically the happiest of men); the recognition that the worlds of Wes Anderson's films are reassembled scale models of our own broken reality (as is all art); Chabon's own rude awakening from the muse as he writes his debut novel, The Mysteries of Pittsburgh; or a playful parody of lyrical interpretation in the liner notes for Mark Ronson's Uptown Special, the true purpose of which, Chabon insists, is to spread the gospel of sensible automotive safety and maintenance practices.

Galaxies away from academic or didactic, Bookends celebrates wonder--and like the copy of The Phantom Tollbooth handed to young Michael by a friend of his father he never saw again--it is a treasured gift.

ISBN/SKU: 
9780062851291
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Brown Album: Essays on Exile and Identity

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$16.00
*A Vintage Original*
From the much-acclaimed novelist and essayist, a beautifully rendered, poignant collection of personal essays, chronicling immigrant and Iranian-American life in our contemporary moment.

Novelist Porochista Khakpour's family moved to Los Angeles after fleeing the Iranian Revolution, giving up their successes only to be greeted by an alienating culture. Growing up as an immigrant in America means that one has to make one's way through a confusing tangle of conflicting cultures and expectations. And Porochista is pulled between the glitzy culture of Tehrangeles, an enclave of wealthy Iranians and Persians in LA, her own family's modest life and culture, and becoming an assimilated American. Porochista rebels--she bleaches her hair and flees to the East Coast, where she finds her community: other people writing and thinking at the fringes. But, 9/11 happens and with horror, Porochista watches from her apartment window as the towers fall. Extremism and fear of the Middle East rises in the aftermath and then again with the election of Donald Trump. Porochista is forced to finally grapple with what it means to be Middle-Eastern and Iranian, an immigrant, and a refugee in our country today.
Brown Album is a stirring collection of essays, at times humorous and at times profound, drawn from more than a decade of Porochista's work and with new material included. Altogether, it reveals the tolls that immigrant life in this country can take on a person and the joys that life can give.

ISBN/SKU: 
9780525564713
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Busted in New York and Other Essays

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$19.00

A collection of essays that blend the personal and the social, from the celebrated literary critic and novelist

In these twenty-five essays, Darryl Pinckney has given us a view of our recent racial history that blends the social and the personal and wonders how we arrived at our current moment. Pinckney reminds us that "white supremacy isn't back; it never went away." It is this impulse to see historically that is at the core of Busted in New York and Other Essays, which traces the lineage of black intellectual history from Booker T. Washington through the Harlem Renaissance, to the Black Panther Party and the turbulent sixties, to today's Afro-pessimists, and celebrated and neglected thinkers in between.

These are capacious essays whose topics range from the grassroots of protest in Ferguson, Missouri, to the eighteenth-century Guadeloupian composer Joseph Bologne, from an unsparing portrait of Louis Farrakhan to the enduring legacy of James Baldwin, the unexpected story of black people experiencing Russia, Barry Jenkins's Moonlight, and the painter Kara Walker. The essays themselves are a kind of record, many of them written in real-time, as Pinckney witnesses the Million Man March, feels and experiences the highs and lows of Obama's first presidential campaign, explores the literary black diaspora, and reflects on the surprising and severe lesson he learned firsthand about the changing urban fabric of New York.

As Zadie Smith writes in her introduction to the book: "How lucky we are to have Darryl Pinckney who, without rancor, without insult, has, all these years, been taking down our various songs, examining them with love and care, and bringing them back from the past, like a Sankofa bird, for our present examination. These days Sankofas like Darryl are rare. Treasure him!"

ISBN/SKU: 
9781250758132
0
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Calypso

$17.99
David Sedaris returns with his most deeply personal and darkly hilarious book.

If you've ever laughed your way through David Sedaris's cheerfully misanthropic stories, you might think you know what you're getting with Calypso. You'd be wrong.

When he buys a beach house on the Carolina coast, Sedaris envisions long, relaxing vacations spent playing board games and lounging in the sun with those he loves most. And life at the Sea Section, as he names the vacation home, is exactly as idyllic as he imagined, except for one tiny, vexing realization: it's impossible to take a vacation from yourself.

