The Best Essays eBooks




The Examined Life: How We Lose and Find Ourselves
by Stephen Grosz
The Examined Life: How We Lose and Find Ourselves

Echoing Socrates' time-honoured statement that the unexamined life is not worth living, psychoanalyst Stephen Grosz draws short, vivid stories from his 25-five-year practice in order to track the collaborative journey of therapist and patient as they uncover the hidden feelings behind ordinary behaviour.
These beautifully rendered tales illuminate the fundamental pathways of life from birth to death. A woman finds herself daydreaming as she returns home from a business trip; a young man loses his wallet. We learn, too, from more extreme examples: the patient who points an unloaded gun at a police officer, the compulsive liar who convinces his wife he's dying of cancer. The stories invite compassionate understanding, suggesting answers to the questions that compel and disturb us most about love and loss, parents and children, work and change. The resulting journey will spark new ideas about who we are and why we do what we do.


 



Tibetan Peach Pie: A True Account of an Imaginative Life
by Tom Robbins
Tibetan Peach Pie: A True Account of an Imaginative Life

Internationally bestselling novelist and American icon Tom Robbins's long-awaited tale of his wild life and times, both at home and around the globe

Tom Robbins's warm, wise, and wonderfully weird novels–including Even Cowgirls Get the Blues, Another Roadside Attraction, and Jitterbug Perfume–provide an entryway into the frontier of his singular imagination. Madcap but sincere, pulsating with strong social and philosophical undercurrents, his irreverent classics have introduced countless readers to hitchhiking cowgirls, born-again monkeys, a philosophizing can of beans, exiled royalty, and problematic redheads.

In Tibetan Peach Pie, Robbins turns that unparalleled literary sensibility inward, weaving together stories of his unconventional life–from his Appalachian childhood to his globe-trotting adventures–told in his unique voice, which combines the sweet and sly, the spiritual and earthy. The grandchild of Baptist preachers, Robbins would become, over the course of half a century, a poet interruptus, a soldier, a meteorologist, a radio DJ, an art-critic-turned-psychedelic-journeyman, a world-famous novelist, and a counterculture hero, leading a life as unlikely, magical, and bizarre as those of his quixotic characters.

Robbins offers intimate snapshots of Appalachia during the Great Depression, the West Coast during the sixties' psychedelic revolution, international roving before Homeland Security monitored our travels, and New York publishing when it still relied on trees.

Written with the big-hearted comedy and mesmerizing linguistic invention for which Robbins is known, Tibetan Peach Pie is an invitation into the private world of a literary legend.


 



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

The instant New York Times bestseller and publishing phenomenon: Marina Keegan’s posthumous collection of award-winning essays and stories “sparkles with talent, humanity, and youth” (O, The Oprah Magazine).

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.

Marina left behind a rich, deeply expansive trove of writing that, like her title essay, captures the hope, uncertainty, and possibility of her generation. Her short story “Cold Pastoral” was published on NewYorker. com. Her essay “Even Artichokes Have Doubts” was excerpted in the Financial Times, and her book was the focus of a Nicholas Kristof column in The New York Times. Millions of her contemporaries have responded to her work on social media.

As Marina wrote: “We can still do anything. We can change our minds. We can start over…We’re so young. We can’t, we MUST not lose this sense of possibility because in the end, it’s all we have.” The Opposite of Loneliness is an unforgettable collection of Marina’s essays and stories that articulates the universal struggle all of us face as we figure out what we aspire to be and how we can harness our talents to impact the world. “How do you mourn the loss of a fiery talent that was barely a tendril before it was snuffed out? Answer: Read this book. A clear-eyed observer of human nature, Keegan could take a clever idea… and make it something beautiful” (People).


 



The Empathy Exams: Essays
by Leslie Jamison
The Empathy Exams: Essays

From personal loss to phantom diseases, The Empathy Exams is a bold and brilliant collection; winner of the Graywolf Press Nonfiction Prize.

Beginning with her experience as a medical actor who was paid to act out symptoms for medical students to diagnose, Leslie Jamison’s visceral and revealing essays ask essential questions about our basic understanding of others: How should we care about each other? How can we feel another’s pain, especially when pain can be assumed, distorted, or performed? Is empathy a tool by which to test or even grade each other? By confronting pain — real and imagined, her own and others’ — Jamison uncovers a personal and cultural urgency to feel. She draws from her own experiences of illness and bodily injury to engage in an exploration that extends far beyond her life, spanning wide-ranging territory — from poverty tourism to phantom diseases, street violence to reality television, illness to incarceration — in its search for a kind of sight shaped by humility and grace.


