The Best Essays eBooks




Selfish, Shallow, and Self-Absorbed: Sixteen Writers on Their Decision Not To Have Kids
by Meghan Daum, Kate Christensen, Tim Kreider, Paul Lisicky, M.G. Lord, Rosemary Mahoney, Sigrid Nunez, Jeanne Safer, Lionel Shriver, Geoff Dyer, Danielle Henderson, Courtney Hodell, Anna Holmes, Elliott Holt, Pam Houston, Michelle Huneven, Laura Kipnis
Selfish, Shallow, and Self-Absorbed: Sixteen Writers on Their Decision Not To Have Kids

SIXTEEN LITERARY LUMINARIES ON THE CONTROVERSIAL SUBJECT OF BEING CHILDLESS BY CHOICE, COLLECTED IN ONE FASCINATING ANTHOLOGY

One of the main topics of cultural conversation during the last decade was the supposed "fertility crisis, " and whether modern women could figure out a way to way to have it all-a successful, demanding career and the required 2. 3 children-before their biological clock stopped ticking. Now, however, conversation has turned to whether it's necessary to have it all or, perhaps more controversial, whether children are really a requirement for a fulfilling life. The idea that some women and men prefer not to have children is often met with sharp criticism and incredulity by the public and mainstream media.

In this provocative and controversial collection of essays, curated by writer Meghan Daum, sixteen acclaimed writers explain why they have chosen to eschew parenthood. Contributors Lionel Shriver, Sigrid Nunez, Kate Christiensen, Elliott Holt, Geoff Dyer, and Tim Kreider, among others, offer a unique perspective on the overwhelming cultural pressure of parenthood.

Selfish, Shallow, and Self-Absorbed makes a thoughtful and passionate case for why parenthood is not the only path in life, taking our parent-centric, kid-fixated, baby-bump-patrolling culture to task in the process. What emerges is a more nuanced, diverse view of what it means to live a full, satisfying life.


 



The Opposite of Loneliness: Essays and Stories
by Marina Keegan
The Opposite of Loneliness: Essays and Stories

An affecting and hope-filled posthumous collection of essays and stories from the talented young Yale graduate whose title essay captured the world's attention in 2012 and turned her into an icon for her generation.
Marina Keegan's star was on the rise when she graduated "magna cum laude" from Yale in May 2012. She had a play that was to be produced at the New York Fringe Festival and a job waiting for her at "The New Yorker." Tragically, five days after graduation, Marina died in a car crash.
As her family, friends, and classmates, deep in grief, joined to create a memorial service for Marina, her deeply moving last essay for "The Yale Daily News, " "The Opposite of Loneliness, " went viral, receiving more than 1. 4 million hits.
Even though she was just twenty-two when she died, Marina left behind a rich, expansive trove of prose that, like her title essay, captures the hope, uncertainty, and possibility of her generation. Her short story "Cold Pastoral" was published by NewYorker. com just months after her death.
"The Opposite of Loneliness "is an assemblage of Marina's essays and stories, which, like "The Last Lecture, " articulate the universal struggle that all of us face as we figure out what we aspire to be, and how we can harness our talents to impact the world.


 



So You've Been Publicly Shamed
by Jon Ronson
So You've Been Publicly Shamed

For the past three years, Jon Ronson has traveled the world meeting recipients of high-profile public shamings. The shamed are people like us, people who, say, made a joke on social media that came out badly or made a mistake at work. Once the transgression is revealed, collective outrage circles with the force of a hurricane and the next thing they know, they're being torn apart by an angry mob, jeered at, demonized, sometimes even fired from their job.

A great renaissance of public shaming is sweeping our land. Justice has been democratized. The silent majority are getting a voice, but what are we doing with our voice? We are mercilessly finding people's faults. We are defining the boundaries of normality by ruining the lives of those outside it. We are using shame as a form of social control.

Simultaneously powerful and hilarious in the way only Jon Ronson can be, So You've Been Publicly Shamed is a deeply honest book about modern life, full of eye-opening truths about the escalating war on human flaws and the very scary part we all play in it.


 



The Misadventures of Awkward Black Girl
by Issa Rae
The Misadventures of Awkward Black Girl

In the bestselling tradition of Sloan Crosley’s I Was Told There’d Be Cake and Mindy Kaling’s Is Everyone Hanging Out Without Me?, a collection of humorous essays on what it’s like to be unabashedly awkward in a world that regards introverts as hapless misfits, and black as cool.

My name is “J” and I’m awkward — and black. Someone once told me those were the two worst things anyone could be. That someone was right. Where do I start?

