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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

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.

  • Notes on Camp

    Susan Sontag

    Product Code: BMGZE
    Paperback
    'The ultimate Camp statement: it's good because it's awful.'These two classic essays were the first works of criticism to break down the boundaries between 'high' and 'low' culture, and made Susan Sontag a literary sensation.Penguin Modern: fifty new books celebrating the pioneering spirit of the iconic Penguin Modern Classics series, with each one offering a concentrated hit of its contemporary, international flavour. Here are authors ranging from Kathy Acker to James Baldwin, Truman Capote to Stanislaw Lem and George Orwell to Shirley Jackson; essays radical and inspiring; poems moving and disturbing; stories surreal and fabulous; taking us from the deep South to modern Japan, New York's underground scene to the farthest reaches of outer space.
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  • Fame

    Andy Warhol

    Product Code: BMGWO
    Paperback
    'Good b.o means good "box office." You can smell it from a mile away'The legendary sixties New York pop artist Andy Warhol's hilarious and insightful vignettes and aphorisms on the topics of love, fame and beauty.Penguin Modern: fifty new books celebrating the pioneering spirit of the iconic Penguin Modern Classics series, with each one offering a concentrated hit of its contemporary, international flavour. Here are authors ranging from Kathy Acker to James Baldwin, Truman Capote to Stanislaw Lem and George Orwell to Shirley Jackson; essays radical and inspiring; poems moving and disturbing; stories surreal and fabulous; taking us from the deep South to modern Japan, New York's underground scene to the farthest reaches of outer space.
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  • We Should All be Feminists

    Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie

    Product Code: ALJOY
    Paperback
    A personal and powerful essay from Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, the bestselling author of 'Americanah' and 'Half of a Yellow Sun', based on her 2013 TEDx Talk of the same name. What does "feminism" mean today? That is the question at the heart of We Should All Be Feminists, a personal, eloquently-argued essay - adapted from her much-viewed Tedx talk of the same name - by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, the award-winning author of 'Americanah' and 'Half of a Yellow Sun'. With humour and levity, here Adichie offers readers a unique definition of feminism for the twenty-first century - one rooted in inclusion and awareness. She shines a light not only on blatant discrimination, but also the more insidious, institutional behaviours that marginalise women around the world, in order to help readers of all walks of life better understand the often masked realities of sexual politics. Throughout, she draws extensively on her own experiences - in the U.S., in her native Nigeria - offering an artfully nuanced explanation of why the gender divide is harmful for women and men, alike. Argued in the same observant, witty and clever prose that has made Adichie a best-selling novelist, here is one remarkable author's exploration of what it means to be a woman today - and an of-the-moment rallying cry for why we should all be feminists.
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  • The Cost of Living

    Deborah Levy

    Product Code: BUGFJ
    Paperback
    From the twice-Man Booker Prize-shortlisted author of Hot Milk and Swimming Home : Dazzling, essential, entirely unlike anything else -- a memoir on modern womanhood, rejecting oppressive social expectations and turning instead towards a thrilling, transformative freedom What does it mean to be free - as an artist, a woman, a mother or daughter? And what is the price of that freedom? In this dazzling memoir, Deborah Levy confronts the essential questions of modern womanhood with humour, pragmatism, and profoundly resonant wisdom. Reflecting on the period when she wrote the Man Booker Prize-shortlisted Hot Milk - when her mother was dying, her daughters were leaving home, her marriage was coming to an end - she is characteristically eloquent on the social expectations and surreal realities of daily life. And expanding far beyond these bounds, she describes a uniquely frank, wise and thrilling manifesto for female experience: embracing the exhilarating terror of freedom, seeking to understand what that freedom could mean and how it might feel.
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  • A Cup of Sake Beneath the Cherry Trees

    Yoshida Kenko

    Product Code: AZVNN
    Paperback
    'It is a most wonderful comfort to sit alone beneath a lamp, book spread before you, and commune with someone from the past whom you have never met...' Moonlight, sake, spring blossom, idle moments, a woman's hair - these exquisite reflections on life's fleeting pleasures by a thirteenth-century Japanese monk are delicately attuned to nature and the senses. Introducing Little Black Classics: 80 books for Penguin's 80th birthday. Little Black Classics celebrate the huge range and diversity of Penguin Classics, with books from around the world and across many centuries. They take us from a balloon ride over Victorian London to a garden of blossom in Japan, from Tierra del Fuego to 16th-century California and the Russian steppe. Here are stories lyrical and savage; poems epic and intimate; essays satirical and inspirational; and ideas that have shaped the lives of millions. Yoshida Kenko (c. 1283-1352). Kenko's work is included in Penguin Classics in Essays in Idleness and Hojoki.
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  • How Not to be a Doctor

