American Essays
The Best American Essays 2019
The Best American Essays 2019
Paperback      ISBN: 1328465802
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.
No Time to Spare: Thinking about What Matters
No Time to Spare
Thinking about What Matters
Hardcover      ISBN: 1328661598
Ursula K. Le Guin on the absurdity of denying your age: "If I'm ninety and believe I'm forty-five, I'm headed for a very bad time trying to get out of the bathtub."

On cultural perceptions of fantasy: "The direction of escape is toward freedom. So what is 'escapism' an accusation of?"

On breakfast: "Eating an egg from the shell takes not only practice, but resolution, even courage, possibly willingness to commit crime."

Ursula K. Le Guin took readers to imaginary worlds for decades. In her last great frontier of life, old age, she explored a new literary territory: the blog, a forum where she shined. The collected best of Ursula's blog, No Time to Spare presents perfectly crystallized dispatches on what mattered to her late in life, her concerns with the world, and her wonder at it: "How rich we are in knowledge, and in all that lies around us yet to learn. Billionaires, all of us."
The Collected Essays of Elizabeth Hardwick
The Collected Essays of Elizabeth Hardwick
Paperback      ISBN: 1681371545
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.
The Empathy Exams: Essays
The Empathy Exams
Essays
Paperback      ISBN: 1555976719

From personal loss to phantom diseases, The Empathy Exams is a bold and brilliant collection, winner of the Graywolf Press Nonfiction Prize

A Publishers Weekly Top Ten Essay Collection of Spring 2014

Beginning with her experience as a medical actor who was paid to act out symptoms for medical students to diagnose, Leslie Jamison's visceral and revealing essays ask essential questions about our basic understanding of others: How should we care about each other? How can we feel another's pain, especially when pain can be assumed, distorted, or performed? Is empathy a tool by which to test or even grade each other? By confronting pain--real and imagined, her own and others'--Jamison uncovers a personal and cultural urgency to feel. She draws from her own experiences of illness and bodily injury to engage in an exploration that extends far beyond her life, spanning wide-ranging territory--from poverty tourism to phantom diseases, street violence to reality television, illness to incarceration--in its search for a kind of sight shaped by humility and grace.

On Being Blue: A Philosophical Inquiry
On Being Blue
A Philosophical Inquiry
Paperback      ISBN: 1590177185
On Being Blue is a book about everything blue--sex and sleaze and sadness, among other things--and about everything else. It brings us the world in a word as only William H. Gass, among contemporary American writers, can do.

Gass writes:
Of the colors, blue and green have the greatest emotional range. Sad reds and melancholy yellows are difficult to turn up. Among the ancient elements, blue occurs everywhere: in ice and water, in the flame as purely as in the flower, overhead and inside caves, covering fruit and oozing out of clay. Although green enlivens the earth and mixes in the ocean, and we find it, copperish, in fire; green air, green skies, are rare. Gray and brown are widely distributed, but there are no joyful swatches of either, or any of exuberant black, sullen pink, or acquiescent orange. Blue is therefore most suitable as the color of interior life. Whether slick light sharp high bright thin quick sour new and cool or low deep sweet dark soft slow smooth heavy old and warm: blue moves easily among them all, and all profoundly qualify our states of feeling.
Calypso
Calypso
Paperback      ISBN: 0316392421
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.
The Cost of These Dreams: Sports Stories and Other Serious Business
The Cost of These Dreams
Sports Stories and Other Serious Business
Paperback      ISBN: 014313387x
The instant New York Times bestseller

From one of America's most beloved sportswriters and the bestselling author of Pappyland, a collection of true stories about the dream of greatness and its cost in the world of sports.

Wright Thompson's stories are so full of rich characters, bad actors, heroes, drama, suffering, courage, conflict, and vivid detail that I sometimes thinks he's working my side of the street - the world of fiction. - John Grisham