Being an introvert in a world that glorifies cool isn’t easy. But when Issa Rae, the creator of the Shorty Award–winning hit series “The Misadventures of Awkward Black Girl,” is that introvert — whether she’s navigating love, work, friendships, or “rapping” — it sure is entertaining. Now, in this debut collection of essays written in her witty and self-deprecating voice, Rae covers everything from cybersexing in the early days of the Internet to deflecting unsolicited comments on weight gain, from navigating the perils of eating out alone and public displays of affection to learning to accept yourself — natural hair and all.

A reflection on her own unique experiences as a cyber pioneer yet universally appealing, The Misadventures of Awkward Black Girl is a book no one — awkward or cool, black, white, or other — will want to miss.


 



Small Victories: Spotting Improbable Moments of Grace
by Anne Lamott
Small Victories: Spotting Improbable Moments of Grace

From the bestselling author of Stitches and Help, Thanks, Wow comes her long-awaited collection of new and selected essays on hope, joy, and grace.

Anne Lamott writes about faith, family, and community in essays that are both wise and irreverent. It’s an approach that has become her trademark. Now in Small Victories, Lamott offers a new message of hope that celebrates the triumph of light over the darkness in our lives. Our victories over hardship and pain may seem small, she writes, but they change us — our perceptions, our perspectives, and our lives. Lamott writes of forgiveness, restoration, and transformation, how we can turn toward love even in the most hopeless situations, how we find the joy in getting lost and our amazement in finally being found.

Profound and hilarious, honest and unexpected, the stories in Small Victories are proof that the human spirit is irrepressible.


 



The Art of Stillness: Adventures in Going Nowhere
by Pico Iyer
The Art of Stillness: Adventures in Going Nowhere

A follow up to Pico Iyer’s essay “The Joy of Quiet,” The Art of Stillness considers the unexpected adventure of staying put and reveals a counterintuitive truth: The more ways we have to connect, the more we seem desperate to unplug.

Why might a lifelong traveler like Pico Iyer, who has journeyed from Easter Island to Ethiopia, Cuba to Kathmandu, think that sitting quietly in a room might be the ultimate adventure? Because in our madly accelerating world, our lives are crowded, chaotic and noisy. There’s never been a greater need to slow down, tune out and give ourselves permission to be still.

In The Art of Stillness — a TED Books release — Iyer investigate the lives of people who have made a life seeking stillness: from Matthieu Ricard, a Frenchman with a PhD in molecular biology who left a promising scientific career to become a Tibetan monk, to revered singer-songwriter Leonard Cohen, who traded the pleasures of the senses for several years of living the near-silent life of meditation as a Zen monk. Iyer also draws on his own experiences as a travel writer to explore why advances in technology are making us more likely to retreat. He reflects that this is perhaps the reason why many people — even those with no religious commitment — seem to be turning to yoga, or meditation, or seeking silent retreats. These aren't New Age fads so much as ways to rediscover the wisdom of an earlier age. Growing trends like observing an “Internet Sabbath” — turning off online connections from Friday night to Monday morning — highlight how increasingly desperate many of us are to unplug and bring stillness into our lives.

The Art of Stillness paints a picture of why so many — from Marcel Proust to Mahatma Ghandi to Emily Dickinson — have found richness in stillness. Ultimately, Iyer shows that, in this age of constant movement and connectedness, perhaps staying in one place is a more exciting prospect, and a greater necessity than ever before.

In 2013, Pico Iyer gave a blockbuster TED Talk. This lyrical and inspiring book expands on a new idea, offering a way forward for all those feeling affected by the frenetic pace of our modern world.


 



Loitering: New & Collected Essays
by Charles D'Ambrosio
Loitering: New & Collected Essays

Charles D’Ambrosio’s essay collection Orphans spawned something of a cult following. In the decade since the tiny limited-edition volume sold out its print run, its devotees have pressed it upon their friends, students, and colleagues, only to find themselves begging for their copy’s safe return. For anyone familiar with D’Ambrosio’s writing, this enthusiasm should come as no surprise. His work is exacting and emotionally generous, often as funny as it is devastating. Loitering gathers those eleven original essays with new and previously uncollected work so that a broader audience might discover one of our great living essayists. No matter his subject — Native American whaling, a Pentecostal “hell house,” Mary Kay Letourneau, the work of J. D. Salinger, or, most often, his own family — D’Ambrosio approaches each piece with a singular voice and point of view; each essay, while unique and surprising, is unmistakably his own.


