Letters of E.B. White


E.B. White - 1976
    They evoke E.B. White's life in New York and in Maine at every stage of his life. They are full of memorable characters: White's family, the New Yorker staff and contributors, literary types and show business people, farmers from Maine and sophisticates from New York–Katherine S. White, Harold Ross, James Thurber, Alexander Woolcott, Groucho Marx, John Updike, and many, many more.Each decade has its own look and taste and feel. Places, too–from Belgrade (Maine) to Turtle Bay (NYC) to the S.S. Buford, Alaska–bound in 1923–are brought to life in White's descriptions. There is no other book of letters to compare with this; it is a book to treasure and savor at one's leisure.As White wrote in this book, "A man who publishes his letters becomes nudist–nothing shields him from the world's gaze except his bare skin....a man who has written a letter is stuck with it for all time."

A Collection of Essays


George Orwell - 1941
    In this selection of essays, he ranges from reflections on his boyhood schooling and the profession of writing to his views on the Spanish Civil War and British imperialism. The pieces collected here include the relatively unfamiliar and the more celebrated, making it an ideal compilation for both new and dedicated readers of Orwell's work.

The Monsters and the Critics and Other Essays


J.R.R. Tolkien - 1983
    Tolkien assembled in this new paperback edition were with one exception delivered as general lectures on particular occasions; and while they mostly arose out of Tolkien’s work in medieval literature, they are accessible to all. Two of them are concerned with Beowulf, including the well-known lecture whose title is taken for this book, and one with Sir Gawain and the Green Knight, given in the University of Glasgow in 1953.Also included in this volume is the lecture English and Welsh; the Valedictory Address to the University of Oxford in 1959; and a paper on Invented Languages delivered in 1931, with exemplification from poems in the Elvish tongues. Most famous of all is On Fairy-Stories, a discussion of the nature of fairy-tales and fantasy, which gives insight into Tolkien’s approach to the whole genre.The pieces in this collection cover a period of nearly thirty years, beginning six years before the publication of The Hobbit, with a unique ‘academic’ lecture on his invention (calling it A Secret Vice) and concluding with his farewell to professorship, five years after the publication of The Lord of the Rings.

South Toward Home: Travels in Southern Literature


Margaret Eby - 2015
    Combining biographical detail with expert criticism, Eby delivers a rich and evocative tribute to the literary South.

The Truth About Stories: A Native Narrative


Thomas King - 2003
    And they are dangerous." In The Truth About Stories, Native novelist and scholar Thomas King explores how stories shape who we are and how we understand and interact with other people. From creation stories to personal experiences, historical anecdotes to social injustices, racist propaganda to works of contemporary Native literature, King probes Native culture's deep ties to storytelling. With wry humor, King deftly weaves events from his own life as a child in California, an academic in Canada, and a Native North American with a wide-ranging discussion of stories told by and about Indians. So many stories have been told about Indians, King comments, that "there is no reason for the Indian to be real. The Indian simply has to exist in our imaginations." That imaginative Indian that North Americans hold dear has been challenged by Native writers - N. Scott Momaday, Leslie Marmon Silko, Louis Owens, Sherman Alexie, and others - who provide alternative narratives of the Native experience that question, create a present, and imagine a future. King reminds the reader, Native and non-Native, that storytelling carries with it social and moral responsibilties. "Don't say in the years to come that you would have lived your life differently if only you had heard this story. You've heard it now."

How Shakespeare Changed Everything


Stephen Marche - 2011
    In the spirit of Alain de Botton’s How Proust Can Change Your Life, Marche reveals how Shakespeare’s influence is everywhere—from politics to psychotherapy, broadway to botany, emo teenagers to outrageous baby names, even zoology (did you know it’s the Bard who is responsible for the starlings terrorizing New York City’s Central Park?). Fans of literary trivia and readers of Stephen Greenblatt’s Will in the World and Bill Bryson’s Shakespeare: The World as Stage will be captivated by Marche’s artful reading of how every day can bring a fresh reading of the Immortal Bard of Avon.

The John McPhee Reader


John McPhee - 1976
    In 1965, John McPhee published his first book, A Sense of Where You Are; a decade later, he had published eleven others. His fertility, his precision and grace as a stylist, his wit and uncanny brilliance in choosing subject matter, his crack storytelling skills have made him into one of our best writers: a journalist whom L.E. Sissman ranked with Liebling and Mencken, who Geoffrey Wolff said "is bringing his work to levels that have no measurable limit," who has been called "a master craftsman" so many times that it is pointless to number them.