 



I Don't Know What You Know Me From: Confessions of a Co-Star
by Judy Greer
I Don't Know What You Know Me From: Confessions of a Co-Star

You know Judy Greer, right? Maybe from The Wedding Planner, 13 Going on 30, Carrie, Arrested Development, or The Descendants. Yes, you totally recognize her. And, odds are, you already feel like she’s your friend.

In her first book of essays, I Don’t Know What You Know Me From, Greer writes about everything you would hope to hear from your best friend: how a midnight shopping trip to Walgreens can cure all; what it’s like to wake up one day with stepchildren; and how she really feels about fans telling her that she’s prettier in person. Yes, it’s all here — from the hilarious moments to the intimate confessions.

But Judy Greer isn’t just a regular friend — she’s a celebrity friend. Want to know which celebs she’s peed next to? Or what the Academy Awards are actually like? Or which hot actor gave her father a Harley-Davidson? Don’t worry; Greer reveals all of that, too. You’ll love her because, besides being laugh-out-loud funny, she makes us genuinely feel like she’s one of us. Because even though she sometimes has a stylist and a makeup artist, she still wears (and hates!) Spanx. Because even after almost twenty years in Hollywood, she still hasn’t figured everything out — except that you should always wash your face before bed. Always.


 



One More Thing: Stories and Other Stories
by B.J. Novak
One More Thing: Stories and Other Stories

From an actor, writer, and director of the hit TV comedy The Office (US version): a story collection that was "workshopped" at comedy clubs and bookstores on both coasts.

B. J. Novak's One More Thing: Stories and Other Stories is an endlessly entertaining, surprisingly sensitive, and startlingly original debut collection that signals the arrival of a welcome new voice in American fiction.

Across a dazzling range of subjects, themes, tones, and narrative voices, Novak's assured prose and expansive imagination introduce readers to people, places, and premises that are hilarious, insightful, provocative, and moving-often at the same time.

In One More Thing, a boy wins a $100, 000 prize in a box of Frosted Flakes — only to discover that claiming the winnings may unravel his family. A woman sets out to seduce motivational speaker Tony Robbins — turning for help to the famed motivator himself. A school principal unveils a bold plan to permanently abolish arithmetic. An acclaimed ambulance driver seeks the courage to follow his heart and throw it all away to be a singer-songwriter. Author John Grisham contemplates a monumental typo. A new arrival in heaven, overwhelmed by infinite options, procrastinates over his long-ago promise to visit his grandmother. We meet a vengeance-minded hare, obsessed with scoring a rematch against the tortoise who ruined his life; and post-college friends who debate how to stage an intervention in the era of Facebook. We learn why wearing a red t-shirt every day is the key to finding love; how February got its name; and why the stock market is sometimes just… down.

Finding inspiration in questions from the nature of perfection to the icing on carrot cake, from the deeply familiar to the intoxicatingly imaginative, One More Thing finds its heart in the most human of phenomena: love, fear, family, ambition, and the inner stirring for the one elusive element that might make a person complete. The stories in this collection are like nothing else, but they have one thing in common: they share the playful humor, deep heart, inquisitive mind, and altogether electrifying spirit of a writer with a fierce devotion to the entertainment of the reader.


 



The Accidental Universe: The World You Thought You Knew
by Alan Lightman
The Accidental Universe: The World You Thought You Knew

From the acclaimed author of Einstein's Dreams and Mr g, a meditation on the unexpected ways in which recent scientific findings have shaped our understanding of ourselves and our place in the cosmos.

With all the passion, curiosity, and precise yet lyrical prose that have marked his previous books, Alan Lightman here explores the emotional and philosophical questions raised by discoveries in science, focusing most intently on the human condition and the needs of humankind. He looks at the difficult dialogue between science and religion; the conflict between our human desire for permanence and the impermanence of nature; the possibility that our universe is simply an accident; the manner in which modern technology has separated us from direct experience of the world; and our resistance to the view that our bodies and minds can be explained by scientific logic and laws. And behind all of these considerations is the suggestion — at once haunting and exhilarating — that what we see and understand of the world is only a tiny piece of the extraordinary, perhaps unfathomable whole.


 



How To Be a Heroine
by Samantha Ellis
How To Be a Heroine

While debating literature’s greatest heroines with her best friend, thirtysomething playwright Samantha Ellis has a revelation — her whole life, she's been trying to be Cathy Earnshaw of Wuthering Heights when she should have been trying to be Jane Eyre.

With this discovery, she embarks on a retrospective look at the literary ladies — the characters and the writers — whom she has loved since childhood. From early obsessions with the March sisters to her later idolization of Sylvia Plath, Ellis evaluates how her heroines stack up today. And, just as she excavates the stories of her favorite characters, Ellis also shares a frank, often humorous account of her own life growing up in a tight-knit Iraqi Jewish community in London. Here a life-long reader explores how heroines shape all our lives.