 



Citizen: An American Lyric
by Claudia Rankine
Citizen: An American Lyric

* Finalist for the National Book Award in Poetry *
* Winner of the National Book Critics Circle Award in Poetry * Finalist for the National Book Critics Circle Award in Criticism * Winner of the NAACP Image Award * Winner of the L. A. Times Book Prize * Winner of the PEN Open Book Award *

ONE OF THE BEST BOOKS OF THE YEAR:
The New Yorker, Boston Globe, The Atlantic, BuzzFeed, NPR. Los Angeles Times, Publishers Weekly, Slate, Time Out New York, Vulture, Refinery 29, and many more…

A provocative meditation on race, Claudia Rankine's long-awaited follow up to her groundbreaking book Don't Let Me Be Lonely: An American Lyric.

Claudia Rankine's bold new book recounts mounting racial aggressions in ongoing encounters in twenty-first-century daily life and in the media. Some of these encounters are slights, seeming slips of the tongue, and some are intentional offensives in the classroom, at the supermarket, at home, on the tennis court with Serena Williams and the soccer field with Zinedine Zidane, online, on TV-everywhere, all the time. The accumulative stresses come to bear on a person's ability to speak, perform, and stay alive. Our addressability is tied to the state of our belonging, Rankine argues, as are our assumptions and expectations of citizenship. In essay, image, and poetry, Citizen is a powerful testament to the individual and collective effects of racism in our contemporary, often named "post-race" society.


 



The Republic of Imagination: America in Three Books
by Azar Nafisi
The Republic of Imagination: America in Three Books

A passionate hymn to the power of fiction to transform people’s lives, by the #1 New York Times bestselling author of Reading Lolita in Tehran

Ten years ago, Azar Nafisi electrified readers with her million-copy bestseller Reading Lolita in Tehran, which told the story of how, against the backdrop of morality squads and executions, she taught The Great Gatsby and other classics to her eager students in Iran. In this exhilarating followup, Nafisi has written the book her fans have been waiting for: an impassioned, beguiling and utterly original tribute to the vital importance of fiction in a democratic society. What Reading Lolita in Tehran was for Iran, The Republic of Imagination is for America.

Taking her cue from a challenge thrown to her in Seattle, where a skeptical reader told her that Americans don’t care about books the way they did back in Iran, she challenges those who say fiction has nothing to teach us. Blending memoir and polemic with close readings of her favorite American novels — from Huckleberry Finn to The Heart Is a Lonely Hunter — she invites us to join her as citizens of her "Republic of Imagination, " a country where the villains are conformity and orthodoxy, and the only passport to entry is a free mind and a willingness to dream.


 



Not That Kind of Girl: A Young Woman Tells You What She's "Learned"
by Lena Dunham, Joana Avillez
Not That Kind of Girl: A Young Woman Tells You What She's "Learned"

From the acclaimed creator, producer, and star of HBO's Girls comes a hilarious, wise, and fiercely candid collection of personal essays that establishes Lena Dunham as one of the most original young talents writing today.

In Not that Kind of Girl, Dunham illuminates the experiences that are part of making one's way in the world: falling in love, feeling alone, being ten pounds overweight despite eating only health food, having to prove yourself in a room full of men twice your age, finding true love, and, most of all, having the guts to believe that your story is one that deserves to be told.

Exuberant, moving, and keenly observed, Not that Kind of Girl is a series of dispatches from the frontlines of the struggle that is growing up."I'm already predicting my future shame at thinking I had anything to offer you, " Dunham writes."But if I can take what I've learned and make one menial job easier for you, or prevent you from having the kind of sex where you feel you must keep your sneakers on in case you want to run away during the act, then every misstep of mine will have been worthwhile."


 



People I Want to Punch in the Throat: Competitive Crafters, Drop-Off Despots, and Other Suburban Scourges
by Jen Mann
People I Want to Punch in the Throat: Competitive Crafters, Drop-Off Despots, and Other Suburban Scourges

A debut collection of witty, biting essays laced with a surprising warmth, from Jen Mann, the writer behind the popular blog People I Want to Punch in the Throat
People I want to punch in the throat:
• anyone who feels the need to bling her washer and dryer
• humblebraggers
• people who treat their pets like children
Jen Mann doesn’t have a filter, which sometimes gets her in trouble with her neighbors, her fellow PTA moms, and that one woman who tried to sell her sex toys at a home shopping party. Known for her hilariously acerbic observations on her blog, People I Want to Punch in the Throat, Mann now brings her sharp wit to bear on suburban life, marriage, and motherhood in this laugh-out-loud collection of essays. From the politics of joining a play group, to the thrill of mothers’ night out at the gun range, to the rewards of your most meaningful relationship (the one you have with your cleaning lady), nothing is sacred or off-limits. So the next time you find yourself wearing fuzzy bunny pajamas in the school carpool line or accidentally stuck at a co-worker’s swingers party, just think, What would Jen Mann do? Or better yet, buy her book.


