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Dorothy highly recommended the Lopate to me, and I was lucky enough to find a copy this fall. I don't know if I'll open it any time soon but I am very much looking forward to reading it, and reading your posts.

On essays, I saw a book on someone's blog called Delights by J.B. Priestley that I've ordered from It's a collection of short essays about the "small pleasures of life" ie walking in a pine forest, etc. I'm very much looking forward to its arrival!

P.S. Your stitching in the previous post is beautiful as always; congratulations for finishing the Christmas piece!


Debby--I think the Lopate book is going to be good and now that I have the intro down am looking forward to finally getting to the actual essays. I will look for the Priestley book, too, it sounds perfect really. I've been bad and have made two different orders from TBD in the last week (though two books were really cheap preorders!). Thanks for the mention of the stitching. It felt good to actually finish something and even during my break from work! Now I'll have to look for something Spring-ish to help counter all the winter blues (too much snow--ugh).


I love Anne Fadiman's essays. Very much a must for all book-lovers.


Off to a good start it seems. Perhaps you can try your hand at essays by writing essays about the essays you read :) I look forward to following along.


The Lopate book is supposed to be really good! A friend of mine did her masters degree specialty on the personal essay, and she really liked that book. Good luck!I'm all about essays. For a really funny/insightful collection, try The Partly Cloudy Patriot, by Sarah Vowell.

Dorothy W.

I love Lopate's introduction -- it's one of the best discussions of the genre I've come across. If you want more essay anthologies, I've always really liked the Best American Essays series, and they often have introductions that say good things about the genre too. David Foster Wallace's intro in the 2007 edition was so good it's what made me want to read more Wallace, and Adam Gopnik's intro in the 2008 edition is great as well. That series would be a good place to look for more recent essays. I would suggest skipping around in the Lopate book and reading what sounds good, especially since sometimes the older essays are a bit harder to get into. But then again, I usually read anthologies straight through, so I don't even follow my own advice!


Ellen--Isn't she great? I have read Ex Libris and have a little book of essays about rereading books, too.
Stefanie--You know until I read that introduction I didn't realize an essay had so much to it. Maybe by the end of the year I can try my hand--it might be fun. For now I'll watch the experts!
Andi--What a fun thing to study and the Lopate book seems chock full of good stuff. I will add Vowell to my list--I've been interested in her actually, so this gives me an excuse to get one of her books!
Dorothy--He does go quite in depth about essay writing--after reading the intro I didn't have the energy to start on the essays yesterday, but now I am ready to read! I think I have the 2008 anthology that Adam Gopnik edited (and I love his writing anyway). My library has the full set of the Best Short Stories, but not of the essays, which is a shame. I am sure I can find some good books to buy though (a nice excuse). And I think I will pick and choose--I tend to be anal about how I approach my reading sometimes, but I think I will enjoy reading the essays more if I'm not tied down to reading in a special order. Thanks for the heads up about older essays--the Lopate starts with people like Seneca and Plutarch, which scares me a little. I'll definitely try them, but maybe not right off the bat.


I hope you have a great time discovering Essays. I wouldn't even know where to start with this one really. I'll be looking for some suggestions from your reviews!


I really must try to get hold of this book - it looks so good! I have The Oxford Book of Essays that I have yet to properly dip into. I must hook it off the shelf. I thought your post was extremely interesting and find the whole topic of the essay a most intriguing one!


Iliana--I'm not entirely sure where to start either as there is so much out there to read. It's nice having some anthologies to draw from though.
Litlove--This seems like a really good reference book and it's chock full of essays. I'm afraid I've offered no new insight--just paraphrased what I read, but it was a nice introduction and gave me lots to think about.

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