There is only one Wright Thompson. He is, as they say, famous if you know who he is: his work includes the most read articles in the history of ESPN (and it's not even close) and has been anthologized in the Best American Sports Writing series ten times, and he counts John Grisham and Richard Ford among his ardent admirers (see back of book). But to say his pieces are about sports, while true as far as it goes, is like saying Larry McMurtry's Lonesome Dove is a book about a cattle drive. Wright Thompson figures people out. He jimmies the lock to the furnaces inside the people he profiles and does an analysis of the fuel that fires their ambition. Whether it be Michael Jordan or Tiger Woods or Pat Riley or Urban Meyer, he strips the away the self-serving myths and fantasies to reveal his characters in full. There are fascinating common denominators: it may not be the case that every single great performer or coach had a complex relationship with his father, but it can sure seem that way. And there is much marvelous local knowledge: about specific sports, and times and places, and people. Ludicrously entertaining and often powerfully moving, The Cost of These Dreams is an ode to the reporter's art, and a celebration of true greatness and the high price that it exacts.
The Liberal Imagination: Essays on Literature and Society
The Liberal Imagination
Essays on Literature and Society
Paperback      ISBN: 1590172833
The Liberal Imagination is one of the most admired and influential works of criticism of the last century, a work that is not only a masterpiece of literary criticism but an important statement about politics and society. Published in 1950, one of the chillier moments of the Cold War, Trilling's essays examine the promise --and limits--of liberalism, challenging the complacency of a na ve liberal belief in rationality, progress, and the panaceas of economics and other social sciences, and asserting in their stead the irreducible complexity of human motivation and the tragic inevitability of tragedy. Only the imagination, Trilling argues, can give us access and insight into these realms and only the imagination can ground a reflective and considered, rather than programmatic and dogmatic, liberalism.

Writing with acute intelligence about classics like Huckleberry Finn and the novels of Henry James and F. Scott Fitzgerald, but also on such varied matters as the Kinsey Report and money in the American imagination, Trilling presents a model of the critic as both part of and apart from his society, a defender of the reflective life that, in our ever more rationalized world, seems ever more necessary--and ever more remote.
Freedom Is a Constant Struggle: Ferguson, Palestine, and the Foundations of a Movement
Freedom Is a Constant Struggle
Ferguson, Palestine, and the Foundations of a Movement
Paperback      ISBN: 1608465640

In these newly collected essays, interviews, and speeches, world-renowned activist and scholar Angela Y. Davis illuminates the connections between struggles against state violence and oppression throughout history and around the world.

Reflecting on the importance of black feminism, intersectionality, and prison abolitionism for today's struggles, Davis discusses the legacies of previous liberation struggles, from the Black Freedom Movement to the South African anti-Apartheid movement. She highlights connections and analyzes today's struggles against state terror, from Ferguson to Palestine.

Facing a world of outrageous injustice, Davis challenges us to imagine and build the movement for human liberation. And in doing so, she reminds us that "Freedom is a constant struggle."

Angela Y. Davis is a political activist, scholar, author, and speaker. She is an outspoken advocate for the oppressed and exploited, writing on Black liberation, prison abolition, the intersections of race, gender, and class, and international solidarity with Palestine. She is the author of several books, including Women, Race, and Class and Are Prisons Obsolete? She is the subject of the acclaimed documentary Free Angela and All Political Prisoners and is Distinguished Professor Emerita at the University of California, Santa Cruz.

One of America's most provocative public intellectuals, Dr. Cornel West has been a champion for racial justice since childhood. His writing, speaking, and teaching weave together the traditions of the black Baptist Church, progressive politics, and jazz. The New York Times has praised his "ferocious moral vision." His many books include Race Matters, Democracy Matters, and his autobiography, Brother West: Living and Loving Out Loud.

Frank Barat is a human rights activist and author. He was the coordinator of the Russell Tribunal on Palestine and is now the president of the Palestine Legal Action Network. His books include Gaza in Crisis and Corporate Complicity in Israel's Occupation.
Theft by Finding: Diaries (1977-2002)
Theft by Finding
Diaries (1977-2002)
Paperback      ISBN: 0316154733
One of the most anticipated books of 2017: Boston Globe, New York Times Book Review, New York's "Vulture", The Week, Bustle, BookRiot
An NPR Best Book of 2017An AV Club Favorite Book of 2017A Barnes & Noble Best Book of 2017A Goodreads Choice Awards nominee

David Sedaris tells all in a book that is, literally, a lifetime in the making.

For forty years, David Sedaris has kept a diary in which he records everything that captures his attention-overheard comments, salacious gossip, soap opera plot twists, secrets confided by total strangers. These observations are the source code for his finest work, and through them he has honed his cunning, surprising sentences.

Now, Sedaris shares his private writings with the world. Theft by Finding, the first of two volumes, is the story of how a drug-abusing dropout with a weakness for the International House of Pancakes and a chronic inability to hold down a real job became one of the funniest people on the planet.

Written with a sharp eye and ear for the bizarre, the beautiful, and the uncomfortable, and with a generosity of spirit that even a misanthropic sense of humor can't fully disguise, Theft By Finding proves that Sedaris is one of our great modern observers. It's a potent reminder that when you're as perceptive and curious as Sedaris, there's no such thing as a boring day.