 



Poetry, Language, Thought
by Martin Heidegger
Poetry, Language, Thought

Poetry, Language, Thought collects Martin Heidegger's pivotal writings on art, its role in human life and culture, and its relationship to thinking and truth. Essential reading for students and anyone interested in the great philosophers, this book opens up appreciation of Heidegger beyond the study of philosophy to the reaches of poetry and our fundamental relationship to the world. Featuring "The Origin of the Work of Art, " a milestone in Heidegger's canon, this enduring volume provides potent, accessible entry to one of the most brilliant thinkers of modern times.


 



Ten Years in the Tub: A Decade Soaking in Great Books
by Nick Hornby
Ten Years in the Tub: A Decade Soaking in Great Books

At the end of 2003, as the first issue of The Believer was rising from the primordial ooze, Nick Hornby turned in the inaugural installment of a monthly column that immediately became a reader favorite. For the next ten years, Hornby’s incandescently funny "Stuff I’ve Been Reading” chronicled a singular reading life — one that is measured not just in "books bought” and "books read,” as each column begins, but in the way our feelings toward Celine Dion say a lot about who we are, the way Body Shop Vanilla Shower Gel can add excitement to our days, and the way John Updike might ruin our sex lives. Hornby’s column is both an impeccable, wide-ranging reading list and an indispensable reminder of why we read.


 



This is the Story of a Happy Marriage
by Ann Patchett
This is the Story of a Happy Marriage

 A Globe & Mail 100 Selection

The New York Times bestselling author of State of Wonder, Run, and Bel Canto creates a resonant portrait of a life in this collection of writings on love, friendship, work, and art.

"The tricky thing about being a writer, or about being any kind of artist, is that in addition to making art you also have to make a living."

So begins This Is the Story of a Happy Marriage, an examination of the things Ann Patchett is fully committed to — the art and craft of writing, the depths of friendship, an elderly dog, and one spectacular nun. Writing nonfiction, which started off as a means of keeping her insufficiently lucrative fiction afloat, evolved over time to be its own kind of art, the art of telling the truth as opposed to the art of making things up. Bringing her narrative gifts to bear on her own life, Patchett uses insight and compassion to turn very personal experiences into stories that will resonate with every reader.

These essays twine to create both a portrait of life and a philosophy of life. Obstacles that at first appear insurmountable — scaling a six-foot wall in order to join the Los Angeles Police Department, opening an independent bookstore, and sitting down to write a novel — are eventually mastered with quiet tenacity and a sheer force of will. The actual happy marriage, which was the one thing she felt she wasn't capable of, ultimately proves to be a metaphor as well as a fact: Patchett has devoted her life to the people and ideals she loves the most.

An irresistible blend of literature and memoir, This Is the Story of a Happy Marriage is a unique examination of the heart, mind, and soul of one of our most revered and gifted writers.


 



White Girls
by Hilton Als
White Girls

White Girls, Hilton Als’s first book since The Women fourteen years ago, finds one of The New Yorker's boldest cultural critics deftly weaving together his brilliant analyses of literature, art, and music with fearless insights on race, gender, and history. The result is an extraordinary, complex portrait of "white girls, " as Als dubs them — an expansive but precise category that encompasses figures as diverse as Truman Capote and Louise Brooks, Malcolm X and Flannery O’Connor. In pieces that hairpin between critique and meditation, fiction and nonfiction, high culture and low, the theoretical and the deeply personal, Als presents a stunning portrait of a writer by way of his subjects, and an invaluable guide to the culture of our time.


 



Mother. Wife. Sister. Human. Warrior. Falcon. Yardstick. Turban. Cabbage.
by Rob Delaney
Mother. Wife. Sister. Human. Warrior. Falcon. Yardstick. Turban. Cabbage.

Who is that hairy guy in the green Speedo?
Rob Delaney is a father, a husband, a comedian, a writer. He is the author of an endless stream of beautiful, insane jokes on Twitter. He is sober. He is sometimes brave. He speaks French. He loves women with abundant pubic hair and saggy naturals. He has bungee jumped off of the Manhattan Bridge. He enjoys antagonizing political figures. He listens to metal while he works out. He likes to fart. He broke into an abandoned mental hospital with his mother. He played Sir Lancelot in Camelot. He has battled depression. He is funny as s***. He cleans up well. He is friends with Margaret Atwood. He is lucky to be alive.
Read these hilarious and heartbreaking true stories and learn how Rob came to be the man he is today.


