Perhaps no twentieth century writer was so observant and elegant a chronicler of his times as Truman Capote. Whether he was profiling the rich and famous or creating indelible word-pictures of events and places near and far, Capote’s eye for detail and dazzling style made his reportage and commentary undeniable triumphs of the form.
Portraits and Observations is the first volume devoted solely to all the essays ever published by this most beloved of writers. From his travel sketches of Brooklyn, New Orleans, and Hollywood, written when he was twenty-two, to meditations about fame, fortune, and the writer’s art at the peak of his career, to the brief works penned during the isolated denouement of his life, these essays provide an essential window into mid-twentieth-century America as offered by one of its canniest observers. Included are such celebrated masterpieces of narrative nonfiction as “The Muses Are Heard” and the short nonfiction novel "Handcarved…
Arthur C. Danto - Philosophizing Art
Arthur Danto's work has always affirmed a deep relationship between philosophy and art. These essays explore this relationship through a number of concrete cases in which either artists are driven by philosophical agendas or their art is seen as solving philosophical problems in visual terms. The essays cover a varied terrain, with subjects including Giotto's use of olfactory data in _The Raising of Lazarus;_ chairs in art and chairs as art; Mel Bochner's Wittgenstein drawings; the work of Robert Motherwell, Andy Warhol, and Robert Irwin; Louis Kahn as "Archai-Tekt"; and visual truth in film. Also featured are a meditation on the battle of Gettysburg; and a celebration of the Japanese artist Shiko Munakata, an essay that is partly autobiographical.
Jesmyn Ward - The Fire This Time
National Book Award winner Jesmyn Ward takes James Baldwin’s 1963 examination of race in America, The Fire Next Time, as a jumping off point for this groundbreaking collection of essays and poems about race from the most important voices of her generation and our time. In light of recent tragedies and widespread protests across the nation, The Progressive magazine republished one of its most famous pieces: James Baldwin’s 1962 “Letter to My Nephew,” which was later published in his landmark book, The Fire Next Time. Addressing his fifteen-year-old namesake on the one hundredth anniversary of the Emancipation Proclamation, Baldwin wrote: “You know and I know, that the country is celebrating one hundred years of freedom one hundred years too soon.” Award-winning author Jesmyn Ward knows that Baldwin’s words ring as true as ever today. In response, she has gathered short essays, memoir, and a few essential poems to engage the question of race in the United States. And she has turned to some of her generation’s most original thinkers and writers to give voice to their concerns. The Fire This Time is divided into three parts that shine a light on the darkest corners of our history, wrestle with our current predicament, and envision a better future. Of the eighteen pieces, ten were written specifically for this volume. In the fifty-odd years since Baldwin’s essay was published, entire generations have dared everything and made significant progress. But the idea that we are living in the post-Civil Rights era, that we are a “post-racial” society is an inaccurate and harmful reflection of a truth the country must confront. Baldwin’s “fire next time” is now upon us, and it needs to be talked about. Contributors include Carol Anderson, Jericho Brown, Garnette Cadogan, Edwidge Danticat, Rachel Kaadzi Ghansah, Mitchell S. Jackson, Honoree Jeffers, Kima Jones, Kiese Laymon, Daniel Jose Older, Emily Raboteau, Claudia Rankine, Clint Smith, Natasha Trethewey, Wendy S. Walters, Isabel Wilkerson, and Kevin Young.
David Foster Wallace - Consider the Lobster
Do lobsters feel pain? Did Franz Kafka have a sick sense of humor? What is John Updike's deal, anyway? And who won the Adult Video News Female Performer of the Year Award the same year Gwyneth Paltrow won her Oscar? David Foster Wallace answers these questions and more in this hilarious new collection of essays. he immerses himself in the three-ring circus that is the presidential race in order to document one of the most vicious campaings in recent history. Later he strolls from booth to booth at a lobster festival in Maine and risks his life and limb to get to the bottom of the lobster question. In Consider the Lobster, one of the sharpest minds of our time delves into some of life's most delicious and distinctly modern topics.
