I realized a little while ago that 2016 was shaping up to be a banner year for essays. It occurred to me that I could put together a list of collections that I read and loved or that I will make sure I read soon. I thought I would include 10 or so. But that hypothetical list of 10 quickly expanded to 15, and then 20, and then to 25, and I could add even more. But this list of 25 is enough to keep you reading for a long time.
The list below includes collections by novelists, poets, comedians, actors, bloggers, and activists. The first 17 have already been published, and the final 8 are forthcoming later this year. The list should have something for everyone: some of these books are funny, some are deeply personal, some are experimental, some are journalistic, some are literary. But all, I hope, will be thought-provoking and fun to read.
The Fire This Time, edited by Jesmyn Ward: This anthology includes essays by writers such as Edwidge Danticat, Kiese Laymon, Claudia Rankine, Isabel Wilkerson, and more. It’s a follow-up to James Baldwin 1963 book The Fire Next Time, looking at the African-American experience and the state of race relations in America today. It’s a powerful and necessary collection.
Known and Strange Things, Teju Cole: This book contains more than 50 essays on literature, photography, travel, and more. Cole’s voice is both intellectual and engaging; his insights into the world — its politics, art, and culture — illuminate modern-day life.
Proxies: Essays Near Knowing, Brian Blanchfield: Blanchfield’s short essays bring together ideas and experiences you never thought could exist in one piece of writing. These essays are a mental work-out; they challenge and charm at once. They are poetic, confessional, brilliant.
Violation, Sallie Tisdale: This volume collects essays from the 1980s through today. Tisdale’s work is varied in content but always full of sharp observations and insights about family, culture, science, writing, and more. Tisdale’s mind is a fascinating place; you never quite know what to expect or where an essay might take you.
Bukowski in a Sundress, Kim Addonizio: These pieces are largely autobiographical; in fact, this book gets described as a memoir, but it’s really a collection of personal essays held together by Addonizio’s distinct voice and outlook on life. She’s had a rough life in some ways, and she writes about it — and her struggles with writing — in ways that are moving and hard to resist.
So Sad Today, Melissa Broder: Broder is a poet and the genius behind the Twitter account @sosadtoday, where this book gets its name. About anxiety and life in the modern world, these essays are revealing and darkly funny.
The Girls in My Town, Angela Morales: This book won the River Teeth Literary Nonfiction prize. It contains autobiographical essays about Morales’s family in Los Angeles. It tells stories about growing up and coming to understand her intelligence, her role as a writer, and her place in the world.
Shame and Wonder, David Searcy: A debut collection of 21 essays, this book combines a personal voice with a sharp critical eye. Searcy’s subjects are varied, but his perspective on the world is consistently surprising, fresh, and insightful.
The Abundance, Annie Dillard: Dillard is renowned as a nature writer and is most famous for Pilgrim at Tinker Creek. This volume collects essays from throughout her illustrious career, including both famous pieces and lesser-known works.
We Gon’ Be Alright, Jeff Chang: This is another in a series of great recent essay collections about race. Chang takes a look at Ferguson, Black Lives Matter, and other recent events and helps us understand ourselves and our country.
You’ll Grow Out of It, Jessi Klein: Klein is a writer and producer for the series Inside Amy Schumer, writing here about her experience of modern womanhood. These essays are funny and honest.
White Sands, Geoff Dyer: These essays combine travel writing, memoir, and Dyer’s signature genre-bending prose and dry British wit. Known for Out of Sheer Rage and Yoga for People Who Can’t Be Bothered to Do It, Dyer is a prose-writer worth reading at length.
Calamities, Renee Gladman: Published by the fascinating small press Wave Books, this volume contains linked essays about writing and narrative. Gladman is a writer of experimental fiction and nonfiction, and these essays will both fascinate and challenge.
Lost Wax, Jericho Parms: Partly autobiographical, these essays cover the author’s life in the Bronx in the 80s and 90s as well as her travels around the world. They are also meditations on art, race, family, and identity.
Everywhere I Look, Helen Garner: Garner is an acclaimed Australian writer of both fiction and nonfiction. This collection brings together essays from the past 15 years on topics as varied as the insults of aging, the ballet, her relationship with her mother, and rereading Jane Austen.
