"How many a man has dated a new era in his life from the reading of a book," wrote Henry David Thoreau in Walden. Today that book continues to provoke, inspire, and change lives all over the world, and each rereading is fresh and challenging. Yet as Thoreau's countless admirers know, there is more to the man than Walden. An engineer, poet, teacher, naturalist, lecturer, and political activist, he truly had multiple lives to lead, and each one speaks forcefully to us today.Sponsored by the Thoreau Society, the brief, handsomely presented books in this series offer the thoughts of a great writer on a variety of topics, some that we readily associate with him, some that may be surprising. Each volume includes selections from his familiar published works as well as from less well known lectures, letters, and journal entries. The books include original engravings by renowned illustrator and book artist Barry Moser.
Winner of the Publishing Triangle's Randy Shilts Award for Gay Nonfiction * Recipient of the Lambda Literary Trustees' Award
Finalist for the PEN/Diamonstein-Spielvogel Award for the Art of the Essay * Finalist for a Lambda Literary Award for Gay Memoir/Biography
From the author of The Queen of the Night, an essay collection exploring his education as a man, writer, and activist--and how we form our identities in life and in art.
As a novelist, Alexander Chee has been described as "masterful" by Roxane Gay, "incendiary" by the New York Times, and "brilliant" by the Washington Post. With How to Write an Autobiographical Novel, his first collection of nonfiction, he's sure to secure his place as one of the finest essayists of his generation as well.
How to Write an Autobiographical Novel is the author's manifesto on the entangling of life, literature, and politics, and how the lessons learned from a life spent reading and writing fiction have changed him. In these essays, he grows from student to teacher, reader to writer, and reckons with his identities as a son, a gay man, a Korean American, an artist, an activist, a lover, and a friend. He examines some of the most formative experiences of his life and the nation's history, including his father's death, the AIDS crisis, 9/11, the jobs that supported his writing--Tarot-reading, bookselling, cater-waiting for William F. Buckley--the writing of his first novel, Edinburgh, and the election of Donald Trump.
By turns commanding, heartbreaking, and wry, How to Write an Autobiographical Novel asks questions about how we create ourselves in life and in art, and how to fight when our dearest truths are under attack.
What does it mean today to experience a work of art? In a culture of triviality and cynicism, at the mercy of the superfluous and ephemeral, where can we turn to find the genuine, the sincere, the truly accomplished?
The thirty essays in See What I See are the fruits of a lifetime spent grappling with these questions. By turns lyrical and arch, nostalgic and impassioned, they seek answers in the achievements of the masters as well as in less likely places. For Greg Gerke, aesthetic experience is found as often in the human body as in poetry or prose, as much in being in the world as on celluloid or canvas: in the yearnings, confusions, hopes, and pleasures of a life fully lived.
In June 2015 Alberto Manguel prepared to leave his centuries-old village home in France's Loire Valley and reestablish himself in a one-bedroom apartment on Manhattan's Upper West Side. Packing up his enormous, 35,000-volume personal library, choosing which books to keep, store, or cast out, Manguel found himself in deep reverie on the nature of relationships between books and readers, books and collectors, order and disorder, memory and reading. In this poignant and personal reevaluation of his life as a reader, the author illuminates the highly personal art of reading and affirms the vital role of public libraries.
Manguel's musings range widely, from delightful reflections on the idiosyncrasies of book lovers to deeper analyses of historic and catastrophic book events, including the burning of ancient Alexandria's library and contemporary library lootings at the hands of ISIS. With insight and passion, the author underscores the universal centrality of books and their unique importance to a democratic, civilized, and engaged society.
Named a notable book of the year by the New York Times Book Review and the Washington Post, and one of the best books of the year by Spectator and Publishers Weekly, The Souls of Yellow Folk is the powerful debut from one of the most acclaimed essayists of his generation. Wesley Yang writes about race and sex without the polite lies that bore us all.
Arrested in 1962 as South Africa's apartheid regime intensified its brutal campaign against political opponents, forty-four-year-old lawyer and African National Congress activist Nelson Mandela had no idea that he would spend the next twenty-seven years in jail. During his 10,052 days of incarceration, the future leader of South Africa wrote a multitude of letters to unyielding prison authorities, fellow activists, government officials, and, most memorably, to his courageous wife, Winnie, and his five children. Now, 255 of these letters, many of which have never been published, provide exceptional insight into how Mandela maintained his inner spirits while living in almost complete isolation, and how he engaged with an outside world that became increasingly outraged by his plight.
