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PREMIUM

The Sinner and the Saint: Dostoevsky and the Gentleman Murderer Who Inspired a Masterpiece

Equal parts biography, literary analysis, and true crime, Birmingham’s book entrances and entertains from the first page.
PREMIUM

Science Fiction Literature Through History: An Encyclopedia

Although there are other similar guides to science fiction (from Routledge and Cambridge, for example), Westfahl’s clear and lively presentation and comprehensive knowledge and background will appeal to fans of the genre, as well as students (middle school through college) who are researching specific sci-fi authors, works, or themes.

The Matter of Black Lives: Writing from the New Yorker

Recommended for all libraries, this anthology offers an engaging and highly relevant selection for American audiences.

A Carnival of Snackery: Diaries (2003–2020)

Entertaining reading in itself, with references to some of the books he published in this era; a must-read for Sedaris’s many fans.

All of the Marvels: A Journey to the Ends of the Biggest Story Ever Told

Wolk’s light and humorous style appeals, and this work would be a marvelous addition to any library’s collection. It will likely become a bible for serious comics fans and a useful introduction and reference guide for all others. Highly recommended.

Between the Lines: Stories from the Underground

A vibrant, varied love note to New York. Readers will feel hopeful after hearing from Cohen’s delightful subjects, and perhaps emboldened to engage a stranger in conversation.

Patricia Highsmith: Her Diaries and Notebooks 1941–1995

An exceptional effort to make primary source material on one of America’s best known mystery authors more accessible. Sure to be a resource for future scholars, these annotated diaries will also appeal to fans of Eileen Myles’s Chelsea Girls and Diane di Prima’s Recollections of my Life as a Woman, offering a frank and detailed account of a woman and writer coming of age.

Things I Have Withheld

With Miller’s insight and verve in each essay in this rich collection, this unputdownable book will stay with readers long after they’ve finished.

Please Don’t Sit on My Bed in Your Outside Clothes: Essays

Robinson has written her best book yet, and her relatable humor will have readers coming back for more.
PREMIUM

Read Until You Understand: The Profound Wisdom of Black Life and Literature

Griffin offers a personal exploration of literature that’s historical yet still relevant; readers of the works cited will be interested to learn Griffin’s interpretations.
PREMIUM

The Contemporary American Essay

Recommended for libraries that have the first two volumes and for libraries where essays are popular.

Crime, Politics, and Poetry | Classic Returns

Still Mad: American Women Writers and the Feminist Imagination

Highly recommended for anyone interested in American literature or women’s studies.

The Heroine with 1001 Faces

A necessary and compelling read for scholars, activists, and storytellers interested in inclusive revisions to the hero’s canon.

The Anthropocene Reviewed: Essays on a Human-Centered Planet

A must-buy for public or secondary school library collections.
PREMIUM

Dweller in Shadows: A Life of Ivor Gurney

Recommend to readers who enjoy reading about 20th-century poetry and the emotional lives behind art.

Two-Way Mirror: The Life of Elizabeth Barrett Browning

A welcome update that avoids sensationalism to pursue a more complex history of a much-loved literary figure. Recommended for all collections.
PREMIUM

Horse Girls: Recovering, Aspiring, and Devoted Riders Redefine the Iconic Bond

All readers, whether they love riding or have never seen a horse up close, will appreciate these essays. This collection not only shares multiple perspectives from the communities of riders and horse fans but also provides commentary on growing up and dealing with both disappointments and successes.
PREMIUM

Everyone You Hate Is Going To Die: And Other Comforting Thoughts on Family, Friends, Sex, Love and More Things That Ruin Your Life

This book is great for readers who like dark, occasionally brutal humor, like that of Ricky Gervais or Dave Chappelle.
PREMIUM

Well, This Is Exhausting: Essays

Benoit brings her A game in her first book, a new addition to the recent spate of brutally honest memoirs. Recommended for fans of Samantha Irby.
PREMIUM

The Letters of Shirley Jackson

At turns hysterical and heartbreaking, this collection is an entertaining and intriguing read even for those who are just discovering Jackson’s many literary gifts. Recommended.
PREMIUM

Books Promiscuously Read: Reading as a Way of Life

This book is a good reminder that reading is meant to be enjoyed; it is itself a refreshing, freeing, and inspiring read. Recommended for public libraries.