Where Am I Now?, Mara Wilson: Wilson’s subtitle is “True Stories of Girlhood and Accidental Fame.” The book contains essays about her experiences as a child star and on through her adolescence and into her adulthood. Wilson’s writing is humorous and fun, as well as full of insight into what it means to be young and female.
I’m Judging You, Luvvie Ajayi: Ajayi is a comedian, activist, and blogger, and this is her debut collection of essays. She offers self-help with plenty of humor and wit, and covers pop culture, race, and media.
My Private Property, Mary Ruefle (Wave Books, October 4th): Ruefle is a beloved poet as well as the author of the previous collection of essays Madness, Rack, and Honey. In My Private Property, we find short poetic essays and prose poems on a wide range of subjects.
You Can’t Touch My Hair, Phoebe Robinson (Plume, October 4th): Like the Jessi Klein collection, this is another book of essays by a comedian, and Robinson is, among many other things, co-host with Jessica Williams of the 2 Dope Queenspodcast. This book is about her experiences as a black woman, including, among many other things, her feelings about her hair.
I’ll Tell You in Person, Chloe Caldwell (Coffee House Press, October 4th): This book will be published jointly by Coffee House Press and the ebook publisher Emily Books. Caldwell is the author of the essay collection Legs Get Led Astray, and in her new book writes personal pieces about, among other topics, her attempts to figure out what it means to become an adult.
Upstream, Mary Oliver (Penguin Press, October 11th): Oliver has been publishing poetry to great acclaim since 1963. Her essays here reflect on her relationship to the natural world, to writing, and to the poetic inheritance she works within.
Unbearable Splendor, Sun Yung Shin (Coffee House Press, October 11th): Sun Yung Shin is a poet, and in this book is writing poetic essays. Or maybe it’s essayistic poetry? Whatever we want to call it, this book explores the author’s various identities, including being American, Korean, an adoptee, a mother, a Catholic, and a Buddhist.
Not Just Jane, Shelley DeWees (Harper Perennial, October 25th): This collection explores the work and significance of seven women writing during Jane Austen’s time, including Charlotte Turner Smith, Sara Coleridge, and Mary Robinson. Together, the essays work to broaden our understanding of literary history.
Eat Live Love Die, Betty Fussell (Counterpoint, November 15th): Fussell has written on many subjects, but most notably on food. She has published histories of food, cookbooks, food memoirs, and journalism. This collection brings together a variety of her published work.
A Woman Looking at Men Looking at Women, Siri Hustvedt (Simon and Schuster, December 6th): Hustvedt’s subtitle is “Essays on Art, Sex, and the Mind.” She is known for novels such as What I Loved and The Blazing World, as well as for multiple essay collections and works of nonfiction.
News, new releases, and reading recommendations for nonfiction readers!
Literature as an art has many horizons; it includes books, articles, critical reviews, and essays. At school, teachers assign homework writing tasks. Essays by famous American writers aim to prepare students for the potential career challenges associated with writing. Famous American authors who have introduced world’s best novels accomplished popular essays. Some of them describe one’s life. Other famous American writers represent native history of that time. 19th century was especially rich for the great essays.
A great essay can be more distinguished than a good novel. The most popular genres of essay include:
- Current events
- Personal reflection
It’s up to the young author to choose one to practice. If you want to master the art of writing, consider these popular American writers. Read at least several papers published by them to improve your knowledge.
The article offers the list of top-preferred essays written by popular American writers. Find authors from various background and historical periods. Keep in mind the qualities of essay: brief, concise, attention-grabbing, and interesting.
10 Famous American Authors Every Young Writer Should Recognize
- James Baldwin
The first man to recall is James Baldwin. Born in 1924, the boy grew up with his stepfather who was an exemplar priest. Baldwin grew up with 8 children; he has never known anything about his dad, so his pain is felt in such pieces as “Tell me when the train left” or “Giovanni’s Room.” His literary career started in Greenwich Village. That place needed his hero who could cheer up the local population living in poverty.