    John Launer

    Product Code: BYYPE
    Paperback
    How Not to Be A Doctor contains a selection of essays by John Launer, doctor and medical columnist, on the practice and teaching of medicine. Taken together, they set out an argument that being a doctor - a real doctor - should mean drawing on every aspect of yourself, your interests and your experiences, no matter how remote they seem from the medical task at hand. Originating from the popular columns Launer has written for medical journals over his career, How Not to be a Doctor includes over fifty essays covering a range of topics including music, poetry, literature, and psychoanalysis, as well as contemporary medical politics and the personal experiences of being a doctor. From lessons on what they don't teach you in medical school to the author's poignant account of being a patient himself as he received treatment for a life-threatening illness, the essays in How Not to Be a Doctor combine erudition with humour, candour, and the human touch that will inform and entertain readers on both ends of the stethoscope.
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  • Figures in a Landscape

    Paul Theroux

    Product Code: BPNMF
    Hardback
    The Sunday Times bestseller Paul Theroux collects a rich feast of his writing and essays - from travel to personal memoir - published all together here for the first time Drawing together a fascinating body of writing from over 14 years of work, Figures in a Landscape ranges from profiles of cultural icons (Oliver Sacks, Elizabeth Taylor, Robin Williams) to intimate personal remembrances; from thrilling adventures in Africa to literary writings from Theroux's rich and expansive personal reading. Collectively these pieces offer a fascinating portrait of the author himself, his extraordinary life, restless and ever-curious mind.
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  • Create Dangerously

    Albert Camus

    Product Code: BMHGL
    Paperback
    'To create today is to create dangerously. Any publication is an act, and that act exposes one to the passions of an age that forgives nothing'Camus's powerful lecture, as relevant today as ever, argues against 'art for art's sake', while his Nobel Prize speech brilliantly sets out his vision of the artist's role and responsibilities.Penguin Modern: fifty new books celebrating the pioneering spirit of the iconic Penguin Modern Classics series, with each one offering a concentrated hit of its contemporary, international flavour. Here are authors ranging from Kathy Acker to James Baldwin, Truman Capote to Stanislaw Lem and George Orwell to Shirley Jackson; essays radical and inspiring; poems moving and disturbing; stories surreal and fabulous; taking us from the deep South to modern Japan, New York's underground scene to the farthest reaches of outer space.
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  • Second-Hand Time

    Svetlana Alexievich

    Product Code: ATIHE
    Paperback
    Shortlisted for the Baillie Gifford Prize, Second-hand Time is the latest work from Svetlana Alexievich, winner of the 2015 Nobel Prize in Literature for inventing 'a new kind of literary genre'.

    Here she brings together the voices of dozens of witnesses to the collapse of the USSR in a formidable attempt to chart the disappearance of a culture and to surmise what new kind of man may emerge from the rubble.

    Fashioning a singular, polyphonic literary form by combining extended individual monologues with a collage of voices, Alexievich creates a magnificent requiem to a civilization in ruins, a brilliant, poignant and unique portrait of post-Soviet society out of the stories of ordinary women and men.
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  • Time Lived, Without Its Flow

    Denise Riley

    Product Code: CAWXJ
    Hardback
    'I work to earth my heart.' Time Lived, Without Its Flow is an astonishing, unflinching essay on the nature of grief from critically acclaimed poet Denise Riley. From the horrific experience of maternal grief Riley wrote her lauded collection Say Something Back, a modern classic of British poetry. This essay is a companion piece to that work, looking at the way time stops when we lose someone suddenly from our lives. The first half is formed of diary-like entries written by Riley after the news of her son's death, the entries building to paint a live portrait of loss. The second half is a ruminative post script written some years later with Riley looking back at the experience philosophically and attempting to map through it a literature of consolation. Written in precise and exacting prose, with remarkable insight and grace this book will form kind counsel to all those living on in the wake of grief. A modern-day counterpart to C. S. Lewis's A Grief Observed. Published widely for the first time, this revised edition features a special introduction by Max Porter, author of Grief is A Thing With Feathers. 'Her writing is perfectly weighted, justifies its existence' - Guardian
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  • March of the Lemmings