With Calypso, Sedaris sets his formidable powers of observation toward middle age and mortality. Make no mistake: these stories are very, very funny--it's a book that can make you laugh 'til you snort, the way only family can. Sedaris's powers of observation have never been sharper, and his ability to shock readers into laughter unparalleled. But much of the comedy here is born out of that vertiginous moment when your own body betrays you and you realize that the story of your life is made up of more past than future.

This is beach reading for people who detest beaches, required reading for those who loathe small talk and love a good tumor joke. Calypso is simultaneously Sedaris's darkest and warmest book yet--and it just might be his very best.

ISBN/SKU: 
9780316392426
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Collected Schizophrenias: Essays

$16.00

Powerful, affecting essays on mental illness, winner of the Graywolf Press Nonfiction Prize and a Whiting Award

An intimate, moving book written with the immediacy and directness of one who still struggles with the effects of mental and chronic illness, The Collected Schizophrenias cuts right to the core. Schizophrenia is not a single unifying diagnosis, and Esmé Weijun Wang writes not just to her fellow members of the "collected schizophrenias" but to those who wish to understand it as well. Opening with the journey toward her diagnosis of schizoaffective disorder, Wang discusses the medical community's own disagreement about labels and procedures for diagnosing those with mental illness, and then follows an arc that examines the manifestations of schizophrenia in her life. In essays that range from using fashion to present as high-functioning to the depths of a rare form of psychosis, and from the failures of the higher education system and the dangers of institutionalization to the complexity of compounding factors such as PTSD and Lyme disease, Wang's analytical eye, honed as a former lab researcher at Stanford, allows her to balance research with personal narrative. An essay collection of undeniable power, The Collected Schizophrenias dispels misconceptions and provides insight into a condition long misunderstood.

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9781555978273
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Depositions: New and Selected Essays on Being and Ceasing to Be

$27.95

For nearly four decades, poet, essayist, and small-town funeral director Thomas Lynch has probed relations between the literary and mortuary arts. His life's work with the dead and the bereaved has informed four previous collections of nonfiction, each exploring identity and humanity with Lynch's signature blend of memoir, meditation, gallows humor, and poetic precision.

The Depositions provides an essential selection from these masterful collections--essays on fatherhood, Irish heritage, funeral rites, and the perils of bodiless obsequies--as well as new essays in which the space between Lynch's hyphenated identities--as an Irish American, undertaker-poet--is narrowed by the deaths of poets, the funerals of friends, the loss of neighbors, intimate estrangements, and the slow demise of a beloved dog.

In "Gladstone," from The Undertaking, Lynch reflects on his then twenty-five years as an undertaker at the Midwinter Conference for Michigan funeral directors, which incongruously takes place on an island in the Caribbean. With brutal, generous honesty, "The Way We Are," from Bodies in Motion and at Rest, grapples with Lynch's time as a single parent coming to terms with generations of his family inheritance of alcoholism and recovery. The press of the author's own mortality animates the new essays, sharpening a curiosity about where we come from, where we go, and what it means.

As Alan Ball writes in a penetrating foreword, Lynch's work allows us "to see both the absurdity and the beauty of death, sometimes simultaneously." With this landmark collection, he continues to illuminate not only how we die, but also how we live.

ISBN/SKU: 
9781324003977
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Eats, Shoots & Leaves: The Zero Tolerance Approach to Punctuation

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$16.00
The spirited and scholarly #1 New York Times bestseller combines boisterous history with grammar how-to's to show how important punctuation is in our world--period.

In Eats, Shoots & Leaves, former editor Lynne Truss, gravely concerned about our current grammatical state, boldly defends proper punctuation. She proclaims, in her delightfully urbane, witty, and very English way, that it is time to look at our commas and semicolons and see them as the wonderful and necessary things they are. Using examples from literature, history, neighborhood signage, and her own imagination, Truss shows how meaning is shaped by commas and apostrophes, and the hilarious consequences of punctuation gone awry.

Featuring a foreword by Frank McCourt, and interspersed with a lively history of punctuation from the invention of the question mark in the time of Charlemagne to George Orwell shunning the semicolon, Eats, Shoots & Leaves makes a powerful case for the preservation of proper punctuation.

ISBN/SKU: 
9781592402038
0
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Elements of Fiction

$23.00

In his essential writing guide, This Year You Write Your Novel, Walter Mosley supplied aspiring writers with the basic tools to write a novel in one year. In this com-plementary follow up, Mosley guides the writer through the elements of not just any fiction writing, but the kind of writing that transcends convention and truly stands out. How does one approach the genius of writers like Melville, Dickens, or Twain? In The Elements of Fiction, Walter Mosley contemplates the answer.

