Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Essay Gift List picks from Ned Stuckey-French

I've got three book suggestions: one new, one pretty new in paperback, and one classic that I think essay lovers should have.

New - Steven Church, Ultrasonic: Essays (New Orleans: Lavendar Ink, 2014)
ISBN 978-1935084-70-9
180 pages: $12.95

Steven Church is a great essayist and editor. He turns an idea or image over and over, looking at it through stunning, beautiful prose and innovative forms until you see it in a new way, or several new ways.

New in Paper - Ned Stuckey-French, The American Essay in the American Century (Columbia: University of Missouri Press, paperback new in 2013).
Paperback   $25.00  272 pages
ISBN:     978-0-8262-2015-8

Well, I'm shamelessly plugging my own damn book so I'll at least have the decency (if I have any left) to let someone else say something about it: "I gobbled The American Essay in the American Century down and thought it was brilliant – the freshest, most insightful and creative contribution I’ve seen in a long time to the field. …Ned Stuckey-French has pulled off a tremendous feat." - Philip Lopate,1979.aspx?skuid=1286

E. B. White, One Man's Meat (Thomaston, ME: Tillbury House Publishers, 1997).
296 pages
978-0-88448-192-8 Paperback $16.95

This American classic was published first in 1942 and revised by White in 1944; in 1997, Tillbury House released this exquisite reprint with a new forward by White's stepson, Roger Angell. Written during the period when White left The New Yorker to write longer, more personal, more politically engaged essays for a monthly column in Harper's, these pieces explore life in small town Maine just prior to and during World War II. The book changed not only the direction of White's career, but that of the American essay as well. Of this period in his life, White later wrote: "Once in everyone’s life there is apt to be a period when he is fully awake, instead of half asleep.  I think of those five years in Maine as the time when this happened to me.  Confronted by new challenges, surrounded by new acquaintances—including the characters in the barnyard, who were later to reappear in Charlotte's Web—I was suddenly seeing, feeling, and listening as a child sees, feels, and listens.  It was one of those rare interludes that can never be repeated, a time of enchantment."

You can support small, alternative, and university presses by ordering these books directly from the publishers at the links listed above.


  1. shameless plugging > shamelessly plugging -- must have done this early in the morning or late at night.