Staff Pick

Alexander Chee’s essay collection is a gift. Some of these essays have been published before, but taken together they offer an incredibly honest inward look, not just into Chee's life, but frequently into my own. They hold up a mirror to my own worries and anger and fear, despite often describing a life not at all like mine. Encouraging readers to examine their own lives is one of the best gifts a writer can give, and I feel honored and lucky to have read this incredible collection.

How to Write an Autobiographical Novel: Essays Cover Image
ISBN: 9781328764522
Availability: In Stock—Click for Locations
Published: Mariner Books - April 17th, 2018

Staff Pick

As any reader of Tim Kreider's previous work will tell you, the political cartoonist-turned-essayist has practically cornered the market on highly-entertaining personal tales that are both weirdly intimate and intimately weird - and on extraordinarily accurate meditations on the world around us. In his newest collection, Kreider shares with us a trip he took aboard a circus train to Mexico, revisits a seminal academic study he took part in as a toddler, and provides the truest and most moving tribute to cat ownership I've ever read. 

I Wrote This Book Because I Love You: Essays Cover Image
ISBN: 9781476738994
Availability: Not On Our Shelves—Ships in 1-5 Days
Published: Simon & Schuster - February 6th, 2018

Staff Pick

An accomplished poet, Sleigh took up journalism to see for himself the realities behind the abstractions in places including Libya, Iraq, Somalia, and Lebanon. More than just reports, his essays are troubled and thought-provoking reflections on violence and our response to suffering. Impatient with statistics and the pre-fab language of popular opinion, and interested more in bodies than in body counts, Sleigh hoped to develop feelings about what he saw, not just to hold convictions. Writing with the “physical immediacy” he demands from poetry, he looked closely, questioned people about their memories and fears, and tracks the lived experience of occupation, displacement, drone strikes, and starvation. He vividly conveys what happens to someone growing up in a refugee camp and shows what a mother goes through when she has to decide which of two sons to leave, because she can carry only one across the desert. Struggling to achieve a new kind of reporting that, like the poetry, “embodies emotion as opposed to riding on top of it,” Sleigh asks whether empathy is possible, of if we should strive instead for a truer sympathy and questions whether journalists really speak for the voiceless or only add their own voice to the din drowning out the stories they’re after. Finally, looking again to poetry, and showing the different approaches taken by writers such as Akhmatova, Tranströmer, Heaney, and David Jones, Sleigh proposes a “politics of negative capability,” which means “immers[ing] yourself as fully as you can in what you’re observing, to take it in in all its sensory immediacy” with any judgment coming only afterward.

The Land between Two Rivers: Writing in an Age of Refugees Cover Image
ISBN: 9781555977962
Availability: In Stock—Click for Locations
Published: Graywolf Press - February 6th, 2018