Hal Clement - Heavy Planet
Discover MESKLIN - Gravity: 3g at the equator, 700g at the poles! Hal Clement is a Grand Master of SF, and the one most associated with the subgenre of hard SF. From his classic stories in Astounding in the 1940s through his novels of the 1950s and on to the recent _Half Life_, he has made a lasting impression on SF readers, and on writers, too. For many of them, Clement's work is the model of how to write hard SF, and this book contains the reasons why. Here are all the tales of bizarre, unforgettable Mesklin: the classic novel _Mission of Gravity_ and its sequel, _Star Light_, as well as the short stories "Under" and "Lecture Demonstration." Also included is "Whirligig World," the famous essay Clement published in Astounding in 1953. It describes the rigorous process he used to create his intriguingly plausible high-gravity planet, with its odd flattened shape, its day less than eighteen minutes long, and its many-limbed, noble natives. Come to Mesklin and learn why _The Encyclopedia of Science Fiction_ called _Mission of Gravity_ "one of the best loved novels in SF."
Joan Didion - We Tell Ourselves Stories in Order to Live
Joan Didion’s incomparable and distinctive essays and journalism are admired for their acute, incisive observations and their spare, elegant style. Now the seven books of nonfiction that appeared between 1968 and 2003 have been brought together into one thrilling collection. Slouching Towards Bethlehem captures the counterculture of the sixties, its mood and lifestyle, as symbolized by California, Joan Baez, Haight-Ashbury. The White Album covers the revolutionary politics and the “contemporary wasteland” of the late sixties and early seventies, in pieces on the Manson family, the Black Panthers, and Hollywood. Salvador is a riveting look at the social and political landscape of civil war. Miami exposes the secret role this largely Latin city played in the Cold War, from the Bay of Pigs through Watergate. In After Henry Didion reports on the Reagans, Patty Hearst, and the Central Park jogger case. The eight essays in Political Fictions–on censorship in the media, Gingrich, Clinton, Starr, and “compassionate conservatism,” among others–show us how we got to the political scene of today. And in Where I Was From Didion shows that California was never the land of the golden dream.
Elizabeth Wurtzel - Bitch
Bitch is a tract on the history of manipulative female behavior. By looking at women who derive their power from their sexuality, Wurtzel offers a trenchant cultural critique of contemporary gender relations. Beginning with Delilah, the first woman to supposedly bring a great man down (latter-day Delilahs include Yoko Ono, Pam Smart, Bess Myerson), Wurtzel finds many biblical counterparts to the men and women in today's headlines. In five extended essays, she links the lives of women as demanding and disparate as Amy Fisher, Hillary Clinton, Margaux Hemingway, and Nicole Brown Simpson. Wurtzel gives voice to those women whose lives have been misunderstood, who have been dismissed for their beauty, their madness, their youth. She finds in the story of Amy Fisher the tragic plight of all Lolitas, our thirst for their brief and intense flame. She connects Hemingway's tragic suicide to those of Sylvia Plath, Edie Sedgwick, and Marilyn Monroe, women whose beauty was an end, ultimately, in itself. Wurtzel, writing about the wife/mistress dichotomy, explains how some women are anointed as wife material, while others are relegated to the role of mistress. She takes to task the double standard imposed on women, the cultural insistence on goodness and society's complete obsession with badness: what's a girl to do? Bitch tells a tale both celebratory and cautionary as Wurtzel catalogs some of the most infamous women in history, defending their outsize desires, describing their exquisite loneliness, championing their take-no-prisoners approach to life and to love.
Bill Bryson - I'm a Stranger Here Myself
Ex-expatriate Bryson, who chronicled one effort at American reentry in his bestselling A Walk in the Woods, collects another: the whimsical columns on America he wrote weekly, while living in New Hampshire in the mid-to-late 1990s, for a British Sunday newspaper.
David Sedaris - When You Are Engulfed in Flames
Once again, David Sedaris brings together a collection of essays so uproariously funny and profoundly moving that his legions of fans will fall for him once more. He tests the limits of love when Hugh lances a boil from his backside, and pushes the boundaries of laziness when, finding the water shut off in his house in Normandy, he looks to the water in a vase of fresh cut flowers to fill the coffee machine. From armoring the windows with LP covers to protect the house from neurotic songbirds to the awkwardness of having a lozenge fall from your mouth into the lap of a sleeping fellow passenger on a plane, David Sedaris uses life's most bizarre moments to reach new heights in understanding love and fear, family and strangers. Culminating in a brilliantly funny account of his venture to Tokyo in order to quit smoking, David Sedaris's sixth essay collection will be avidly anticipated.