Organized chronologically and divided by the four venues in which he was held as a sentenced prisoner, The Prison Letters of Nelson Mandela begins in Pretoria Local Prison, where Mandela was held following his 1962 trial. In 1964, Mandela was taken to Robben Island Prison, where a stark existence was lightened only by visits and letters from family. After eighteen years, Mandela was transferred to Pollsmoor Prison, a large complex outside of Cape Town with beds and better food, but where he and four of his comrades were confined to a rooftop cell, apart from the rest of the prison population. Finally, Mandela was taken to Victor Verster Prison in 1988, where he was held until his release on February 11, 1990.
With accompanying facsimiles of some of his actual letters, this landmark volume reveals how Mandela, a lawyer by training, advocated for prisoners' human rights. It reveals him to be a loving father, who wrote to his daughter, "I sometimes wish science could invent miracles and make my daughter get her missing birthday cards and have the pleasure of knowing that her Pa loves her," aware that photos and letters he sent had simply disappeared.
More painful still are the letters written in 1969, when Mandela--forbidden from attending the funerals of his mother and his son Thembi--was reduced to consoling family members through correspondence. Yet, what emerges most powerfully is Mandela's unfaltering optimism: "Honour belongs to those who never forsake the truth even when things seem dark & grim, who try over and & over again, who are never discouraged by insults, humiliation & even defeat."
Whether providing unwavering support to his also-imprisoned wife or outlining a human-rights philosophy that resonates today, The Prison Letters of Nelson Mandela reveals the heroism of a man who refused to compromise his moral values in the face of extraordinary punishment. Ultimately, these letters position Mandela as one of the most inspiring figures of the twentieth century.From The Prison Letters of Nelson Mandela
"A new world will be won not by those who stand at a distance with their arms folded, but by those who are in the arena, whose garments are torn by storms & whose bodies are maimed in the course of contest."
"I am convinced that floods of personal disaster can never drown a determined revolutionary nor can the cumulus of misery that accompanies tragedy suffocate him."
"My respect for human beings is based, not on the colour of a man's skin nor authority he may wield, but purely on merit."
"A good pen can also remind us of the happiest moments in our lives, bring noble ideas into our dens, our blood & our souls. It can turn tragedy into hope & victory."
Elena Ferrante is the best-selling author of My Brilliant Friend, now an HBO original series. Collected here for the first time are the seeds of future novels, the timely reflections of this internationally beloved storyteller, the abiding preoccupations of a writer who has been called "one of the great novelists of our time" (New York Times)."This is my last column, after a year that has scared and inspired me . . . I have written as an author of novels, taking on matters that are important to me and that--if I have the will and the time--I'd like to develop within real narrative mechanisms." With these words, Elena Ferrante bid farewell to her year-long collaboration with the Guardian newspaper. For a full year, she wrote weekly articles, the subjects of which had been suggested by Guardian editors, making the writing process a sort of prolonged interlocution. The subjects ranged from first love to climate change, from enmity among women to the experience of seeing her novels adapted for film and TV. Translated by Ann Goldstein, the acclaimed translator of Ferrante's novels, and accompanied by Andrea Ucini's intelligent, witty, and beautiful illustrations, this volume is a must for all curious readers.
A "Most Anticipated Book of 2019" --LitReactor, The A.V. Club, Big Other
"Andre Perry is a fresh American voice that demands to be heard." ―Foreword Reviews
"Reflective and creative." --Kirkus
With luminous insight and fervent prose, Andre Perry's debut collection of personal essays, Some of Us Are Very Hungry Now, travels from Washington, DC, to Iowa City to Hong Kong in search of both individual and national identity. While displaying tenderness and a disarming honesty, Perry catalogs racial degradations committed on the campuses of elite universities and liberal bastions like San Francisco while coming of age in America.
The essays in Some of Us Are Very Hungry Now take the form of personal reflection, multiple choice questions, screenplays, and imagined talk-show conversations, while traversing the daily minefields of childhood schoolyards and Midwestern dive-bars. The impression of Perry's personal journey is arresting and beguiling, while announcing the author's arrival as a formidable American voice.
Crossfire collects Staceyann Chin's empowering, feminist-LGBTQ-Caribbean, activist-driven poetry for the first time in a single book. According to The New York Times, Chin is "sassy, rageful and sometimes softly self-mocking." The Advocate says that her poems, "combine hilarious one-liners with a refusal to conform" and note "Chin is out to confront more than just the straight world."