Never Say You Can’t Survive: How To Get Through Hard Times by Making Up Stories

Let Anders introduce you to the imaginary friends whose stories need to be told; provide you with tools to defeat enemies like imposter syndrome; and show you the many varied lifelines writing can offer, no matter who you are, and no matter what story you need to tell.

Pessoa: A Biography

Essential to academic collections, this biography is also accessible to general audiences interested in the potential of art that does not imitate life.

The Anthropocene Reviewed: Essays on a Human-Centered Planet

This is a book about culture, about science and medicine, about Green himself, but really it surpasses these designations. It is essential to the human conversation. John Green whispered the truth of humanity onto the page, and as with all good secrets, you’ll need to lean in closely to hear.
PREMIUM

The Window Seat: Notes from a Life in Motion

These essays are raw, informative, and often entertaining; fans of essayists like Roxane Gay will devour this book quickly and be left wanting more of Forna’s stories.
PREMIUM

Bring Your Baggage and Don’t Pack Light: Essays

Readers looking for a new literary pal who’s classy enough to wear pearls at the poker table, and brave enough to visit a crowded water park post-menopause, need look no further. Recommend to fans of Nora Ephron and Annabelle Gurwitch.

Languages of Truth: Essays 2003–2020

Highly recommended for Rushdie fans, as well as readers interested in art, literature, or creative writing.
PREMIUM

Republic of Detours: How the New Deal Paid Broke Writers To Rediscover America

This fascinating and enjoyable volume is recommended for all readers interested in American literary history.
PREMIUM

Mental Floss: The Curious Reader; A Literary Miscellany of Novels & Novelists

Good for curious readers, whether they want to delve into authors and books they love, feel competent faking knowledge about books everyone else seems to have read, or just dip into and out of literary worlds.

Appropriate: A Provocation

Highly recommended for creative writing students or readers interested in this extremely relevant topic.
 

PREMIUM

The Madman’s Library: The Strangest Books, Manuscripts and Other Literary Curiosities from History

A feast (if not always palatable) for bibliophiles.
PREMIUM

The Hard Crowd: Essays 2000–2020

There is a great deal of variety and personality in this essay collection, especially for readers with an eye for art, music, and literature. Those who enjoy Kushner’s novels will gravitate to this collection, and readers new to the author’s writing will be drawn in as well.

The Golden Age of the American Essay: 1945–1970

In this collection, readers might see the value of the essay format as a way to share opinions. Lopate’s collection is a worthwhile slice of the history of the essay and its lasting contribution to American writing.
PREMIUM

Radical Vision: A Biography of Lorraine Hansberry

A scholarly yet accessible account of the life of a singular American artist and activist. Recommended for enthusiasts of American literature, and anyone who is interested in learning more about this transformational woman, whose vision for the country is as relevant today as ever.
PREMIUM

Word for Word: A Writer’s Life

Lisle’s limited discussion of her own creative process may leave some readers wanting, but others will enjoy the frank discussion of her successes and disappointments pursuing a “writer’s life.”