Michael Chabon - Maps and Legends
Michael Chabon's sparkling first book of nonfiction is a love song in 16 parts — a series of linked essays in praise of reading and writing, with subjects running from ghost stories to comic books, Sherlock Holmes to Cormac McCarthy. Throughout, Chabon energetically argues for a return to the thrilling, chilling origins of storytelling, rejecting the false walls around "serious" literature in favor of a wide-ranging affection. His own fiction, meanwhile, is explored from the perspective of personal history: post-collegiate desperation sparks his debut, The Mysteries of Pittsburgh; procrastination and doubt reveal the way toward Wonder Boys; a love of comics and a basement golem combine to create the Pulitzer Prize-winning The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier & Clay; and an enigmatic Yiddish phrasebook unfurls into The Yiddish Policeman's
André Aciman - Alibis
Celebrated as one of the most poignant stylists of his generation, André Aciman has written a luminous series of linked essays about time, place, identity, and art that show him at his very finest. From beautiful and moving pieces about the memory evoked by the scent of lavender; to meditations on cities like Barcelona, Rome, Paris, and New York; to his sheer ability to unearth life secrets from an ordinary street corner, Alibis reminds the reader that Aciman is a master of the personal essay.
André Aciman - False Papers
In these fourteen essays Andre Aciman, one of the most poignant stylists of his generation, dissects the experience of loss, moving from his forced departure from Alexandria as a teenager, though his brief stay in Europe and finally to the home he's made (and half invented) on Manhattan's Upper West Side.
Noam Chomsky - The Essential Chomsky
For the past forty years Noam Chomsky’s writings on politics and language have established him as a preeminent public intellectual and as one of the most original and wide-ranging political and social critics of our time. Among the seminal figures in linguistic theory over the past century, since the 1960s Chomsky has also secured a place as perhaps the leading dissident voice in the United States. Chomsky’s many bestselling works — including _Manufacturing Consent_, _Hegemony or Survival_, _Understanding Power_, and _Failed States_ — have served as essential touchstones for dissidents, activists, scholars, and concerned citizens on subjects ranging from the media to human rights to intellectual freedom. In particular, Chomsky’s scathing critiques of the U.S. wars in Vietnam, Central America, and the Middle East have furnished a widely accepted intellectual inspiration for antiwar movements over nearly four decades. _The Essential Chomsky_ assembles the core of his most important writings, including excerpts from his most influential texts over the past forty years. Here is an unprecedented, comprehensive overview of Chomsky’s thought.
Ursula K. Le Guin - The Books of Earthsea
Celebrating the 50th anniversary of the timeless and beloved _A Wizard of Earthsea_ —“…reads like the retelling of a tale first told centuries ago,” (David Mitchell)—comes this complete omnibus edition of the entire Earthsea chronicles, including over fifty illustrations illuminating Le Guin’s vision of her classic saga. Ursula K. Le Guin’s Earthsea novels are some of the most acclaimed and awarded works in literature—they have received prestigious accolades such as the National Book Award, a Newbery Honor, the Nebula Award, and many more honors, commemorating their enduring place in the hearts and minds of readers and the literary world alike. Now for the first time ever, they’re all together in one volume—including the early short stories, Le Guin’s “Earthsea Revisioned” Oxford lecture, and a new Earthsea story, never before printed. With a new introduction by Le Guin herself, this essential edition will also include fifty illustrations by renowned artist Charles Vess, specially commissioned and selected by Le Guin, to bring her refined vision of Earthsea and its people to life in a totally new way. [Stories include: “A Wizard of Earthsea”, “The Tombs of Atuan”, “The Farthest Shore”, “Tehanu”, “Tales From Earthsea”, “The Other Wind”, “The Rule of Names”, “The Word of Unbinding”, “The Daughter of Odren”, and “Earthsea Revisioned: A Lecture at Oxford University”.] With stories as perennial and universally beloved as _The Chronicles of Narnia_ and _The Lord of The Rings_—but also unlike anything but themselves—this edition is perfect for those new to the world of Earthsea, as well as those who are well-acquainted with its enchanting magic: to know Earthsea is to love it.