A New Yorker Best Book of 2019
A Publishers Weekly Best Book of 2019
Winner of the Melbourne Prize for Literature's Best Writing Award
Shortlisted for the Stella Prize
"Tumarkin presents a remarkable tour de force . . . These essays will linger in readers' minds for years after."--Publishers Weekly (Starred Review)
Drawing on nine years of research, Axiomatic explores the ways we understand the traumas we inherit and the systems that sustain them. In five sections--each one built on an axiom about how the past affects the present--Tumarkin weaves together true and intimate stories of a community dealing with the extended aftermath of a suicide, a grandmother's quest to kidnap her grandson to keep him safe, one community lawyer's struggle inside and against the criminal justice system, a larger-than-life Holocaust survivor, and the history of the author's longest friendship.
With verve, wit, and critical dexterity, Tumarkin asks questions about loss, grief, and how our particular histories inform the people we become in the world. Axiomatic introduces an unforgettable voice.
Longlisted for the 2019 National Book Award for Translation
In March 2015, Naja Marie Aidt's twenty-five-year-old son, Carl, died in a tragic accident. When Death Takes Something from You Give It Back chronicles the few first years after that devastating phone call. It is at once a sober account of life after losing a child and an exploration of the language of poetry, loss, and love.
Intensely moving, When Death Takes Something from You Give It Back explores what is it to be a family, what it is to love and lose, and what it is to treasure life in spite of death's indomitable resolve.
"Rebecca Solnit is essential feminist reading." --The New Republic
"Solnit's exquisite essays move between the political and the personal, the intellectual and the earthy." --Elle
Rebecca Solnit is the author of more than twenty books, including the international bestseller Men Explain Things to Me. Called "the voice of the resistance" by the New York Times, she has emerged as an essential guide to our times, through her incisive commentary on feminism, violence, ecology, hope, and everything in between.
In this powerful and wide-ranging collection, Solnit turns her attention to battles over meaning, place, language, and belonging at the heart of the defining crises of our time. She explores the way emotions shape political life, electoral politics, police shootings and gentrification, the life of an extraordinary man on death row, the pipeline protest at Standing Rock, and the existential threat posed by climate change.
The work of changing the world sometimes requires changing the story, the names, and inventing or popularizing new names and terms and phrases. Calling things by their true names can also cut through the lies that excuse, disguise, avoid, or encourage inaction, indifference, obliviousness in the face of injustice and violence.
The Great Flowing River: A Memoir of China, from Manchuria to Taiwan (Modern Chinese Literature from Taiwan)
A New York Times Editor's Choice, best of summer 2018 according to Bitch Magazine, Harpers Bazaar, The Millions, Esquire, Refinery29, Nylon, PopSugar, The Chicago Tribune, Book Riot, and CrimeReads
"Stylish and inspired." - New York Times
In this poignant collection, Alice Bolin examines iconic American works from the essays of Joan Didion and James Baldwin to Twin Peaks, Britney Spears, and Serial, illuminating the widespread obsession with women who are abused, killed, and disenfranchised, and whose bodies (dead and alive) are used as props to bolster men's stories. Smart and accessible, thoughtful and heartfelt, Bolin investigates the implications of our cultural fixations, and her own role as a consumer and creator.
Bolin chronicles her life in Los Angeles, dissects the Noir, revisits her own coming of age, and analyzes stories of witches and werewolves, both appreciating and challenging the narratives we construct and absorb every day. Dead Girls begins by exploring the trope of dead women in fiction, and ends by interrogating the more complex dilemma of living women - both the persistent injustices they suffer and the oppression that white women help perpetrate.
Reminiscent of the piercing insight of Rebecca Solnit and the critical skill of Hilton Als, Bolin constructs a sharp, perceptive, and revelatory dialogue on the portrayal of women in media and their roles in our culture.
Her father, Thomas Laighton, a linchpin of the nineteenth-century New England cultural scene, ran the Appledore House Hotel, which became a salon for many prominent writers and artists, including figures such Emerson, Hawthorne, Longfellow, Jewett, and Whittier. Childe Hassam, the famous American Impressionist whose delicate watercolor paintings appear throughout this volume, treasured his summers spent with these "jolly, refined, interesting and artistic set of people]] like one large family."
Celia's garden, on this same island, was admired by her friends and neighbors, and her picturesque language captures its stretching stems and blossoming flowers in vivid prose, ranging in mood from bitter defeat delivered by unrelenting slugs to the exultant triumph of birdsong and bursting blooms. For over a century, An Island Garden has served as an example of the very best garden writing has to offer, and inspiration for all writers of prose.
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!"