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Find famous literary essays that have had a lasting impact at Book People. We have literary writings from some of the most influential authors of all time.

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Literary Essays

  • Little Weirds

    Jenny Slate

    Product Code: CBXQX
    Hardback
    'Magical' - Mindy Kaling 'Delicious' - Amy Sedaris 'Funny and poignant and beautiful' - John Mulaney 'It made me remember I was alive' - George Saunders To see the world through Jenny Slate's eyes is to see it as though for the first time, shimmering with strangeness and possibility. As she will remind you, we live on an ancient ball that rotates around a bigger ball made up of lights and gases that are science gases, not farts (don't be immature). Heartbreak, confusion and misogyny stalk this blue-green sphere, yes, but it is also a place of wild delight and unconstrained vitality, a place where we can start living as soon as we are born, and we can be born at any time. In her dazzling, impossible-to-categorize debut, Jenny channels the pain and beauty of life in writing so fresh, so new and so burstingly alive, we catch her vision like a fever and bring it back out into the bright day with us, and everything has changed.
    • £13.59
    • RRP £16.99
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  • Essays

    Lydia Davis

    Product Code: CBRCT
    Hardback
    From the International Man Booker Prize-winning author of Can't and Won't and The End of the Story - a crystalline collection of literary essays for fans of Susan Sontag and Joan Didion 'She's a joy. There's no writer quite like her' Ali Smith 'Among my most favourite writers. Read her now!' A. M. Homes The visionary, fearless Lydia Davis presents a dazzling collection of essays on reading and writing, exploring the full scope of possibility within existing forms of literature and considering how we might challenge and reinvent these forms. Through Thomas Pynchon, Michel Leiris, Maurice Blanchot, Lucia Berlin, Joan Mitchell and others, he author considers her many creative influences. And, through these lenses, she returns to her own writing process, her relationship to language and the written word. Beautifully formed, thought-provoking, playful and illuminating, these pieces are a masterclass in reading and writing.
    • £16.00
    • RRP £20.00
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  • Think, Write, Speak

    Vladimir Nabokov

    Product Code: CBQVU
    Hardback
    The last major collection of Nabokov's published material, Think, Write, Speak brings together a treasure trove of previously uncollected texts from across the author's extraordinary career. Each phase of his wandering life is included, from a precocious essay written while still at Cambridge in 1921, through his fame in the aftermath of the publication of Lolita to the final, fascinating interviews given shortly before his death in 1977. Introduced and edited by his biographer Brian Boyd, this is an essential work for anyone who has been drawn into Nabokov's literary orbit. Here he is at his most inspirational, curious, misleading and caustic. The seriousness of his aesthetic credo, his passion for great writing and his mix of delight and dismay at his own, sudden global fame in the 1950s are all brilliantly delineated here.
    • £20.00
    • RRP £25.00
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  • Axiomatic

    Maria Tumarkin

    Product Code: CBPIX
    Paperback
    How to speak of the searing, unpindownable power that the past - ours, our family's, our culture's - wields in the present? In five long sections, Maria Tumarkin's AXIOMATIC tells true and intimate stories of a community dealing with the extended aftermath of a suicide, a grandmother's quest to kidnap her grandson to keep him safe, one community lawyer's battle inside and against the justice system, the effects of multi-generational trauma, and the history of the author's longest friendship. In writing that is inventive, bold, and generous, AXIOMATIC is a brilliantly inventive exploration of the forces that shape our culture.
    • £10.39
    • RRP £12.99
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  • JGV

    Jean-Georges Vongerichten

    Product Code: CBIVC
    Hardback
    Born into a coal-business family in Alsace, Jean-Georges Vongerichten left school at fifteen. He didn't enrol at a top culinary programme but he was apprenticed with renowned chefs, opened restaurants across the world and has cemented his legacy in the New York City food scene. In JGV, with passion, humour and heart, Vongerichten tells the story of his mother's goose stew and of his first taste of tom yum kung soup. With recipes, every story is full of wisdom, conveyed with the magnanimity and precision that has made this chef's name. Including old handwritten menus and black-and-white photographs throughout, this is a book for young chefs as well as anyone who has stood at a stove and wondered what might be.
  • The Richer, The Poorer

    Dorothy West

    Product Code: BZIEU
    Paperback
    An incredible collection of writing - both essays and short stories - spanning the long career of Dorothy West. Includes a new introduction by Diana Evans. 'West's work is timelessly cinematic, with painterly visual descriptions and pitch-perfect dialogue that ranges across class, region, race, age, and gender' Emma Garman, Paris Review The stories contained here are as American as jazz, and as wise and multifaceted as their writer. Dorothy West's metier is the unique crucible in which America places its black middle class, but her themes are universal: the daily misunderstandings between young and old, men and women, rich and poor that can lead to tragedy; and the ways in which bonds of family and community can bring us together, and tear us asunder. Dorothy West's autobiographical essays explore the poles of her remarkable life - from growing up black and middle-class in Boston to her near-mythic trip to Moscow in 1933 with Langston Hughes and other Harlem Renaissance writers to life on her beloved Martha's Vineyard. They cohere into a beautiful and poignant memoir of a singular American life, a memoir that communicates with her short stories in a host of fertile ways. Taken as a whole, The Richer, The Poorer is a triumphant celebration of the long life and work of one of America's genuine treasures.
    • £7.19
    • RRP £8.99
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