 



On Immunity: An Inoculation
by Eula Biss
On Immunity: An Inoculation

Upon becoming a new mother, Eula Biss addresses a chronic condition of fear-fear of the government, the medical establishment, and what is in your child's air, food, mattress, medicine, and vaccines. She finds that you cannot immunize your child, or yourself, from the world.

In this bold, fascinating book, Biss investigates the metaphors and myths surrounding our conception of immunity and its implications for the individual and the social body. As she hears more and more fears about vaccines, Biss researches what they mean for her own child, her immediate community, America, and the world, both historically and in the present moment. She extends a conversation with other mothers to meditations on Voltaire's Candide, Bram Stoker's Dracula, Rachel Carson's Silent Spring, Susan Sontag's AIDS and Its Metaphors, and beyond.

On Immunity is a moving account of how we are all interconnected-our bodies and our fates.


 



Death by Black Hole: And Other Cosmic Quandaries
by Neil deGrasse Tyson
Death by Black Hole: And Other Cosmic Quandaries

Loyal readers of the monthly "Universe" essays in Natural History magazine have long recognized Neil deGrasse Tyson's talent for guiding them through the mysteries of the cosmos with clarity and enthusiasm. Bringing together more than forty of Tyson's favorite essays, ?Death by Black Hole? explores a myriad of cosmic topics, from what it would be like to be inside a black hole to the movie industry's feeble efforts to get its night skies right. One of America's best-known astrophysicists, Tyson is a natural teacher who simplifies the complexities of astrophysics while sharing his infectious fascination for our universe.


 



What I Know For Sure
by Oprah Winfrey
What I Know For Sure

As a creative force, student of the human heart and soul, and champion of living the life you want, Oprah Winfrey stands alone. Over the years, she has made history with a legendary talk show — the highest-rated program of its kind, launched her own television network, become the nation's only African-American billionaire, and been awarded both an honorary degree by Harvard University and the Presidential Medal of Freedom. From all her experiences, she has gleaned life lessons-which, for fourteen years, she's shared in O, The Oprah Magazine's widely popular "What I Know For Sure" column, a monthly source of inspiration and revelation.

Now, for the first time, these thoughtful gems have been revised, updated, and collected in What I Know For Sure, a beautiful cloth bound book with a ribbon marker, packed with insight and revelation from Oprah Winfrey. Organized by theme-joy, resilience, connection, gratitude, possibility, awe, clarity, and power-these essays offer a rare, powerful and intimate glimpse into the heart and mind of one of the world's most extraordinary women-while providing readers a guide to becoming their best selves. Candid, moving, exhilarating, uplifting, and frequently humorous, the words Oprah shares in What I Know For Sure shimmer with the sort of truth that readers will turn to again and again.


 



How to Be Parisian Wherever You Are: Love, Style, and Bad Habits
by Anne Berest, Audrey Diwan, Caroline De Maigret, Sophie Mas
How to Be Parisian Wherever You Are: Love, Style, and Bad Habits

From four stunning and accomplished French women — at last — a fresh and spirited take on what it really means to be a Parisienne: how they dress, entertain, have fun and attempt to behave themselves.
In short, frisky sections, these Parisian women give you their very original views on style, beauty, culture, attitude and men. The authors-Anne Berest, Audrey Diwan, Caroline de Maigret, and Sophie Mas — unmarried but attached, with children — have been friends for years. Talented bohemian iconoclasts with careers in the worlds of music, film, fashion and publishing, they are untypically frank and outspoken as they debunk the myths about what it means to be a French woman today. Letting you in on their secrets and flaws, they also make fun of their complicated, often contradictory feelings and behavior. They admit to being snobs, a bit self-centered, unpredictable but not unreliable. Bossy and opinionated, they are also tender and romantic.
You will be taken on a first date, to a party, to some favorite haunts in Paris, to the countryside, and to one of their dinners at home with recipes even you could do — but to be out with them is to be in for some mischief and surprises. They will tell you how to be mysterious and sensual, look natural, make your boyfriend jealous, and how they feel about children, weddings and going to the gym. And they will share their address book in Paris for where to go: At the End of the Night, for A Birthday, for a Smart Date, A Hangover, for Vintage Finds and much more.
How to Be Parisian Wherever You Are will make you laugh as you slip into their shoes to become bold and free and tap into your inner cool.


