Brian Doyle spoke more or less exactly the way he wrote, a fact that I always found kind of remarkable. It's easy to imagine him reading - performing, really - any of the short, poignant essays collected here. Doyle died way too soon, in 2016, but he left us with an incredible body of work - sublime, hilarious, tragic, beatific - the very best (non-fiction) examples of which are collected in this volume, with help from David James Duncan. Keep these close and read (and re-read) them frequently - as meditation, as comedy, as guiding beacons in dark times. Thanks, Brian, for everything.
Expansive collection of the best work from the beloved late poet. You'll find yourself thinking about the images here long after you've read, and it will be difficult to not re-read.
This is a book that can be read in one sitting, slowly devoured over multiple sessions, or opened periodically at a random essay to find some bizarre, whimsical, yet realistic and refreshing gem. Somehow this book manages to feel both sacred and sacrilegious, making for a beautiful marriage of the two. Perfect for mothers, the mother-adjacent, or anyone fascinated by the strange world of children.
This collection of previously published essays establishes Wesley Yang as one of the great cultured observers of these times. Absolutely one of the best collections of the year.
The premise is as misleading as it is wacky; but beneath the surface, this series of philosophical essays represents nature writing of the highest order: probing, intellectual, alert, funny, and astonishing. His tone is blithe, his style loose and poetic. He doesn't write sentences so much as created little idea nests.
It's not for everyone - just someone a little eccentric, and full of wonder.
As part of the Why I Write lecture series, the legendary New York musician and author shares a short but engaging story she wrote while traveling by train. The story itself is book ended by the different authors of the past, as well as the current surroundings that inspire her writing (including a personal visit to the room where Camus wrote.) A minute but moving must for any fan of Smith's writing.
"Teach the children...stand them in the stream, head them upstream, rejoice as they learn to love this green space they live in, its sticks and leaves and then the silent, beautiful blossoms. Attention is the beginning of devotion." Mary Oliver is the only writer that makes me second-guess killing any rogue spider that comes near me, because her reverence for nature is more than mere observation - her writing becomes a spiritual experience in these essays.
Like a Romantic Larry David, Geoff Dyer travels from Tahiti to the Arctic Circle, meeting humiliation and disappointment on his quest for the Sublime.
Part-treatise, part-memoir of a troubled marriage, what begins as a philosophical exploration of the nature and purpose of hotels takes in home, love, marital politics, madness and the Marx Brothers in a witty and insightful stream of associations.