The Book of My Lives


Aleksandar Hemon - 2013
    Here, a young man's life is about poking at the pretensions of the city's elders with American music, bad poetry, and slightly better journalism. And then, his life in Chicago: watching from afar as war breaks out in Sarajevo and the city comes under siege, no way to return home; his parents and sister fleeing Sarajevo with the family dog, leaving behind all else they had ever known; and Hemon himself starting a new life, his own family, in this new city.And yet this is not really a memoir. The Book of My Lives, Hemon's first book of nonfiction, defies convention and expectation. It is a love song to two different cities; it is a heartbreaking paean to the bonds of family; it is a stirring exhortation to go out and play soccer—and not for the exercise. It is a book driven by passions but built on fierce intelligence, devastating experience, and sharp insight. And like the best narratives, it is a book that will leave you a different reader—a different person, with a new way of looking at the world—when you've finished. For fans of Hemon's fiction, The Book of My Lives is simply indispensable; for the uninitiated, it is the perfect introduction to one of the great writers of our time.A Kirkus Reviews Best Nonfiction Book of 2013

Create Dangerously: The Immigrant Artist at Work


Edwidge Danticat - 2010
    This is what I've always thought it meant to be a writer. Writing, knowing in part that no matter how trivial your words may seem, someday, somewhere, someone may risk his or her life to read them." — Create DangerouslyIn this deeply personal book, the celebrated Haitian-American writer Edwidge Danticat reflects on art and exile, examining what it means to be an immigrant artist from a country in crisis. Inspired by Albert Camus' lecture, "Create Dangerously," and combining memoir and essay, Danticat tells the stories of artists, including herself, who create despite, or because of, the horrors that drove them from their homelands and that continue to haunt them. Danticat eulogizes an aunt who guarded her family's homestead in the Haitian countryside, a cousin who died of AIDS while living in Miami as an undocumented alien, and a renowned Haitian radio journalist whose political assassination shocked the world. Danticat writes about the Haitian novelists she first read as a girl at the Brooklyn Public Library, a woman mutilated in a machete attack who became a public witness against torture, and the work of Jean-Michel Basquiat and other artists of Haitian descent. Danticat also suggests that the aftermaths of natural disasters in Haiti and the United States reveal that the countries are not as different as many Americans might like to believe.Create Dangerously is an eloquent and moving expression of Danticat's belief that immigrant artists are obliged to bear witness when their countries of origin are suffering from violence, oppression, poverty, and tragedy.

Still Life with a Bridle: Essays and Apocryphas


Zbigniew Herbert - 1993
    These sixteen essays reveal Hervert's discriminating artistic eye and poetic sensibility, one that revels in irony, humor, and a satirist's appreciation of the absurd. An inveterate museum-goer, he focuses on the art of the Dutch masters, using it as a stepping-off point for a thoroughly individual and entertaining examination of the foibles, genius, and character of the Dutch people as a whole. The result is an unorthodox and revealing glimpse into the past that gives us a keener understanding not only of a distant people, but of ourselves as well.

J.R.R. Tolkien: Author of the Century


Tom Shippey - 2000
    Tolkien is "the most influential author of the century," and The Lord of the Rings is "the book of the century." In support of these claims, the prominent medievalist and scholar of fantasy Professor Tom Shippey now presents us with a fascinating companion to the works of J.R.R. Tolkien, focusing in particular on The Hobbit, The Lord of the Rings, and The Silmarillion. The core of the book examines The Lord of the Rings as a linguistic and cultural map and as a response to the meaning of myth. It presents a unique argument to explain the nature of evil and also gives the reader a compelling insight into the unparalleled level of skill necessary to construct such a rich and complex story. Shippey also examines The Hobbit, explaining the hobbits' anachronistic relationship to the heroic world of Middle-earth, and shows the fundamental importance of The Silmarillion to the canon of Tolkien's work. He offers as well an illuminating look at other, lesser-known works in their connection to Tolkien's life.

Through the Window: Seventeen Essays and a Short Story


Julian Barnes - 2012
    From the deceptiveness of Penelope Fitzgerald to the directness of Hemingway, from Kipling’s view of France to the French view of Kipling, from the many translations of Madame Bovary to the fabulations of Ford Madox Ford, from the National Treasure status of George Orwell to the despair of Michel Houellebecq, Julian Barnes considers what fiction is, and what it can do. As he writes, “Novels tell us the most truth about life: what it is, how we live it, what it might be for, how we enjoy and value it, and how we lose it.”

The Bottom Of The Harbor


Joseph Mitchell - 1959
    As William Fiennes wrote in the London Review of Books, 'Mitchell was the laureate of the waters around New York', and in The Bottom of the Harbor he records the lives and practices of the rivermen, with love and understanding and a sharp eye for the eccentric and strange. This is some of the best journalist ever written.

Perrine's Story and Structure


Thomas R. Arp - 1959
    It uses 41 short stories and three novellas by classic and contemporary practitioners to demonstrate techniques and suggest criteria for judgment. The book is organized by elements of fiction: plot; character; theme; point of view; and so on. It also includes an appendix to guide students through the thinking and structuring processes of writing clearly and persuasively about literature.

Literary Occasions: Essays


V.S. Naipaul - 2003
    Naipaul charts more than half-a-century of personal inquiry into the mysteries of written expression and of fiction in particular.