In a series of instructive and conversational chapters, Mosley demonstrates how to master fiction's most essential elements: character and char-acter development, plot and story, voice and narrative, context and description, and more. The result is a vivid depiction of the writing process, from the blank page to the first draft to rewriting, and rewriting again. Throughout, The Elements of Fiction is enriched by brilliant demonstrative examples that Mosley himself has written here for the first time.

Inspiring, accessible, and told in a voice both trustworthy and wise, The Elements of Fiction writing will intrigue and encourage writers and readers alike.

ISBN/SKU: 
9780802147639
0
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Ex Libris: 100+ Books to Read and Reread

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$25.00
Pulitzer Prize-winning literary critic Michiko Kakutani shares 100 personal, thought-provoking essays about books that have mattered to her and that help illuminate the world we live in today--with beautiful illustrations throughout.

In the introduction to her new collection of essays, Ex Libris 100+ Books to Read and Reread, Michiko Kakutani writes: In a world riven by political and social divisions, literature can connect people across time zones and zip codes, across cultures and religions, national boundaries and historical eras. It can give us an understanding of lives very different from our own, and a sense of the shared joys and losses of human experience.

Readers will discover novels and memoirs by some of the most gifted writers working today; favorite classics worth reading or rereading; and nonfiction works, both old and new, that illuminate our social and political landscape and some of today's most pressing issues, from climate change to medicine to the consequences of digital innovation. There are essential works in American history (The Federalist Papers, The Writings and Speeches of Martin Luther King, Jr.); books that address timely cultural dynamics (Elizabeth Kolbert's The Sixth Extinction, Daniel J. Boorstin's The Image, Margaret Atwood's The Handmaid's Tale); classics of children's literature (the Harry Potter novels, Where the Wild Things Are); and novels by acclaimed contemporary writers like Don DeLillo, William Gibson, Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, and Ian McEwan.

With richly detailed illustrations by lettering artist Dana Tanamachi that evoke vintage bookplates, Ex Libris is an impassioned reminder of why reading matters more than ever.

ISBN/SKU: 
9780525574972
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For Every One

$7.99
"A lyrical masterpiece." --School Library Journal (starred review)

Originally performed at the Kennedy Center for the unveiling of the Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial, and later as a tribute to Walter Dean Myers, this stirring and inspirational poem is New York Times bestselling author and National Book Award finalist Jason Reynolds's rallying cry to the young dreamers of the world.

For Every One is exactly that: for every one. For every one person. For every one who has a dream. But especially for every kid. The kids who dream of being better than they are. Kids who dream of doing more than they almost dare to imagine. Kids who are like Jason Reynolds, a self-professed dreamer. Jason does not claim to know how to make dreams come true; he has, in fact, been fighting on the front line of his own battle to make his own dreams a reality. He expected to make it when he was sixteen. Then eighteen. Then twenty-five. Now, some of those expectations have been realized. But others, the most important ones, lay ahead, and a lot of them involve kids, how to inspire them: All the kids who are scared to dream, or don't know how to dream, or don't dare to dream because they've NEVER seen a dream come true. Jason wants kids to know that dreams take time. They involve countless struggles. But no matter how many times a dreamer gets beat down, the drive and the passion and the hope never fully extinguishes--because simply having the dream is the start you need, or you won't get anywhere anyway, and that is when you have to take a leap of faith.

A pitch-perfect graduation, baby, or inspirational gift for anyone who needs to me reminded of their own abilities--to dream.

ISBN/SKU: 
9781481486255
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Forever Fifty: And Other Negotiations

$17.00
Judith Viorst is known and loved by readers of all ages, for children's books such as Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day; nonfiction titles, including the bestseller Necessary Losses; and her collections of humorous poetry, which make perfect gifts for birthdays, Mother's Day, graduation, Christmas, Chanukah, or at any time of year.

Now Judith Viorst looks at what it's like to be (gulp) fifty.