    Stewart Lee

    Product Code: BZPUH
    Paperback
    As a Metropolitan Elitist Snowflake, Stewart Lee was disappointed by the Brexit referendum result of 2016. But he knew how to weaponise his inconvenience. He would treat all his subsequent writing, until we left the EU, as interrelated episodes of a complete work. The cast of characters include Lemming-obsessed Michael Gove, violent tanning-salon entrepreneur Tommy Robinson and Boris Piccaninny Watermelon Bumboys Letterbox Cake Disaster Weightloss Haircut Bullshit Johnson. A dramatic chorus is made up of online commenters and Kremlin bots. And Lee himself would play the defeated, unreliable narrator-hero, whose resolve and tolerance would gradually unravel as the horror show dragged on. Until the 29 March, 2019, when it would all definitely be over. Drawing on three years of newspaper columns, a complete transcript of the Content Provider stand-up show, and Lee's caustic footnote commentary, March of the Lemmings is the scathing, riotous record the Brexit era deserves.
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  • Trick Mirror

    Jia Tolentino

    Product Code: BYWEG
    Hardback
    From one of the brightest young chroniclers of US culture comes this dazzling collection of essays on the internet, the self, feminism and politics We are living in the era of the self, in an era of malleable truth and widespread personal and political delusion. In these nine interlinked essays, Jia Tolentino, the New Yorker's brightest young talent, explores her own coming of age in this warped and confusing landscape. From the rise of the internet to her own appearance on an early reality TV show; from her experiences of ecstasy - both religious and chemical - to her uneasy engagement with our culture's endless drive towards `self-optimisation'; from the phenomenon of the successful American scammer to her generation's obsession with extravagant weddings, Jia Tolentino writes with style, humour and a fierce clarity about these strangest of times. Following in the footsteps of American luminaries such as Susan Sontag, Joan Didion and Rebecca Solnit, yet with a voice and vision all her own, Jia Tolentino writes with a rare gift for elucidating nuance and complexity, coupled with a disarming warmth. This debut collection of her essays announces her as exactly the sort of voice we need to hear from right now - and for many years to come.
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  • A Room of One's Own

    Virginia Woolf

    Product Code: BXYWV
    Paperback
    A Room of One's Own, based on a lecture given at Girton College, Cambridge, is one of the great feminist polemics, ranging in its themes from Jane Austen and Carlotte Bronte to the silent fate of Shakespeare's gifted (imaginary) sister and the effects of poverty and sexual constraint on female creativity. Virginia Woolf (1882-1941) is regarded as a major 20th century author and essayist, a key figure in literary history as a feminist and modernist, and the centre of 'The Bloomsbury Group'. This informal collective of artists and writers which included Lytton Strachey and Roger Fry, exerted a powerful influence over early twentieth-century British culture. Between 1925 and 1931 Virginia Woolf produced what are now regarded as her finest masterpieces, from Mrs Dalloway (1925) to the poetic and highly experimental novel The Waves (1931). She also maintained an astonishing output of literary criticism, short fiction, journalism and biography, including the playfully subversive Orlando (1928) and A Room of One's Own (1929) a passionate feminist essay. If you enjoyed A Room of One's Own, you might like Woolf's Orlando, also available in Penguin Modern Classics. 'Probably the most influential piece of non-fictional writing by a woman in this century' Hermione Lee, Financial Times
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  • Notes to Self

    Emilie Pine

    Product Code: BXYWP
    Paperback
    The extraordinary #1 bestseller - a word-of-mouth literary phenomenon 'Do not read this book in public: it will make you cry' Anne Enright 'Every line pulses with the pain and joy and complexity of an extraordinary life' Mark O'Connell 'I am afraid of being the disruptive woman. And of not being disruptive enough. I am afraid. But I am doing it anyway.' In this dazzling debut, Emilie Pine speaks to the business of living as a woman in the 21st century - its extraordinary pain and its extraordinary joy. Courageous, humane and uncompromising, she writes with radical honesty on birth and death, on the grief of infertility, on caring for her alcoholic father, on taboos around female bodies and female pain, on sexual violence and violence against the self. Devastatingly poignant and profoundly wise - and joyful against the odds - Notes to Self offers a portrait not just of its author but of a whole generation.
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  • Well-Read Black Girl

