Why We Write About Ourselves: Twenty Memoirists on Why They Expose Themselves (and Others) in the Name of Literature


Meredith Maran - 2016
    Twenty of America’s bestselling memoirists share their innermost thoughts and hard-earned tips with veteran author Meredith Maran, revealing what drives them to tell their personal stories, and the nuts and bolts of how they do it. Speaking frankly about issues ranging from turning oneself into an authentic, compelling character to exposing hard truths, these successful authors disclose what keeps them going, what gets in their way, and what they love most—and least—about writing about themselves.

Bukowski in a Sundress: Confessions from a Writing Life


Kim Addonizio - 2016
    . . at once biting and vulnerable, nostalgic without ever veering off into sentimentality." --Refinery29 "Always vital, clever, and seductive, Addonizio is a secular Anne Lamott, a spiritual aunt to Lena Dunham." --BooklistA dazzling, edgy, laugh-out-loud memoir from the award-winning poet and novelist that reflects on writing, drinking, dating, and more Kim Addonizio is used to being exposed. As a writer of provocative poems and stories, she has encountered success along with snark: one critic dismissed her as "Charles Bukowski in a sundress." ("Why not Walt Whitman in a sparkly tutu?" she muses.) Now, in this utterly original memoir in essays, she opens up to chronicle the joys and indignities in the life of a writer wandering through middle age.Addonizio vividly captures moments of inspiration at the writing desk (or bed) and adventures on the road--from a champagne-and-vodka-fueled one-night stand at a writing conference to sparsely attended readings at remote Midwestern colleges. Her crackling, unfiltered wit brings colorful life to pieces like "What Writers Do All Day," "How to Fall for a Younger Man," and "Necrophilia" (that is, sexual attraction to men who are dead inside). And she turns a tender yet still comic eye to her family: her father, who sparked her love of poetry; her mother, a former tennis champion who struggled through Parkinson's at the end of her life; and her daughter, who at a young age chanced upon some erotica she had written for Penthouse.At once intimate and outrageous, Addonizio's memoir radiates all the wit and heartbreak and ever-sexy grittiness that her fans have come to love--and that new readers will not soon forget.

The Nearest Thing to Life


James Wood - 2015
    He argues that, of all the arts, fiction has a unique ability to describe the shape of our lives, and to rescue the texture of those lives from death and historical oblivion. The act of reading is understood here as the most sacred and personal of activities, and there are brilliant discussions of individual works – among others, Chekhov’s story ‘The Kiss’, W.G. Sebald’s The Emigrants, and Fitzgerald’s The Blue Flower.Wood reveals his own intimate relationship with the written word: we see the development of a provincial boy growing up in a charged Christian environment, the secret joy of his childhood reading, the links he makes between reading and blasphemy, or between literature and music. The final section discusses fiction in the context of exile and homelessness. The Nearest Thing to Life is not simply a brief, tightly argued book by a man commonly regarded as our finest living critic – it is also an exhilarating personal account that reflects on, and embodies, the fruitful conspiracy between reader and writer (and critic), and asks us to re-consider everything that is at stake when we read and write fiction.

Scribbles in the Margins: 50 Eternal Delights of Books


Daniel Gray - 2017
    Where has the joy and relaxation gone from our daily lives? Scribbles in the Margins offers a glorious antidote to that relentless modern-day information churn. It is here to remind you that books and bookshops can still sing to your heart.Warm, heartfelt and witty, here are fifty short essays of prose poetry dedicated to the simple joy to be found in reading and the rituals around it. These are not wallowing nostalgia; they are things that remain pleasurable and right, that warm our hearts and connect us to books, to reading and to other readers: smells of books, old or new; losing an afternoon organising bookshelves; libraries; watching a child learn to read; reading in bed; impromptu bookmarks; visiting someone's home and inspecting the bookshelves; stains and other reminders of where and when you read a book.An attempt to fondly weigh up what makes a book so much more than paper and ink - and reading so much more than a hobby, a way of passing time or a learning process - these declarations of love demonstrate what books and reading mean to us as individuals, and the cherished part they play in our lives, from the vivid greens and purples of childhood books to the dusty comfort novels we turn to in times of adult flux.Scribbles in the Margins is a love-letter to books and bookshops, rejoicing in the many universal and sometimes odd little ways that reading and the rituals around reading make us happy.

Asimov on Science Fiction


Isaac Asimov - 1981
    He has taken part in all the significant developments and knows most of the important writers personally. His familiarity with the history of sf is unsurpassed, including UTOPIA, FRANKENSTEIN, the stories of Jules Verne and the concerns of today's writers.ASIMOV ON SCIENCE FICTION is just that: the Grand Master's views on his subject. There is no other book like it.

The Diaries of Franz Kafka: 1910-1913


Franz Kafka - 1948
    We are republishing many of these classic works in affordable, high quality, modern editions, using the original text and artwork.

Life Sentences: Literary Judgments and Accounts


William H. Gass - 2012
       It begins with the personal, both past and present. It emphasizes Gass’s lifelong attachment to books and moves on to the more analytical, as he ponders the work of some of his favorite writers (among them Kafka, Nietzsche, Henry James, Gertrude Stein, Proust). He writes about a few topics equally burning but less loved (the Nobel Prize–winner and Nazi sympathizer Knut Hamsun; the Holocaust).   Finally, Gass ponders theoretical matters connected with literature: form and metaphor, and specifically, one of its genetic parts—the sentence.   Gass embraces the avant-garde but applies a classic standard of writing to all literature, which is clear in these essays, or, as he describes them, literary judgments and accounts. Life Sentences is William Gass at his Gassian best.