Writing with the warmth and authenticity that have become her trademarks, Viorst once again demonstrates her uncanny ability to transform our daily realities into poems that make us laugh with recognition. Whether her subject is the decline of the body ("It's hard to be devil-may-care/When there are pleats in your derrière") or future aspirations ("Before I go, I'd like to have high cheekbones./I'd like to talk less like New Jersey, and more like Claire Bloom"), she always speaks directly to our condition. Her funny, compassionate poems shed a reassuring light on the fine art of aging, and will delight anyone who is now (or forever) fifty.

ISBN/SKU: 
9780684832371
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Had I Known: Collected Essays

$28.00
A new selection of the most provocative, incendiary, and career-making pieces by bestselling author, essayist, political activist, and "veteran muckraker" (The New Yorker) Barbara Ehrenreich.
A self-proclaimed "myth buster by trade," Barbara Ehrenreich has covered an extensive range of topics as a journalist and political activist, and is unafraid to dive into intellectual waters that others deem too murky. Now, Had I Known gathers the articles and excerpts from a long-ranging career that most highlight Ehrenreich's brilliance, social consciousness, and wry wit.
From Ehrenreich's award-winning article "Welcome to Cancerland," published shortly after she was diagnosed with breast cancer, to her groundbreaking undercover investigative journalism in Nickel and Dimed, to her exploration of death and mortality in the New York Times bestseller, Natural Causes, Barbara Ehrenreich has been writing radical, thought-provoking, and worldview-altering pieces for over four decades. Her reviews have appeared in The New York Times Book Review, The Washington Post, The Atlantic Monthly, and the Los Angeles Times Book Review, among others, while her essays, op-eds and feature articles have appeared in The New York Times, Harper's Magazine, The New York Times Magazine, Time, The Wall Street Journal, and many more. Had I Known pulls from the vast and varied collection of one of our country's most incisive thinkers to create one must-have volume.
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9781455543670
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Hatred of Translation

$17.95
Hatred of Translation thinks through translation with an emphasis on its disaggregation. These pieces address, sometimes obliquely, often with effrontery, the works of René Char, Hervé Guibert, Hilda Hilst, Danielle Collobert, Frankétienne, Mizoguchi Kenji, Ingeborg Bachmann, Kobayashi Masaki, and Marguerite Duras. Resolutely resistant to anything resembling a theory of a thing, these pieces provoke a persistent commitment to thinking in the place of theorizing. Where the French pensée means both of aphoristic thought and of the pansy, Hatred of Translation seeks a garden in the midst of body such as it is occupied by language.

FINALIST for the FIRECRACKER AWARDS

ISBN/SKU: 
9781643620039
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I'm Telling the Truth, But I'm Lying: Essays

$15.99

INSTANT NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER!

In I'm Telling the Truth, but I'm Lying Bassey Ikpi explores her life--as a Nigerian-American immigrant, a black woman, a slam poet, a mother, a daughter, an artist--through the lens of her mental health and diagnosis of bipolar II and anxiety. Her remarkable memoir in essays implodes our preconceptions of the mind and normalcy as Bassey bares her own truths and lies for us all to behold with radical honesty and brutal intimacy.

A The Root Favorite Books of the Year -A Good Housekeeping Best 60 Books of the Year - A YNaija 10 Notable Books of the Year -A GOOP 10 New Favorite Books - A Cup of Jo 5 Big Books of Fall - A Bitch Magazine Most Anticipated Books of 2019 - A Bustle 21 New Memoirs That Will Inspire, Motivate, and Captivate You - A Publishers Weekly Spring Preview Selection - An Electric Lit 48 Books by Women and Nonbinary Authors of Color to Read in 2019 - A Bookish Best Nonfiction of Summer Selection

We will not think or talk about mental health or normalcy the same after reading this momentous art object moonlighting as a colossal collection of essays." --Kiese Laymon, author of Heavy

From her early childhood in Nigeria through her adolescence in Oklahoma, Bassey Ikpi lived with a tumult of emotions, cycling between extreme euphoria and deep depression--sometimes within the course of a single day. By the time she was in her early twenties, Bassey was a spoken word artist and traveling with HBO's Def Poetry Jam, channeling her life into art. But beneath the façade of the confident performer, Bassey's mental health was in a precipitous decline, culminating in a breakdown that resulted in hospitalization and a diagnosis of Bipolar II.

