I’ve been on an essay kick. Joan Didion and some serious gloom finally kicked me out of it, but it was fun while it lasted.
In order of the average length of the essays, here are three books of essays I read I recently that I think will be worth trying.
Reality Hunger by David Shields
Chapter 4 should be required reading for anyone writing memoir. This is a book I know I’ll read again. I can’t say that very often.
The Book of Disquiet by Fernando Pessoa
The sometimes chilling, sometimes exhilarating, sometimes confusing, and always entertaining ramblings of a Portuguese poet. It’s not a quick, easy read, but it’s a rewarding one.
Life Sentences by William H. Gass
Maybe the best essay on lust that I’ve ever read appears in this book. It’s called “Lust.” Gass is brilliant without ever feeling pretentious to me. He makes some good sentences, that he does.
Recent Honorable mentions:
Thank God for the Atom Bomb by Paul Fussell
John Cheever’s Journals
The Disappointment Artist by Jonathem Lethem