    Glory Edim

    Product Code: BWILS
    Hardback
    Remember that moment when you first encountered a character who seemed to be written just for you? That feeling of belonging remains with readers the rest of their lives - but not everyone regularly sees themselves reflected on the pages of a book. In this timely anthology, Glory Edim, founder of the online community, WELL-READ BLACK GIRL, brings together original essays by some of America's best black women writers to shine a light on how important it is that we all - regardless of gender, race, religion, or ability - have the opportunity to find ourselves in literature. Whether it's learning about the complexities of femalehood from Zora Neale Hurston and Toni Morrison, finding a new type of love in THE COLOR PURPLE, or using mythology to craft an alternative black future, each essay reminds us why we turn to books in times of both struggle and relaxation. As she has done with her book club-turned-online community, Edim has created a space where black women's writing, knowledge and life experiences are lifted up, to be shared with all readers who value the power of a story to help us understand the world, and ourselves. Contributors include: Jesmyn Ward (SING, UNBURIED, SING), Lynn Nottage (SWEAT), Jacqueline Woodson (ANOTHER BROOKLYN), Gabourey Sidibe (THIS IS JUST MY FACE), Morgan Jerkins (THIS WILL BE MY UNDOING), Tayari Jones (AN AMERICAN MARRIAGE), Rebecca Walker (BLACK, WHITE AND JEWISH), and Barbara Smith (HOME GIRLS: A BLACK FEMINIST ANTHOLOGY).
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  • Delight

    JB Priestley

    Product Code: BUUDH
    Hardback
    In the years following the Second World War, there didn't seem much to smile about, but as JB Priestley illustrated in the classic 1949 Delight, there are many joys to be found in even the simplest things. This charming book comprises a series of short essays, which all depict a simple pleasure - the smallest things in life that Priestley delighted in at that bleak time - a notion that chimes perfectly with the current national mood. Just some of the simple things Priestley enjoyed include; fountains; a walk in a pine wood; a new box of matches; Sunday papers in the country; reading in bed about foul weather; suddenly doing nothing and waking to smell bacon. A very personal book, it is superbly written and very readable with Priestley's sense of humour and literary flare in evidence on every page. Each self-contained essay is a joy to read and will no doubt bring a little `delight' to the reader - just as Priestley originally intended seventy years ago. In `timeless mornings' Priestley muses, `There is one kind of morning in early summer that is for me very special, the most delightful of all mornings. The sun is up and blazing somewhere but not visible yet down here, where there is a lot of gold mist about and the birds are singing from lost thickets.' The new 70th anniversary edition of Delight contains the full, unabridged text of over one hundred of Priestley's personal joys and pleasures, and includes an introduction written by Priestley's son, Tom. It will be beautifully designed and printed, making an ideal gift book.
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  • My Squirrel Days

    Ellie Kemper

    Product Code: BRYQW
    Hardback
    'Ellie Kemper is the kind of stable, intelligent, funny, healthy woman that usually only exists in yogurt commercials. But she's real and she's all ours!' TINA FEY 'Hilarious' MINDY KALING Mostly true stories by the irrepressible star of hit Netflix show Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt. Comedian and star of Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt and The Office, Ellie Kemper delivers a hilarious and uplifting collection of personal essays about one pale woman's journey from Midwestern innocent to Hollywood semi-celebrity to outrageously reasonable New Yorker. There comes a time in every actress's life when she is faced with the prospect of writing a book. Ellie Kemper was ready. Contagiously cheerful, ridiculously wholesome, and mostly inspiring except for one essay about someone's feet, My Squirrel Days is a free wheeling tour of Ellie's life. From her childhood growing up in St Louis obsessed with Native American culture, to falling in love with her second grade teacher, to her ludicrous and entirely fabricated teenage diary entries, Kemper's writing is distinctive, very funny and endlessly optimistic, even in the face of menacing obese squirrels. Ellie shares stories of inadvertently insulting Ricky Gervais, complimenting Tina Fey on her 'strong and thick' hair and offering a sanitary towel to Steve Carrell. She will guide you along her journey through adulthood from disorganised bride, to impatient wife to anxious mother who - as recently observed by a sassy hairstylist - 'dresses like a mum'. Well, sassy hairstylist, Ellie Kemper is a mum and she's been dressing like this since she was four. The perfect antidote to the gloom and chaos of modern life, My Squirrel Days promises to tell you nothing you need to know about making it in show business, but is as hilarious and joyous as the best of her work on screen. '.. a thoroughly charming book.' DAVE EGGERS
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  • Musicophilia

