814. American essays in English
Joan Didion The White Album, 1981.
Through examining both personal, spiritual, and cultural upheavals of the time, Joan Didion examines the late 1960s and its effects on her psyche.
Lee Gutkind and Hattie Fletcher, eds. True Stories, Well Told, 2014.
These twenty essays are written by writers such as Brenda Miller and Toi Derricotte and explore life events and symbols.
Christopher Hitchens Arguably: Selected Essays, 2011.
Christopher Hitchens is admired, and hated, for his views on politics, social institutions, and religion. An English-born American journalist and literary critic, he expressed his opinions with singular clarity. This book contains a mix of essays with topics ranging from Charles Dickens to Karl Marx.
Stephen King On Writing: A Memoir of the Craft, 2000.
Stephen King is the most popular and enduring horror writer alive today. This memoir was written in 1999, shortly after he was struck by a car while out walking. King shares personal stories that influenced his novels, and offers advice for aspiring writers.
David Lazar and Patrick Madden, eds. After Montaigne: Contemporary Essayists Cover the Essays, 2016.
French writer Michel de Montaigne (1533-1592) is considered the father of the modern essay. He published 107 pieces as easy to read today as they were when written. Lazar and Madden asked twenty-four contributors to select one work by Montaigne, select one quote from it as an epigraph, and then write an essay themselves on the same theme.
Thomas Lynch The Undertaking: Studies from the Dismal Trade, 1998.
Poet and funeral director Thomas Lynch writes of what it was like to spend a career burying the people in his small Michigan community. He grapples with the meaning of death for those who are gone and those left behind.
Meghan O’Beiblynn Interior States, 2018.
Meghan O’Beibelynn writes from an insider’s perspective on the Evangelical Christian community and Midwestern American culture. For those wishing to understand these increasingly marginalized populations, she considers their contradictions and misunderstood elements. She discloses the internal dissonance experienced while staying close to her roots as culture leaves her behind.
David Sedaris Me Talk Pretty One Day, 2001.
After moving to Paris from New York, David Sedaris memorializes his experiences in these humorous essays.
Rebecca Solnit The Faraway Nearby, 2013.
Historian and activist Rebecca Solnit looks at stories from her own life and considers how to frame them. She says stories serve as both boundaries and maps for all of us.
Joni Tevis. The World is on Fire: Scrap, Treasure, and Songs of the Apocalypse, 2015.
It’s been fearful growing up in an America threatened with existential crises from war, ecological devastation, and personal tragedy. Joni Tevis explores the events, people, and landscapes through the lens of apocalyptic sermons she heard in her South Carolina youth.
E. B. White The Second Tree from the Corner, 1954.
E.B. White, the writer of classic children’s books such as Charlotte’s Web and Stuart Little, was also a humorist, poet, and staff writer for New Yorker magazine. These essays on many topics are among his best writing.
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