 



Women in Clothes
by Sheila Heti, Heidi Julavits, Leanne Shapton
Women in Clothes

Women in Clothes is a book unlike any other. It is essentially a conversation among hundreds of women of all nationalities — famous, anonymous, religious, secular, married, single, young, old — on the subject of clothing, and how the garments we put on every day define and shape our lives.

It began with a survey. The editors composed a list of more than fifty questions designed to prompt women to think more deeply about their personal style. Writers, activists, and artists including Cindy Sherman, Kim Gordon, Kalpona Akter, Sarah Nicole Prickett, Tavi Gevinson, Miranda July, Roxane Gay, Lena Dunham, and Molly Ringwald answered these questions with photographs, interviews, personal testimonies, and illustrations.

Even our most basic clothing choices can give us confidence, show the connection between our appearance and our habits of mind, express our values and our politics, bond us with our friends, or function as armor or disguise. They are the tools we use to reinvent ourselves and to transform how others see us. Women in Clothes embraces the complexity of women’s style decisions, revealing the sometimes funny, sometimes strange, always thoughtful impulses that influence our daily ritual of getting dressed.


 



Bad Feminist: Essays
by Roxane Gay
Bad Feminist: Essays

Pink is my favorite color. I used to say my favorite color was black to be cool, but it is pink — all shades of pink. If I have an accessory, it is probably pink. I read Vogue, and I’m not doing it ironically, though it might seem that way. I once live-tweeted the September issue.

In these funny and insightful essays, Roxane Gay takes us through the journey of her evolution as a woman of color while also taking readers on a ride through culture of the last few years and commenting on the state of feminism today. The portrait that emerges is not only one of an incredibly insightful woman continually growing to understand herself and our society, but also one of our culture.

Bad Feminist is a sharp, funny, and spot-on look at the ways in which the culture we consume becomes who we are, and an inspiring call-to-arms of all the ways we still need to do better.


 



We Should All Be Feminists
by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie
We Should All Be Feminists

An eBook short.

What does “feminism” mean today? That is the question at the heart of We Should All Be Feminists, a personal, eloquently-argued essay — adapted from her much-viewed Tedx talk of the same name — by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, the award-winning author of Americanah and Half of a Yellow Sun. With humor and levity, here Adichie offers readers a unique definition of feminism for the twenty-first century — one rooted in inclusion and awareness. She shines a light not only on blatant discrimination, but also the more insidious, institutional behaviors that marginalize women around the world, in order to help readers of all walks of life better understand the often masked realities of sexual politics. Throughout, she draws extensively on her own experiences — in the U. S., in her native Nigeria, and abroad — offering an artfully nuanced explanation of why the gender divide is harmful for women and men, alike. Argued in the same observant, witty and clever prose that has made Adichie a bestselling novelist, here is one remarkable author’s exploration of what it means to be a woman today — and an of-the-moment rallying cry for why we should all be feminists.


 



I Like You Just the Way I Am: Stories About Me and Some Other People
by Jenny Mollen
I Like You Just the Way I Am: Stories About Me and Some Other People

A New York Times Best Seller!

By the actress, writer, and one of the funniest women on Twitter, an outrageous, hysterical memoir of acting on impulse, plotting elaborate hoaxes, and refusing to acknowledge boundaries in any form

Jenny Mollen is an actress and writer living in Los Angeles. She is also a wife, married to a famous guy (which is annoying only because he gets free shit and she doesn't). She doesn't want much from life. Just to be loved-by everybody: her parents, her dogs, her ex-boyfriends, her ex-boyfriends' dogs, her husband, her husband's ex-girlfriends, her husband's ex-girlfriend's new boyfriends, etc. Some people might call that impulse crazy, but isn't "crazy" really just a word boring people use to describe fun people? (And Jenny is really, really fun, you guys!)

In these pages, you'll find stories of Jenny at her most genuine, whether it's stalking her therapist (because he knows everything about her so shouldn't she get to know everything about him?); throwing a bachelorette party so bad that one of the guests is suspected dead; or answering the eternal question, Would your best friend blow your husband on a car ride to dinner if she didn't know you were hiding in the backseat?

I Like You Just the Way I Am is about not doing the right thing-about indulging your inner crazy-person. It is Jenny when she's not trying to impress anyone or come across as a responsible, level-headed member of society. With any luck it will make you better acquainted with who you really are and what you really want. Which, let's be honest, is most likely someone else's email password.


 






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