Lost in the Stacks: Essay Collections
Published on 17th September 2019
Welcome to the third entry in our blog series 'Lost in the Stacks' - recommendations by Dublin City Libraries staff exploring overlooked gems and helping you find your next read!
Our entry today comes from one of our wonderful librarians, Jessica, and looks at some of the best essay collections in our libraries!
Is there a greater joy than settling comfortably with a beverage of your choice and reading a well-crafted essay?
There is a particular form of literary alchemy that takes place in the best essays - the fusion of the personal with social commentary combined with a stylistic elegance. Often offering a unique perspective on a cultural moment or a brief window into another world, a good essay has a habit of staying with you long after the pages have turned and the book is closed.
Here is a selection of the very best essay collections for you to enjoy. If you'd like to borrow any of the books discussed below, simply click on the book cover or title to be taken to the reserves page, where you'll need your library card and PIN to request the book.
1. Pulphead: dispatches from the other side of America by John Jeremiah Sullivan
Pulphead is a fascinating collection of essays exploring pop culture and subcultures of American life fused with memoir and aspects from the writer’s own life. Written with a gentle wit and probing intelligence, it is hard to resist reading the entire collection in one go.
2. Changing my mind: occasional essays by Zadie Smith
This is a fabulous collection of Zadie Smith’s book reviews, film reviews and non-fiction prose. Witty, honest and refreshing, it is a pleasure to dip in and out of.
3. Naked by David Sedaris
David Sedaris has cornered the market in humorous memoir based essays. The stories here are sardonic, wry and darkly hilarious with a touch of pathos and just the right amount of hindsight and self-knowledge to balance the comic absurdity.
4. Men explain things to me by Rebecca Solnit
The title essay of this book has gained iconic status since it was published but each of the essays in this book are powerful reminders of why we need feminism. Essential reading.
5. This is the story of a happy marriage by Ann Patchett
Ann Patchett is best known as a novelist but this book collects her earlier non-fiction articles. This is a fabulous collection of personal essays and memoir pieces that explore key moments in her life. Her writing is warm, engaging, and shining through with humour and kindness.