Robert Fulghum - All I Really Need to Know I Learned in Kindergarten
A revised edition of the bestselling classic—essays on life that will resonate deeply as readers discover how universal insights can be found in ordinary events More than thirty years ago, Robert Fulghum published a simple credo—a credo that became the phenomenal #1 New York Times bestseller All I Really Need to Know I Learned in Kindergarten. Today, after being embraced around the world and selling more than seven million copies, Fulghum’s book retains the potency of a common though no less relevant piece of wisdom: that the most basic aspects of life bear its most important opportunities. Here Fulghum engages us with musings on life, death, love, pain, joy, sorrow, and the best chicken-fried steak in the continental United States. The little seed in the Styrofoam cup offers a reminder about our own mortality and the delicate nature of life . . . a spider who catches (and loses) a full-grown woman in its web one fine morning teaches us about surviving catastrophe . . . the love story of Jean-Francois Pilatre and his hot-air balloon reminds us to be brave and unafraid to “fly” . . . life lessons hidden in the laundry pile . . . magical qualities found in a box of crayons . . . hide-and-seek vs. sardines—and how these games relate to the nature of God. All I Really Need to Know I Learned in Kindergarten is brimming with the very stuff of life and the significance found in the smallest details. In the editions since the first publication of this book, Robert Fulghum has had some time to ponder, to reevaluate, and to reconsider, adding fresh thoughts on classic topics including a short new introduction.
James Baldwin - The Fire Next Time
A national bestseller when it first appeared in 1963, The Fire Next Time galvanized the nation and gave passionate voice to the emerging civil rights movement. At once a powerful evocation of James Baldwin's early life in Harlem and a disturbing examination of the consequences of racial injustice, the book is an intensely personal and provocative document. It consists of two "letters," written on the occasion of the centennial of the Emancipation Proclamation, that exhort Americans, both black and white, to attack the terrible legacy of racism. Described by The New York Times Book Review as "sermon, ultimatum, confession, deposition, testament, and chronicle...all presented in searing, brilliant prose," The Fire Next Time stands as a classic of our literature.
Kurt Vonnegut - Fates Worse Than Death
"Honest and scarily funny, and it offers a rare insight into an author who has customarily hidden his heart."--New York Times "An anthology in which Vonnegut freely quotes himself on everything from art and architecture to madness and mass murder...Uncompromising."--Los Angeles Times Here we have a collection of essays and speeches by me, with breezy autobiographical commentary serving as connective tissue and splints and bandages. Here we go again with real life and opinions made to look like one big, preposterous animal not unlike an invention by Dr. Seuss... --Kurt Vonnegut, from Fates Worse Than Death
Arthur C. Danto - The Madonna of the Future
Arthur C. Danto's urbane, informed, searching essays about art and the art world are the best record we have of the life of the visual arts in the United States today. The Madonna of the Future finds Danto at the point where all the vectors of the contemporary art world intersect: those of traditional painting, Pop Art, mixed media, and installation art; those of art and philosophy; those of the specialist who comes to the work fully equipped with theory and of the connoisseur who encounters it chiefly through the eyes. In his reviews of major exhibitions and gallery shows, Danto reflects on the work of past masters (Vermeer, Tiepolo), the great painters of the modern period (Dalí, de Kooning, Kline, Rothko, and Johns), and the pluralistic descendants of Andy Warhol who dominate the New York art scene today. Nietzsche, he points out, published an essay called "How to Philosophize with a Hammer"; Danto's own review essays are lessons in how to criticize with a feather, so find and considerate are his judgments of artists and of the nature of art in general.
Ursula K. Le Guin - Dancing at the Edge of the World
Incisive, eloquent, crackling with ideas, this is a "mental-biography" of the award-winning fiction writer, Ursula K. Le Guin. She draws together essays, travel journals, lectures, informal talks and reviews spanning twelve years, for a fascinating peek into the mind of a remarkable woman.