Reviews and Blog Posts: essays

Falling into place : an intimate geography of home

by Catherine Reid

Reviewer Rating:
4

A lovely book of essays that examine our connection to nature, the cycle of the seasons, and the meaning of home. Reid writes about the natural landscape and her inner landscape with equal attention to deal and joy at discovery. A beautiful book to delve into if you're missing natural...

Personalized Reading Lists: Marriage Stories

For the librarians on the Personalized Reading List team, making custom lists is one of the best parts of our job! We've been going strong for over a year now and, to date, we've completed over 400 personalized lists for our customers. Each list is unique, consisting of titles hand-selected by a librarian based on that customer's preferences. If you haven't requested your list yet, we want you to know what you're missing! Each month in this new column, we'll feature a recently-created list to give you a taste of what to expect from this new service.

What I talk about when I talk about running a memoir

by Haruki Murakami

Reviewer Rating:
5

I first picked up this book a couple of years ago when I had gotten back into running, but for one reason or another I didn’t get past the first couple of chapters. This time around, I was stuck on an interminable bus ride, and had no choice but to...

Manage your day-to-day : build your routine, find your focus, and sharpen your creative mind

Reviewer Rating:
5

A great collection of essays from an amazing collection of creative minds. Some of my favorites were: Scheduling in Time for Creative Thinking - Cal Newport; Making E-mail Matter - Aaron Dignan; and Letting Go of Perfectionism - Elizabeth Grace Saunders. However, there are so many interesting and provocative tidbits...

Knitting yarns : writers on knitting

Reviewer Rating:
4

From the sinister patterns of tricoteuse Madame Defarge to the whimsy and caprice of today’s yarn bombings, knitting has long been a part of our culture.  The 21st century has seen a resurgence of this ancient craft worldwide.  Bestselling book author Ann Hood is editor of Knitting Yarns: Writers on...

Someone could get hurt : a memoir of twenty-first-century parenthood

by Drew Magary

Reviewer Rating:
4

I teared up both from Magary's hilarious storytelling and his ability to convey the sincere love and fear that comes with parenting.  Magary captures what it feels like to be a parent of young children with brutal honesty and humility.  His stories about sleep-deprived delirium, secret parenting competitions, the ridiculous things you...

Dad is fat

by Jim Gaffigan

Reviewer Rating:
3

Funny, funny! I enjoyed reading about parenting from a Dad who makes fun of himself. Gaffigan knows how to tell a story as if you were right there when his kid peed in the pool.  If you come from a large family, are a parent or even wiled away the...

The best American nonrequired reading 2012

by Edited by Dave Eggers

Reviewer Rating:
4

A mix of short stories, essays, magazine articles, and online resources, the 2012 edition also includes meeting minutes from various Occupy movements across the country.  Some of the more familiar authors in this edition are Sherman Alexie, Junot Díaz, Louise Erdrich, Jon Ronson, and Jess Walter.  All of the material...

The Beauty of Short Works

In Persuasion Nation by George Saunders

I naively used to think that writers of short stories and essays simply didn't have enough good material to fill a traditional book. Fortunately some great teachers, and exposure to some of the best writers in the field, showed me the incredible art of short form writing.

The beauty of short works has become even more apparent as I've read too many books lately where I'm left feeling like a shorter essay or short story would've been more powerful. Often (like my college papers) they had a few great things to say but had used filler to make it fit a length requirement. As print magazines, the previous bastion of short form, are shutting their doors, I'm encouraged to see new outlets such as Kindle Singles and Ted Talks remind people that brevity can be a virtue.

The Brokeback book : from story to cultural phenomenon

by William R. Handley, editor

Reviewer Rating:
4

Annie Proulx may have written the short story but Ang Lee started a national discussion.  The film Brokeback Mountain has been analyzed, parodied, and memorialized from the blogsphere to Saturday Night Live.  You don't need to be a film historian to appreciate the essays but seeing the film first is a...

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