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PREMIUM

Growing Up Chicago

With stories from Ana Castillo, Rebecca Makkai, James McManus, Nnedi Okorafor, George Saunders, and many others, this collection will please both longtime and new Chicagoans.
PREMIUM

I Used To Live Here Once: The Haunted Life of Jean Rhys

A deeply researched and insightful exploration of one of the 20th century’s lesser known authors.
PREMIUM

Ghost of the Hardy Boys: The Writer Behind the World’s Most Famous Boy Detectives

Written with the same fluid, energetic, and humorous style that brought life to the sleuthing Hardy siblings, this is an enjoyable memoir from a writer who loved his job.

The Great Book of King Arthur: And His Knights of the Round Table

Valuable to those interested in literary history or medieval history, as well as for those who just want to read a great, age-old tale.

Happy-Go-Lucky

This is Sedaris at his best, provocative and hysterical. Readers will feel like laughing even when it may feel inappropriate, much like the Sedaris family at their father’s actual deathbed. Recommended for all public libraries.
PREMIUM

The Dragon Daughter and Other Lin Lan Fairy Tales

An exciting look at oral traditions of rural China. Lovers of folktales and fairytales will enjoy this book and Zhang’s conversational prose.
PREMIUM

The Last Days of Roger Federer: And Other Endings

Recommended for general collections, but probably has more appeal for older readers.
PREMIUM

Memoirs

Recommended for academic libraries.
PREMIUM

Autoportrait

An unconventional memoir that speaks to the power of elusiveness. Recommended.

Miss Chloe: A Memoir of a Literary Friendship with Toni Morrison

Verdelle’s stunningly precise and poetic language is a joy to savor. Morrison fans will delight in revisiting her works through Verdelle’s eyes and meeting the enigmatic writer in an intimate way.
PREMIUM

The Love That Dares: Letters of LGBTQ+ Love & Friendship Through History

This illuminating and important collection of hidden LGBTQ+ histories is also a joy to read.
PREMIUM

Keats: A Brief Life in Nine Poems and One Epitaph

Fans of Helen Vendler’s Coming of Age as a Poet will appreciate this acute study of Keats’s democratic verse.
PREMIUM

Living and Dying with Marcel Proust

This book will prompt many to reread Proust. For readers interested in 20th-century French literature and individuals with Proustian affinities.
PREMIUM

Escape into Meaning: Essays on Superman, Public Benches, and Other Obsessions

Readers needn’t like John Oliver or cyberpunk to enjoy Puschak’s essays; they merely have to be receptive to refreshing, original, and unpretentious written words and, maybe most importantly, have an appreciation for escapism and public benches. As readers and humans, we can surely all lean into that.
PREMIUM

Translating Myself and Others

Though the topic of translation studies might have a limited non-academic readership, Lahiri writes so beautifully that this collection will have broad appeal for anyone interested in literary essays.

You Don’t Know Us Negroes and Other Essays

This excellent collection of essays will appeal to many readers especially individuals interested in African American history, literature, and culture.

In the Margins: On the Pleasures of Reading and Writing

These brilliant essays not only provide insights into other great writers and their work but into Ferrante’s own work as well, and will be appreciated by her many followers as well as scholars and general readers.

Write for Your Life

Highly recommended for those looking for a means of coming to terms with their lives and the world around them.

The Greatest Invention: A History of the World in Nine Mysterious Scripts

In the tradition of the best popular science writing, Ferrara expresses complex ideas in language understandable and appealing to the educated layperson.
PREMIUM

The Turning Point: 1851—A Year That Changed Charles Dickens and the World

This expansive blend of literary and historical research allows readers a close encounter with Dickens’s writing desk. A must-read for Dickens fans.

You Don’t Know Us Negroes and Other Essays

The essays and their subject matter are made all the more impactful by the truly moving experience of listening to Miles’s interpretation of Hurston’s words.

These Precious Days

Patchett’s latest comes to life as an audiobook and is a perfect listen for those looking for heartwarming and down-to-earth meditations on life, love, and happiness.
PREMIUM

Women Talk Money: Breaking the Taboo

An eye-opening book with great insights drawn from individual experiences of money, with stories of success and less-than-success. These essays can start conversations going among women who wish to deal openly and honestly with money and finances. Highly recommended.

The Baby on the Fire Escape: Creativity, Motherhood, and the Mind-Baby Problem

These constructions are far from new, yet Phillips’s powerfully researched, thoughtful, sensitive examinations will be of interest to literary scholars as well as to general readers grappling with their own oscillating creative and pragmatic selves.

Body Work: The Radical Power of Personal Narrative

Wide-ranging in its theoretical and historical breadth yet intimate in all ways, Febos’s book offers the tools readers need to identify, access, process, and articulate hard-won stories of trauma and of love that their flesh holds.

PREMIUM

The Unwritten Book

Without an overarching narrative to hold the many fragments of this work together, it can be challenging to stay invested in the book, despite Hunt’s beautiful writing. But anyone seeking an exceptionally unusual, thought-provoking reading experience will find it here.

Letter to a Stranger: Essays to the Ones Who Haunt Us

This highly recommended collection of letters would appeal to many types of readers, including individuals interested in creative writing, the epistolary form, or travel literature.

Lorraine Hansberry: The Life Behind A Raisin in the Sun

This biography substantiates Hansberry’s accomplishments, despite her short life. Recommended for all Hansberry enthusiasts and 20th-century literary scholars.

Tacky: Love Letters to the Worst Culture We Have To Offer

Basted in Cinnabon icing and coated in glittery lip gloss, King’s book explores the joy of low culture. It would be a great addition for libraries looking to expand their memoir collections and appeal to millennial audiences.

The History of Comics | Literature Reviews

PREMIUM

Orwell’s Roses

Readers of Orwell will find, or rediscover, much material here that will expand their perception of the man. This is a worthy addition to the ever-growing corpus of Orwell studies.

American Comics: A History

There are several recent histories of comics; however, none are as comprehensive or well-researched as this one. Dauber’s book sets itself apart, and comics enthusiasts will be enthralled.
PREMIUM

Asian American Literature: An Encyclopedia for Students

While Greenwood’s three-volume Encyclopedia of Asian American Literature covers more writers, has longer entries, and is more scholarly, this new guide is directed primarily at students (middle school through college) and will be useful to them and to general readers, as well as the teachers and libraries helping them.
PREMIUM

The Philip Roth We Don’t Know: Sex, Race, and Autobiography

Academic libraries and large Roth collections may want to purchase.

The Annotated Mrs. Dalloway

A rich work that ably supports readers and teachers.
PREMIUM

Tony Hillerman: A Life

Recommended mostly for Hillerman’s devoted fans.

These Precious Days: Essays

For the author’s many fans and anyone who loves beautiful writing.

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.

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.

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.
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.

Between the Lines: Stories from the Underground

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

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.

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.

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.
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

The Heroine with 1001 Faces

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

Still Mad: American Women Writers and the Feminist Imagination

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

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

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.
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.

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 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.”
PREMIUM

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

A feast (if not always palatable) for bibliophiles.

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

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

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

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

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