Must-read Essay Collections

Take a break from all of our wonderful fiction offerings, and take a look at these varied, engaging works from all different perspectives.  

Bad Feminist by Roxanne Gay
Gay gave a TED talk in relation to this book and sparked a huge national conversation about divisions in feminism, intersectionality, and what it means to be a feminist in America today. Her writing is pointed, funny, and brutally honest.
Me Talk Pretty One Day by David Sedaris
Author of the recent hit Theft by Finding, Sedaris presents a collection of some of his strongest work, including reflections on living abroad and an ill-advised attempt to learn French.  He writes about ordinary, everyday things and manages to make them interesting through his keen wit. 
Consider the Lobster by David Foster Wallace
One of the most brilliant essayists of all time, Wallace pushes the boundaries (of the form, of our patience, of his own brain) and comes back with a classic collection of writing on everything from John Updike to, well, lobsters. You’ll laugh out loud right before you rethink your whole life. And then repeat.
Upstream by Mary Oliver
Some of the most memorable essays in recent years have come from the minds of poets, and this collection from Mary Oliver looks to be no exception. Like her poetry, the focus here is on the natural world, with nods to questions of place and the literary legacy in which her work often falls (Walt Whitman is just one of the figures alluded to).
View From the Cheap Seats by Neil Gaiman
This volume collects a host of Neil Gaiman’s nonfiction, written over the course of several decades. The topics are varied, from the ways in which he developed his love of reading as a child to the process by which he came up with the ideas for books like Stardust and American Gods.  It’s a powerful and charming guide to one author’s literary life. 
Known and Strange Things by Teju Cole
This book contains more than 50 essays on literature, photography, travel, and more. Cole’s voice is both intellectual and engaging; his insights into the world — its politics, art, and culture — illuminate modern-day life.