Non-Fiction

  • Known and Strange Things

    Teju Cole

    This collection of essays is divided into three sections — “Reading Things,” “Seeing Things,” and “Being There” — and for me they progress from the least cohesive to the most cohesive. Many of the literary essays feel more like sketches than fully fleshed out essays, and I slowly worked through these over the summer before lulling out...more

  • Forty-One False Starts

    Janet Malcolm

    As a collection, Forty-One False Starts falls to the side of indiscriminate, especially the several shorter essays at the end that felt like they were included more because they fit the theme of artists and writers than because they had something truly remarkable to say. Maybe they were victims of placement, but they probably stand...more

  • Writings

    Agnes Martin

    There is in reality no need for self-sacrifice and no call for it. Do not settle for the experience of others. If you follow others you are in reality at a standstill, because their experience is in the past. That is circling. Even following your own past experience, is circling. Know your own response to your own work

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  • Our daily lives have to be a satisfaction in themselves

    Emily Larned (publisher)

    You may remember how it was in the early ’70s. Feminists were really angry. We thought that we’d suddenly discovered something that we’d explain to men and everything would change. —Selma Miriam

    This beautiful book is handmade by Emily Larned, put...more

  • Tell Me How It Ends

    Valeria Luiselli

    First published in 2016, Valeria Luiselli wrote this long essay before the Trump administration came into office and further muddled already insufficient immigration policies. Structured around the forty questions she asked undocumented children from Central America during her volunteer work helping connect these children with legal...more

  • Ongoingness

    Sarah Manguso

    Sometimes I think there is an order you need to read books by certain authors; maybe the chronological sequence gives you a context of their development that helps you progress with them, but other times a truly excellent later work will make you more interested to read less mature works than if you had started with those. And after reading ...more

  • H Is for Hawk

    Helen Macdonald

    This is one of those books that defies quick categorization. You could call it a grief memoir or non-fiction nature writing, but it’s some of both and more than those too. At the root level, H Is for Hawk does center around the sudden death of Helen Macdonald’s father, and she expresses the devastation that...more

  • Silence: In the Age of Noise

    Erling Kagge

    I thought this book would be a slam dunk for me, written around the questions: What is silence? Where is it? How do we create it? Erling Kagge is a Norwegian explorer who in 1990 became one of the first people to travel to the North Pole unsupported. For that expedition he had a partner, but three years later he spent fifty...more

  • Meaty

    Samantha Irby

    At times bawdy and at others incisively poignant, Samantha Irby dishes on topics like sex & celibacy, reality TV, body image, and Crohn’s disease. Then she will switch tracks and talk about becoming the primary caretaker of her mother, who was disabled from a combination of...more

  • Borderlands / La Frontera

    Gloria Anzaldúa

    Borders are set up to define the places that are safe and unsafe, to distinguish us from them. A border is a dividing line, a narrow strip along a steep edge. A borderland is a vague and undetermined place created by the emotional residue of an unnatural boundary. It is in a constant state of transition. The prohibited and

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