 



The Thurber Carnival
by James Thurber, Michael J. Rosen
The Thurber Carnival

James Thurber was one of the finest humorists of the twentieth century (and a crack cartoonist to boot). A bestseller upon its initial publication in 1945, The Thurber Carnival captures the depth of his talent and the breadth of his wit. The stories compiled here, almost all of which first appeared in The New Yorker, are from his uproarious and candid collection My World and Welcome to It — including the American classic "The Secret Life of Walter Mitty" — as well as from The Owl in the Attic, The Seal in the Bathroom, and Men, Women and Dogs.


 



Paddle Your Own Canoe: One Man's Fundamentals for Delicious Living
by Nick Offerman
Paddle Your Own Canoe: One Man's Fundamentals for Delicious Living

Parks and Recreation actor Nick Offerman shares his humorous fulminations on life, manliness, meat, and much more in his first book.

Growing a perfect moustache, grilling red meat, wooing a woman — who better to deliver this tutelage than the always charming, always manly Nick Offerman, best known as Parks and Recreation’s Ron Swanson?  Combining his trademark comic voice and very real expertise in woodworking — he runs his own woodshop — Paddle Your Own Canoe features tales from Offerman’s childhood in small-town Minooka, Illinois — “I grew up literally in the middle of a cornfield” — to his theater days in Chicago, beginnings as a carpenter/actor and the hilarious and magnificent seduction of his now-wife Megan Mullally.    It also offers hard-bitten battle strategies in the arenas of manliness, love, style, religion, woodworking, and outdoor recreation, among many other savory entrees.

A mix of amusing anecdotes, opinionated lessons and rants, sprinkled with offbeat gaiety,  Paddle Your Own Canoe will not only tickle readers pink but may also rouse them to put down their smart phones, study a few sycamore leaves, and maybe even hand craft (and paddle) their own canoes.


 



An American Childhood
by Annie Dillard
An American Childhood
Sorry, no description about this book. :(

 



Dog Songs
by Mary Oliver, John Burgoyne
Dog Songs

A collection of new and favorite poems, celebrating the dogs that have enriched the poet’s world

Beloved by her readers, special to the poet’s own heart, Mary Oliver’s dog poems offer a special window into her world. Dog Songs collects some of the most cherished poems together with new works, offering a portrait of Oliver’s relationship to the companions that have accompanied her daily walks, warmed her home, and inspired her work. To be illustrated with images of the dogs themselves, the subjects will come to colorful life here.

These are poems of love and laughter, heartbreak and grief. In these pages we visit with old friends, including Oliver’s well-loved Percy, and meet still others. Throughout, the many dogs of Oliver’s life emerge as fellow travelers, but also as guides, spirits capable of opening our eyes to the lessons of the moment and the joys of nature and connection.

Dog Songs is a testament to the power and depth of the human-animal exchange, from an observer of extraordinary vision.


 



Levels of Life
by Julian Barnes
Levels of Life

Part history, part fiction, part memoir,  Levels of Life is a powerfully personal and unforgettable book, and an immediate classic on the subject of grief.

Levels of Life opens in the nineteenth century with balloonists, photographers, and Sarah Bernhardt, whose adventures lead seamlessly into an entirely personal account of the author's own great loss.

"You put together two things that have not been put together before. And the world is changed… " Julian Barnes's new book is about ballooning, photography, love and grief; about putting two things, and two people, together, and about tearing them apart.


 



I Wear the Black Hat: Grappling With Villains (Real and Imagined)
by Chuck Klosterman
I Wear the Black Hat: Grappling With Villains (Real and Imagined)

One-of-a-kind cultural critic and New York Times bestselling author Chuck Klosterman “offers up great facts, interesting cultural insights, and thought-provoking moral calculations in this look at our love affair with the anti-hero” (New York magazine).

Chuck Klosterman, “The Ethicist” for The New York Times Magazine, has walked into the darkness. In I Wear the Black Hat, he questions the modern understanding of villainy. When we classify someone as a bad person, what are we really saying, and why are we so obsessed with saying it? How does the culture of malevolence operate? What was so Machiavellian about Machiavelli? Why don’t we see Bernhard Goetz the same way we see Batman? Who is more worthy of our vitriol — Bill Clinton or Don Henley? What was O. J. Simpson’s second-worst decision? And why is Klosterman still haunted by some kid he knew for one week in 1985?

Masterfully blending cultural analysis with self-interrogation and imaginative hypotheticals, I Wear the Black Hat delivers perceptive observations on the complexity of the antihero (seemingly the only kind of hero America still creates). As the Los Angeles Times notes: “By underscoring the contradictory, often knee-jerk ways we encounter the heroes and villains of our culture, Klosterman illustrates the passionate but incomplete computations that have come to define American culture — and maybe even American morality.” I Wear the Black Hat is a rare example of serious criticism that’s instantly accessible and really, really funny.


 






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