The Penguin Book of the Modern American Short Story

This anthology sets itself apart by providing an inclusive starting point for readers interested in discovering the power of the short story; it is golden for those who already recognize that power.
PREMIUM

A Whole World: Letters from James Merrill

This sumptuously produced collection of letters will appeal mostly to literary enthusiasts.
PREMIUM

William Shakespeare: Facts and Fictions

An ideal ready-reference guide to understanding one of the greatest—and most popular
PREMIUM

The Book of Difficult Fruit: Arguments for the Tart, Tender, and Unruly (with Recipes)

A genre-blending work that will intrigue readers of literary nonfiction, personal essays, or food history.
PREMIUM

Girlhood

A thought-provoking collection that will appeal to fans of fierce feminist prose. The inclusion of occasional poetry is a bonus.
PREMIUM

Hearing Homer’s Song: The Brief Life and Big Idea of Milman Parry

An engaging, thoroughly researched biography of a fascinating figure. Though some of the details surrounding Parry’s documentation techniques can feel a bit tedious at times, Kanigel has given readers a thoughtful look at a man whose theories have helped us to better understand the ancient world.
PREMIUM

Half in Shadow: The Life and Legacy of Nellie Y. McKay

McKay’s life remains in shadow; her legacy awaits a comparative assessment of the contributions of her contemporaries to Black feminist studies and African American literature.
PREMIUM

A Swim in a Pond in the Rain: In Which Four Russians Give a Master Class on Writing, Reading, and Life

Recommended for readers as well as writers interested in how short fiction works and why it is relevant in turbulent times.

Hungry Hearts: Essays on Courage, Desire, and Belonging

This collection of stories will make readers laugh, cry, and come back for more; readers will enjoy the book as a whole, as it is impossible to pick a favorite story.

North by Shakespeare: A Rogue Scholar’s Quest for the Truth Behind the Bard’s Work

Bardolators will want to read this book; for others, it’s an optional read.

PREMIUM

The Life She Wished to Live: A Biography of Marjorie Kinnan Rawlings, Author of The Yearling

A comprehensive, well-researched portrait of the life of Rawlings and her creative struggles that will engage a variety of readers.

Goodbye, Again: Essays, Reflections, and Illustrations

This poetic, humorous, and heartfelt collection will have readers nodding along, laughing, and maybe even crying, but more than anything they will be engrossed and craving more. Similar to Sun’s previous work, this is another standout.
PREMIUM

Sybille Bedford: A Life

This comprehensive Bedford biography will most appeal to readers who are familiar with either her work or mid-century Western literature in general. More casual readers might find the cast of characters dizzying, but the book does a fine job of capturing the spirit and challenges of the time.

Lolita in the Afterlife: On Beauty, Risk, and Reckoning with the Most Indelible and Shocking Novel of the Twentieth Century

The superb essays found in this book demonstrate the enduring impact of this novel. Highly recommended for readers interested in Lolita and Nabokov.

Wonderworks: The 25 Most Powerful Inventions in the History of Literature

Wonderworks is for those readers who like to consider the history of literature, yes, but also those who like to think about the technical aspects of literary devices used across that history.

A History of Scars

Though the writing sometimes appears to be unpolished, Lee offers some interesting commentary on life. These essays may appeal to readers interested in writing and mental health.

PREMIUM

Let Me Tell You What I Mean

This volume could be read in one sitting or one vignette at a time, as Didion’s perceptive voice connects the essays beautifully, but each one can stand equally well on its own terms. For both fans of Didion and those new to her work entirely, this collection is an essential investment.

The Unquiet Englishman: A Life of Graham Greene

Greene’s life story is both interesting and fascinating, and this balanced account offers the best reading of how his personal life infused and enriched his work.
PREMIUM

In Search of The Color Purple: The Story of an American Masterpiece

Tillet writes a necessary account of how Walker’s centering the lives of Black women has transformed literature. Accessibly written, this book will engage both longtime fans and those new to Walker’s writing.

The Queens’ English: The LGBTQIA+ Dictionary of Lingo and Colloquial Phrases

A must for better understanding queer culture, especially the contributions of Black and Latinx trans people to pop culture at large.
PREMIUM

Of Human Kindness: What Shakespeare Teaches Us about Empathy

First and foremost, this book is for anyone who has ever taught Shakespeare to young students. It’s too short, but perhaps that makes it more likely to be read.

Red Comet: The Short Life and Blazing Art of Sylvia Plath

A masterful biography that will especially interest literary scholars.