Most of Baldwin’s texts oppose relevant for that time racism, explaining people must be all equal. Regular attacks force the famous artist to transfer to France.
Best essays of all time include several popular works of author:
- “Notes of a Native Son”
- “The Evidence of Things Not Seen”
- “The Price of the Ticket”
- Scott Fitzgerald
Scoot F. Fitzgerald, born in 1896, is famous US short story writer and novelist. He best illustrates the Jazz Age; Fitzgerald is a dedicated, honored member of “Lost Generation” (1920s). 164 essays out of 4 collections of short stories were published in popular American magazines during his lifetime.
Fitzgerald was an optimistic person who described the inspiration and excesses of his age. Fitzgerald is the author of popular “The Great Gatsby,” which was remastered and filmed two times. Other famous author’s works are:
- “This Side of Paradise”
- “The Beautiful and the Damned”
- Norman Mailer
The citizen of New Jersey from the Jewish family managed to create several masterpieces. American artist Normal Mailer finished Harvard; this university made him love literature. At the age of 18, he started his writer’s career. Harvard rewarded the famous author with corresponding appreciation.
The best essays of Mailer include:
- “The Presidential Papers”
- “Pieces and Pontifications” (dedicated to Little Boston’s Life)
Find the best writing ideas by clicking on this link.
- Joan Didion
Female author Joan Didion is still available: she came from California and started to write her opening essays at the age of five. While her parents spend entire days at work, the little girl tried to read all possible books found in their apartment. Her Bachelor Degree (Arts and English language) helped her passion. She is among the famous essay writers of the 20th century as Didion predetermined modern culture by working in “Vogue” magazine. The popular author’s works involve:
- “After Henry” (dedicated to Earth)
- Ernest Hemingway
Among all writers in US history, Hemingway was the true master of word; he introduced the shortest essays/stories made of six words! This popular American genius developed his distinctive style which is still copied by modern artists. Every essay he wrote was simple to read. He avoided introducing new topics or using complex words; you can see it from his most famous essays:
- “The Garden of Eden”
- “In Our Time”
- “The Sun Also Rises”
- “The Old Man and the Sea”
- Robert Atwan
Another famous writer is Robert Atwan. He was born in 1940; he comes from New Jersey. Two popular universities, Seton Hall and Rutgers, had this literature enthusiast among the top century students. American writer was focused on creating short stories during his lifetime:
- “Great Moments in Literary Baseball” (you can guess what his favorite game is)
- “Poems and Essays” (describing the seasons)
- Stephen King
This century knows Stephen King as the best American horror book author. He has famous essays among his literary works too: his popular essays belong to the categories: supernatural fiction, suspense, and fantasy. These pieces of literature focus on Maine State. Great pieces he wrote include:
- “Head Down”
- “Great Hookers I Have Known”
- David Foster Wallace
A famous American was born in 1968. His passion for philosophy turned into the love of literature; the author earned a degree in English language and literature. David Foster Wallace used literature as the tool to cure of regular depressions. Wallace died of the prescribed medicine, but he managed to share his best works with society:
- “Television and U.S. Fiction” (funny story)
- “A Supposedly Fun Thing I'll Never Do Again” and “Consider the Lobster.”
- John McPhee
Famous American writers of 20th century have John McPhee on the list. He is the pioneer of creative nonfiction; he won a Pulitzer Prize in his genre. Famous American author offered outstanding hook sentences which helped to grab target reader’s attention easily. He was teaching Journalism at Princeton University, sharing his best essays.
- “Progression: How and What?”
- “The Search for Marvin Gardens”
- Susan Sontag
Famous American authors list includes Susan Sontag, a popular female writer from New York City. The girl had imaginary friends from books and famous American novels when she was young. The author successfully passed necessary exams to enter Harvard University where she learned English literature to obtain a Master of Philosophy. In Oxford, famous female faced serious gender concerns and challenged related issues in her initial essays. She moved to Paris to release the rest of her works being pressed in America.
- “Against Interpretation”
- “Regarding the Pain of Others Styles of Radical Will”
Once you read the suggested literature, you will have a clue of how a short story/essay must look! If you wish to get a great custom essay, place an order with time-tested academic writing team online!
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