In I'm Telling the Truth, But I'm Lying, Bassey Ikpi breaks open our understanding of mental health by giving us intimate access to her own. Exploring shame, confusion, medication, and family in the process, Bassey looks at how mental health impacts every aspect of our lives--how we appear to others, and more importantly to ourselves--and challenges our preconception about what it means to be normal. Viscerally raw and honest, the result is an exploration of the stories we tell ourselves to make sense of who we are--and the ways, as honest as we try to be, each of these stories can also be a lie.

--Caroline Kepnes, author of You and Hidden Bodies
ISBN/SKU: 
9780062698346
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Intimations: Six Essays

$10.95
"Smith does more than illuminate what we're going through right now. She offers a model of how to think ourselves through a fraught historical moment without getting hysterical or sanctimonious, without losing our compassion or our appreciation for what's good in other people. She teaches us how to be better at being human." --John Powers, Fresh Air

Deeply personal and powerfully moving, a short and timely series of reflective essays by one of the most clear-sighted and essential writers of our time.

Written during the early months of lockdown, Intimations explores ideas and questions prompted by an unprecedented situation. What does it mean to submit to a new reality--or to resist it? How do we compare relative sufferings? What is the relationship between time and work? In our isolation, what do other people mean to us? How do we think about them? What is the ratio of contempt to compassion in a crisis? When an unfamiliar world arrives, what does it reveal about the world that came before it?

Suffused with a profound intimacy and tenderness in response to these extraordinary times, Intimations is a slim, suggestive volume with a wide scope, in which Zadie Smith clears a generous space for thought, open enough for each reader to reflect on what has happened--and what should come next.

The author will donate her royalties from the sale of Intimations to charity.

ISBN/SKU: 
9780593297612
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It Occurs to Me That I Am America: New Stories and Art

$19.99
A provocative, unprecedented anthology featuring original short stories on what it means to be an American from thirty bestselling and award-winning authors with an introduction by Pulitzer Prize-winning author Viet Thanh Nguyen: "This chorus of brilliant voices articulating the shape and texture of contemporary America makes for necessary reading" (Lauren Groff, author of Fates and Furies).

When Donald Trump claimed victory in the November 2016 election, the US literary and art world erupted in indignation. Many of America's preeminent writers and artists are stridently opposed to the administration's agenda and executive orders--and they're not about to go gentle into that good night. In this "masterful literary achievement" (Kurt Eichenwald, author of Conspiracy of Fools), more than thirty of the most acclaimed writers at work today consider the fundamental ideals of a free, just, and compassionate democracy through fiction in an anthology that "promises to be both a powerful tool in the fight to uphold our values and a tribute to the remarkable voices behind it" (Anthony D. Romero, executive director of the ACLU).

With an introduction by Pulitzer Prize-winning author, Viet Thanh Nguyen, and edited by bestselling author Jonathan Santlofer, this powerful anthology includes original, striking art from fourteen of the country's most celebrated artists, cartoonists, and graphic novelists, including Art Spiegelman, Roz Chast, Marilyn Minter, and Eric Fischl.

Transcendent, urgent, and ultimately hopeful, It Occurs to Me That I Am America takes back the narrative of what it means to be an American in the 21st century.

ISBN/SKU: 
9781501179617
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Kant's Little Prussian Head and Other Reasons Why I Write: An Autobiography in Essays

$25.95

In her fiction, Claire Messud "has specialized in creating unusual female characters with ferocious, imaginative inner lives" (Ruth Franklin, New York Times Magazine). Kant's Little Prussian Head and Other Reasons Why I Write opens a window on Messud's own life: a peripatetic upbringing; a warm, complicated family; and, throughout it all, her devotion to art and literature.

In twenty-six intimate, brilliant, and funny essays, Messud reflects on a childhood move from her Connecticut home to Australia; the complex relationship between her modern Canadian mother and a fiercely single French Catholic aunt; and a trip to Beirut, where her pied-noir father had once lived, while he was dying. She meditates on contemporary classics from Kazuo Ishiguro, Teju Cole, Rachel Cusk, and Valeria Luiselli; examines three facets of Albert Camus and The Stranger; and tours her favorite paintings at Boston's Museum of Fine Arts. In the luminous title essay, she explores her drive to write, born of the magic of sharing language and the transformative powers of "a single successful sentence."