PREMIUM

A Measure of Belonging: Twenty-One Writers of Color on the New American South

A wonderful, thought-provoking collection of essays that highlight the various experiences of immigrants, people of color, and women in the American South. Recommended for public and academic libraries.

Three-Martini Afternoons at the Ritz: The Rebellion of Sylvia Plath and Anne Sexton

Deliriously fast-paced and erudite, this is highly recommended for all literature, poetry, and women’s studies collections.

Tom Stoppard: A Life

A major biography of a major, and appealing, literary figure, this study will jump off the shelves.

Best World Literature of 2020

Best Literary Fiction of 2020

PREMIUM

The Fall of America Journals, 1965–1971

Ably edited by Schumacher, this book provides a wealth of source material for researchers on Ginsberg’s life and work during this period.

The Power of Adrienne Rich: A Biography

Exceptionally well-researched and detailed, this is a definitive portrait of Rich that will be welcomed by aspiring writers and poets, Rich scholars, and devotees of 20th-century American poetry.
PREMIUM

The Best of Brevity: Twenty Groundbreaking Years of Flash Nonfiction

There is something for everybody here, and since the writings are short, it is a perfect companion for moments of waiting. Because all of Brevity’s essays, and some additional resources, are free online, the anthology makes a useful tool for both teaching flash nonfiction and learning how to write it.
PREMIUM

Where I Come From: Stories from the Deep South

A notable volume from a widely appreciated author recommended for all humor, journalism, and Southern literature collections.

The Glorious American Essay: One Hundred Essays from Colonial Times to the Present

Two forthcoming collections is this series focusing on the postwar era (1945–2000) and essays of the 21st century will ensure this is the most comprehensive set of American essay writing to date. For readers fascinated by the sheer scope, variety, and art of the essay.

A Handful of Earth, A Handful of Sky: The World of Octavia Butler

Filled with Butler’s voice, photos of lists, notebooks, and other ephemera, this volume outlines a life map, a model, a vision of possibilities that is sure to inspire budding writers to, as Butler did, imagine a world that is different and make a place for themselves in it. Also a must-read for Butler fans.
PREMIUM

The Writer’s Library: The Authors You Love on the Books That Changed Their Lives

Recommended for bibliophiles and readers curious about the works and authors behind the books they love.

Pushcart Prize XLV: Best of the Small Presses 2021 Edition

This fascinating anthology is a must for all collections.

PREMIUM

The Language of Thieves: My Family’s Obsession with a Secret Code the Nazis Tried To Eliminate

A puzzling family mystery uncovers a forgotten language and its ties to Nazi Germany in this probing literary history that will attract linguistics enthusiasts.

PREMIUM

Suppose a Sentence

Dillon’s riffs on his chosen sentences are often impressionistic, meandering, and thin, resulting in a text riddled with misconceptions, albeit from an especially energetic, literary mind.

PREMIUM

The Best of Me

This collection of favorite and beloved writings by an author with legions of fans is warm, witty, and guaranteed to please longtime and new readers alike.

PREMIUM

Lot Six: A Memoir

Highly recommended; this revealing memoir takes us beyond the facts of Adjmi’s life to probe his quest for identity and his rise as a prominent playwright and author.

Alone Together: Love, Grief, and Comfort in the Time of COVID-19

Among the first anthologies of its kind, this thoughtful and engaging compilation is recommended for readers seeking understanding and connection and a more empathetic and less materialistic post–­COVID-19 world.

PREMIUM

Who We’re Reading When We’re Reading Murakami

Readers not obsessed with Murakami or translating may find themselves periodically overwhelmed by the minutiae, but anyone who cares about the process of translating and the variables involved will be richly rewarded. Recommend for academic and public libraries with robust Japanese literature collections

Like Streams to the Ocean: Notes on Ego, Love, and the Things That Make Us Who We Are

Jenkins is a sincere writer, and his ability to make it feel as if he is talking to you directly will both attract longtime fans and engage new readers.

