Staff Pick

I could equate reading Lydia Davis’s work to several things: being shaken awake after a long nap, taking a cold shower, drinking a strong cup of coffee. She holds her space in the literary canon for being electric, and of course, this newest collection of lectures and meditations, Essays One (Farrar, Straus and Giroux, $30), surpasses expectations. What makes the collection so rich and special is that there is at least one essay—if not many—for everyone. Fans of literature will adore her sharp, and sometimes tender, commentaries on some of our most beloved authors, from Berlin to Blanchot to Pynchon. Lovers of fine art will appreciate her ponderings (her essay on Joan Mitchell still holds as one of my favorites in this collection). And, of course, writers will cherish her words on craft. No matter the topic at hand, every element of her language is purposeful. Nothing is misplaced or hurried; the book is a masterclass on how to do so much with little. With this newest assemblage of musings, Davis solidifies herself as one of our greatest literary treasures.

Essays One Cover Image
$30.00
ISBN: 9780374148850
Availability: In Stock—Click for Locations
Published: Farrar, Straus and Giroux - November 12th, 2019

Staff Pick

Jia Tolentino writes from an explicitly millennial perspective, but the “generation-defi ning” forces she so ably explores in Trick Mirror (Random House, $27)—the internet, feminism, the 2016 election--have touched everyone, no matter when they were born. Blending the intimate, honest approach of a personal essayist with an experienced cultural critic’s skepticism and range, Tolentino clarifies and complicates every subject she touches, from athleisurewear and reality shows (her story of appearing in one is priceless) to “difficult women” and drug use. Calling the name of today’s game “scamming,” she draws on her own experiences with blogs, books, and a megachurch—christened by its youthful members “the Repentagon”—to dissect some of the artifi ces at work today. These are mostly webbased, but even with familiar suspects like Amazon and Facebook Tolentino adds a lot to our understanding of how these forces affect us and how they stay so powerful; her discussion of the internet as a theater without a backstage is apt and memorable, as are her expositions of how feminism still knuckles under to the “tyranny of the ideal woman” and of how intensive marketing, dating only from the nuptials of Queen Victoria, has created “traditional” weddings where, for just tens of thousands of dollars, every woman can get the royal treatment for a day.

Trick Mirror: Reflections on Self-Delusion Cover Image
$27.00
ISBN: 9780525510543
Availability: In Stock—Click for Locations
Published: Random House - August 6th, 2019

Staff Pick

The celebrated Scandinavian writer, Inger Christensen, is made accessible to English-language readers with this newly translated and beautifully published collection of a selection of her essays (and one brilliant poem): The Condition of Secrecy. The essays span the Cold War and its immediate aftermath (1960s through the 1990s), and in them we find disillusionment regarding the follies of a humankind hell-bent on war and nuclear destruction. But we also find hope embedded in Christensen’s writing and in her attachment to the natural world, which comes across with so much beauty and precision of language it reminds us that humans are still capable of creating light, even in the darkness.

 

 

Condition of Secrecy Cover Image
By Inger Christensen, Susanna Nied (Translated by)
$16.95
ISBN: 9780811228114
Availability: In Stock—Click for Locations
Published: New Directions - November 27th, 2018

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