Writers at Work: The Paris Review Interviews, First Series


Malcolm Cowley - 1959
    Forster, Joyce Cary, Dorothy Parker, James Thurber, Thorton Wilder, William Faulkner, Georges Simenon, Frank O'Connor, Robert Penn Warren, Alberto Moravia, Nelson Algren, Angus Wilson, William Styron, Truman Capote, Francoise Fagan.

Hollywood Notebook


Wendy C. Ortiz - 2015
    Ortiz takes us through the streets of Los Angeles and the internal maps she's charting as she moves from her twenties to her thirties in a studio apartment in Hollywood. A cartography of love, loss, and transformation, Hollywood Notebook is a portrait of the author's psyche overlaid on a map of the city she makes her home.“…In the equally honest and courageous Hollywood Notebook, Ortiz reflects on the hard lessons learned as a young woman navigating through the streets of Los Angeles. By gathering bits of wisdom and poignant life experiences, she pieces together a portrait of her youth as complex and dynamic as the place she calls home.” --Rigoberto González, for NBC NewsHollywood Notebook is on NBC News/Latino Summer Reading List: 9 Great New Books by Latino Authors: http://www.nbcnews.com/news/latino/su...

Dancing with Mrs. Dalloway: Stories of the Inspiration Behind Great Works of Literature


Celia Blue Johnson - 2011
     Every great book begins with an idea, whether it comes to a writer's mind with lightning speed or tugs at the imagination over time. Dancing with Mrs. Dalloway offers stories of the inspiration behind fifty classic works, from The Sound and the Fury, Jane Eyre, and Frankenstein to Anna Karenina, The Bell Jar, and Winnie-the-Pooh. Gabriel García Márquez was driving to Acapulco with his family when he slammed on the brakes, turned the car around, and insisted they abandon their trip so he could return home to write. He had good reason to cut the trip short-a childhood memory of touching ice had suddenly sparked the first line to a novel that would become his most famous work, One Hundred Years of Solitude. C. S. Lewis, on the other hand, spent decades pondering the scene that inspired The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe. When Lewis was sixteen, he had a peculiar daydream: a faun carried a bundle of parcels and an umbrella through snow-covered woods. Lewis was almost forty when he decided to write a novel that grew around the vision. In Dancing with Mrs. Dalloway, you'll discover who Edgar Allan Poe's raven really belonged to, whether Jane Austen's heartthrob Mr. Darcy actually existed, who got into mischief with a young Mark Twain, and what the real Sherlock Holmes did for a living. These delightful stories reveal the often unknown reasons our literary heroes put quill to parchment, pen to paper, or finger to keyboard to write some of the world's best-loved books.

How to Read a Novelist


John Freeman - 2012
    In this collection Freeman has compiled the most insightful and fascinating of his interviews, essays and articles.In How to Read a Novelist we encounter Paul Theroux on the state of sex in America, Margaret Atwood as inventor, John Updike as relationship advisor and Geoff Dyer as England’s hippest middle-aged novelist, among many others including Jonathan Safran Foe, Philip Roth, Doris Lessing, Toni Morrison, David Foster Wallace, A. S. Byatt and Peter Carey.

Latest Readings


Clive James - 2015
    Deciding that “if you don’t know the exact moment when the lights will go out, you might as well read until they do,” James moved his library to his house in Cambridge, where he would “live, read, and perhaps even write.” James is the award-winning author of dozens of works of literary criticism, poetry, and history, and this volume contains his reflections on what may well be his last reading list. A look at some of James’s old favorites as well as some of his recent discoveries, this book also offers a revealing look at the author himself, sharing his evocative musings on literature and family, and on living and dying. As thoughtful and erudite as the works of Alberto Manguel, and as moving and inspiring as Randy Pausch’s The Last Lecture and Will Schwalbe’s The End of Your Life Book Club, this valediction to James’s lifelong engagement with the written word is a captivating valentine from one of the great literary minds of our time.

Encounters with Chinese Writers


Annie Dillard - 1984
    This informative narrative is full of fascinating people: Chinese people, mostly writers, who encounter American writers in various bizarre circumstances in both China and the U.S. There is a toasting scene at a Chinese banquet; a portrait of a bitter, flirtatious diplomat at a dance hall; a formal meeting with Chinese writers; a conversation with an American businessman in a hotel lobby; an evening with long-suffering Chinese intellectuals in their house; a scene in the Beijing foreigners' compound with an excited European journalist; and a scene of unwarranted hilarity at the Beijing Library. In the U.S., there is Allen Ginsberg having a bewildering conversation in Disneyland with a Chinese journalist; there is the lovely and controversial writer Zhang Jie suiting abrupt mood changes to a variety of actions; and there is the fiercely spirited Jiange Zilong singing in a Connecticut dining room, eyes closed. These are real stories told with a warm and lively humor, with a keen eye for paradox, and with fresh insight into the human drama.

The Art of Hunger: Essays, Prefaces, Interviews, The Red Notebook


Paul Auster - 1992
    In this astonishingly acrobatic work, Paul Auster traces the compulsion to make literature--or art--through essays on Franz Kafka, Samuel Beckett, Paul Celan, Laura Riding, Knut Hamsun, John Ashbury, and other seminal figures of our century.

Why I Have Not Written Any of My Books


Marcel Bénabou - 1986
    Words stick and syntax is stubborn, meaning slips and synonyms cluster. A blank page taunts and a full one accuses. Bénabou knows the heroic joy of depriving critics of victims, the kindness of sparing publishers decisions, and the public charity of leaving more room in bookstore displays. Why I Have Not Written Any of My Books (Pourquoi je n’ai écrit aucun de mes livres) provides both a respectful litany of writers’ fears and a dismissal of the alibis offered to excuse them.