PREMIUM

The Letters of Ernest Hemingway. Vol. 5: 1932–1934

A worthy addition to the ongoing effort to publish all of Hemingway’s letters, this volume will be welcomed by scholars, students, and general readers with a more than casual interest in the man and his work.

Intimations: Six Essays

Smith demonstrates once again that she is a powerful albeit quiet voice for our challenging times. Highly Recommended.
PREMIUM

The Happily Ever After: A Memoir of an Unlikely Romance Novelist

With a journalist’s perspective and a penchant for wit and storytelling, Steinberg crafts a compelling narrative of his quest to find love and to write postdivorce.

Weird Women: Classic Supernatural Fiction by Groundbreaking Female Writers 1852–1923

A feast of entertaining (and often scary) reads. Highly recommended for those interested in literature of the horror and supernatural variety.

A Place of Exodus: Home, Memory, and Texas

Highly recommended for Texas history and poetry collections, and for all memoir readers.

The Mystery of Charles Dickens

Wilson is the perfect choice to write about this complicated soul, showing how reading Dickens, one emerges with a new appreciation of the people one encounters. Even 150 years after his death, Dickens’s life and works continue to fascinate.

PREMIUM

From Slave Cabins to the White House: Homemade Citizenship in African American Culture

An essential, scholarly volume for academic and larger public library collections devoted to the literary traditions and history of African American women throughout U.S. history.

Borges and Me: An Encounter

Essential for Borges’s legions of fans, as well as those who enjoy literary memoirs by experimental writers whose works play a bit more loosely with the facts.
PREMIUM

The Saddest Words: William Faulkner’s Civil War

Faulkner once famously said, “The past is not dead. In fact, it’s not even past,” and this exceptional study by Gorra lends credence to these words. A worthy addition to Faulkner studies, and for larger Southern literature and Civil War collections.
PREMIUM

Notable African American Writers

Comprehensive and useful for a variety of audiences.
PREMIUM

Tomboyland

Readers of all kinds will wish to sit down with this tomboy, not just those interested in issues of androgyny. Recommended.

Just Us: An American Conversation

“How does one say/ what if/ without reproach?” asks Rankine, and proceeds to show us. In the end it is “just us” wanting “justice,” which will require whiteness to be visible and interrogated. A must-read to add to the conversation on racism, antiracism, and white fragility.
PREMIUM

Austen Years: A Memoir in 5 Novels

A successful reminder of how time-honored literature evokes insight into our present reality and why the classics should be read more and often.

Jane Austen: Writing, Society, Politics

Highly recommended.

The Blessing and the Curse: The Jewish People and Their Books in the Twentieth Century

The focus throughout this illuminating and invaluable study is on secular modern Jewish writers from Central and Eastern Europe and their descendants. For all Jewish literature collections, and for informed general readers interested in modern Jewish secular literary culture.

Cross of Snow: A Life of Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

Essential for biography and literary collections; a sheer joy to read for its portrayal of the amazing life of the first “poet of the people.” [See Prepub Alert, 12/9/19.]

Austen Is Always a Good Idea | Wyatt's World

PREMIUM

Nothing Is Wrong and Here Is Why: Essays

These writings will appeal to a broad range of readers and even stand up (pun intended) against the most well-fortified sensibilities. Men possessing low tolerance to alienation, however, are warned.

Here We Are: My Friendship with Philip Roth

Like Roth, Taylor is a terrific raconteur, and readers are likely to be as entertained by his opinions as those of the Pulitzer Prize winning novelist. An eloquent and touching account that should appeal to all who appreciate the value of true friendship.

PREMIUM

Places I’ve Taken My Body: Essays

Anyone who has faced physical challenges is sure to find wisdom in Brown’s words as well as the universal truths she shares.
PREMIUM

Critical Insights: Conspiracies

Recommended only for large literary criticism collections.

The Essential Clarence Major: Prose & Poetry

Recommended for all libraries with substantial collections of African American and contemporary American literature.

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