    Oliver Sacks

    Product Code: BQGWC
    Paperback
    With an introduction by neuroscientist Daniel Glaser The late Oliver Sacks' compassionate tales of people struggling to adapt to different neurological conditions have fundamentally changed the way we think of our own minds. Musicophilia is no different. In this breathtaking work, Sacks examines the powers of music through the individual experiences of patients, musicians and everyday people - those struck by affliction, unusual talent and even, in one case, by lightning - to show not only that music occupies more areas of our brain than language does, but also that it can torment, calm, organize and heal. Always wise and compellingly readable, these stories alter our conception of who we are and how we function, and show us an essential part of what it is to be human.
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  • The Master's Tools Will Never Dismantle the Master's House

    Audre Lorde

    Product Code: BMGYU
    Paperback
    From the self-described 'black, lesbian, mother, warrior, poet', these soaring, urgent essays on the power of women, poetry and anger are filled with darkness and light. Penguin Modern: fifty new books celebrating the pioneering spirit of the iconic Penguin Modern Classics series, with each one offering a concentrated hit of its contemporary, international flavour. Here are authors ranging from Kathy Acker to James Baldwin, Truman Capote to Stanislaw Lem and George Orwell to Shirley Jackson; essays radical and inspiring; poems moving and disturbing; stories surreal and fabulous; taking us from the deep South to modern Japan, New York's underground scene to the farthest reaches of outer space.
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  • A Room of One's Own

    Virginia Woolf

    Product Code: BKLWM
    Hardback
    In this extraordinary essay, Virginia Woolf examines the limitations of womanhood in the early twentieth century. With the startling prose and poetic licence of a novelist, she makes a bid for freedom, emphasizing that the lack of an independent income, and the titular 'room of one's own', prevents most women from reaching their full literary potential. As relevant in its insight and indignation today as it was when first delivered in those hallowed lecture theatres, A Room of One's Own remains both a beautiful work of literature and an incisive analysis of women and their place in the world. This Macmillan Collector's Library edition of A Room of One's Own by Virginia Woolf features an afterword by the British art historian Frances Spalding. Designed to appeal to the booklover, the Macmillan Collector's Library is a series of beautiful gift editions of much loved classic titles. Macmillan Collector's Library are books to love and treasure.
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  • I Was Told There'd be Cake

    Sloane Crosley

    Product Code: BIXLO
    Paperback
    From getting locked out of her flat twice on the same day and being fired for baking a giant cookie in the shape of her boss' head, to playing bridesmaid for a friend she'd long forgotten, Sloane Crosley can do no right, despite the best of intentions. With sharp, original and irresistible storytelling that confounds expectations at every turn, Crosley recounts her victories and catastrophes, finding uproarious comedy and genuine insights in the most unpredictable places.
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  • Styles Of Radical Will

    Susan Sontag

    Product Code: BHTZC
    Paperback
    This collection of essays contains some of the most important pieces of criticism of the twentieth century, including the classics 'The Aesthetics of Silence', a brilliant account of language, thought and consciousness, and 'Trip to Hanoi', written during the Vietnam War. Here too is an excoriating account of America's identity and future, a robust and surprising discussion of pornography and other richly rewarding writings on art, film, literature and politics.
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  • The Odyssey

    Homer

    Product Code: ACPPT
    Paperback
    This book comes with an introduction and notes by Adam Roberts Royal Holloway, University of London. Homer's great epic describes the many adventures of Odysseus, Greek warrior, as he strives over many years to return to his home island of Ithaca after the Trojan War. His colourful adventures, his endurance, his love for his wife and son have the same power to move and inspire readers today as they did in Archaic Greece, 2800 years ago. This poem has been translated many times over the years, but Chapman's sinewy, gorgeous rendering (1616) stands in a class of its own. Chapman believed himself inspired by the spirit of Homer himself, and matches the breadth and power of the original with a complex and stunning idiom of his own. John Keats expressed his admiration for the resulting work in the famous sonnet, 'On first looking into Chapman's Homer': 'Much have I travelled in the realms of gold...'
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  • The Gifts of Reading

    Robert Macfarlane

    Product Code: BCXIH
    Paperback
    From the acclaimed author of The Old Ways and Landmarks -- an essay on the beauty and joy of reading, for anyone who has ever loved a book Every book is a kind of gift to its reader, and the act of giving books is charged with a special emotional resonance. It is a meeting of three minds (the giver, the author, the recipient), an exchange of intellectual and psychological currency, that leaves both participants the richer. Here Robert Macfarlane recounts the story of a book he was given as a young man, and how he managed eventually to return the favour, though never repay the debt. From one of the most lyrical writers of our time comes a perfectly formed gem, a lyrical celebration of the power and preciousness of the given book.
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