Together, these essays show the inner workings of a dazzling literary mind. Crafting a vivid portrait of a life in celebration of the power of literature, Messud proves once again "an absolute master storyteller" (Rebecca Carroll, Los Angeles Times).

ISBN/SKU: 
9781324006756
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Not a Novel: A Memoir in Pieces

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$16.95
On the heels of this literary breakthrough comes , a book of personal, profound, often humorous meditations and reflections. Erpenbeck writes, "With this collection of texts, I am looking back for the first time at many years of my life, at the thoughts that filled my life from day to day."
Starting with her childhood days in East Berlin ("I start with my life as a schoolgirl ... my own conscious life begins at the same time as the socialist life of Leipziger Strasse"), Not a Novel provides a glimpse of growing up in the GDR and of what it was like to be twenty-two when the wall collapsed; it takes us through Erpenbeck's early adult years, working in a bakery after immersing herself in the worlds of music, theater, and opera, and ultimately discovering her path as a writer.
There are lively essays about her literary influences (Thomas Bernhard, the Brothers Grimm, Kafka, and Thomas Mann), unforgettable reflections on the forces at work in her novels (including history, silence, and time), and scathing commentaries on the dire situation of America and Europe today. "Why do we still hear laments for the Germans who died attempting to flee over the wall, but almost none for the countless refugees who have drowned in the Mediterranean in recent years, turning the sea into a giant grave?"
With deep insight and warm intelligence, Jenny Erpenbeck provides us with a collection of unforgettable essays that take us into the heart and mind of "one of the finest and most exciting writers alive" (Michel Faber).
ISBN/SKU: 
9780811229326
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Okay Fine Whatever: The Year I Went from Being Afraid of Everything to Only Being Afraid of Most Things

$16.99
The "hilarious and poignant" story of one chronically anxious woman's quest to become braver by seeking out the kinds of experiences she's spent her life avoiding (Cheryl Strayed).

For most of her life (and even during her years as the host of a popular radio show), Courtenay Hameister lived in a state of near-constant dread and anxiety. She fretted about everything. Her age. Her size. Her romantic prospects. How likely it was that she would get hit by a bus on the way home.

Until a couple years ago, when, in her mid-forties, she decided to fight back against her debilitating anxieties by spending a year doing little things that scared her -- things that the average person might consider doing for a half second before deciding: "nope."

Things like: attending a fellatio class. She did that. She also spent an afternoon in a sensory deprivation tank, got (legally) high in the middle of a workday, had a session with a professional cuddler, braved twenty-eight first dates, and (perhaps scariest of all) actually met someone who might possibly appreciate her for who she is.

Refreshing, relatable, and pee-your-pants funny, Okay Fine Whatever is Courtenay's hold-nothing-back account of her adventures on the front lines of Mere Human Woman vs. Fear, reminding us that even the tiniest amount of bravery is still bravery, and that no matter who you are, it's possible to fight complacency and become bold, or at least bold-ish, a little at a time.

ISBN/SKU: 
9780316395717
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Reflections on a Life in Exile

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$14.95

A collection of essays by novelist J.F. Riordan, Reflections on a Life in Exile is easy to pick up, and hard to put down. By turns deeply spiritual and gently comic, these brief meditations range from the inconveniences of modern life to the shifting nature of grief. Whether it's an unexpected revelation from a trip to the hardware store, a casual encounter with a tow-truck driver, the changing seasons, or a conversation with a store clerk grieving for a dog, J. F. Riordan captures and magnifies the passing beauty of the ordinary and the extraordinary that lingers near the surface of daily life.

ISBN/SKU: 
9780825308932
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See What Can Be Done: Essays, Criticism, and Commentary

$17.00
A New York Times Critic's Top Pick of the Year

This essential, enlightening, truly delightful collection shows one of our greatest writers parsing the political, artistic, and media landscape of the past three decades. These sixty-six essays and reviews, culled from the pages of The New York Review of Books, The New York Times, Harper's, The Atlantic, and The New Yorker, among others, find Lorrie Moore turning her discerning eye on everything from Philip Roth to Margaret Atwood, from race in America to the shocking state of the GOP, from celebrity culture to the wilds of television, from Stephen Sondheim to Barack Obama. See What Can Be Done is a perfect blend of craft, brains, and a knowing, singular take on life, liberty, and the pursuit of (some kind of) happiness.

ISBN/SKU: 
9780525433859
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