Staff Pick Badge
Reborn: Journals and Notebooks, 1947-1963 Cover Image
By Susan Sontag, David Rieff (Editor)
$19.00
ISBN: 9780312428501
Availability: On Our Shelves Now - Available to ship to your home
Published: Picador - October 27th, 2009

Reading writers' diaries so often feel beside-the-point, but this volume of Sontag's notebooks, following her from ages 16 to 30, is gorgeous just as a reading experience unto itself. You don't need to have read Sontag's essays or be deeply familiar with her work to enjoy her journals, although they will be a salve if you've ever found her work 'dry' or 'cold.' Here is the feelingsy flip-side of the intellectual, the ephemera of a genius's day-to-day. High points: Susan Sontag at 16, after just having sex for the first time, discoursing on life. Sontag at 20, married, with a two year old. Sontag in Paris, hopelessly in love with a woman who spurns her. Sontag, reading.

-Madeleine


Staff Pick Badge
Susan Sontag: The Complete Rolling Stone Interview Cover Image
$15.00
ISBN: 9780300199024
Availability: On Our Shelves Now - Available to ship to your home
Published: Yale University Press - October 28th, 2014

I've taken much solace, in wake of current circumstances, reading this lengthy interview circa 1978. It's relatively light, but in context even that is a flood of introspection and perspective that puts '16 in digestible illumination.

-Doug


Staff Pick Badge
A Question Mark Above the Sun: Documents on the Mystery Surrounding a Famous Poem
By Kent Johnson, Eric Lorberer (Preface by), David Koepsell (Foreword by)
Unavailable, our apologies.
ISBN: 9780983740551
Availability: Special order, subject to availability. Arrives in our store in 10+ days if available
Published: Starcherone Books - October 16th, 2012

Part study of the beautiful relationship between two famed School Poets, part in depth analysis of ‘A True Account of Talking to the Sun On Fire Island’ this ‘thought experiment’ is unique in its approach. Johnson’s theory that Frank O’Hara’s most famous poem wasn’t written by him at all feels like a mashup of Anne Carson, a lit-crit review, & a modernist, deeply academic, murder mystery novel, ultimately begging the question: does it matter who wrote it?

-Jeff


Staff Pick Badge
Never a Lovely So Real: The Life and Work of Nelson Algren Cover Image
$39.95
ISBN: 9780393244519
Availability: On Our Shelves Now - Available to ship to your home
Published: W. W. Norton & Company - April 16th, 2019

Nelson Algren was one of the greatest American writers of the 20th century (I implore you to please read Man With the Golden Arm alongside this extraordinary biography.) As Colin Asher explains, the reason you've likely never heard of, let alone read, Algren, is due to the interference and harassment of the FBI, the sheer extent of which has not been known until now. Algren is a prime example of a talented communist artist of the 30s and 40s who was punished, hounded, and driven into obscurity by the machinations of the Red Scare in the 50s. A beautiful book in and of itself, this biography of Algren should also be vital reading for writers of today's left.

-Madeleine


Staff Pick Badge
Call Me Ishmael Cover Image
By Charles Olson, Merton M. Sealts (Afterword by)
$29.00
ISBN: 9780801857317
Availability: On Our Shelves Now - Available to ship to your home
Published: Johns Hopkins University Press - November 28th, 1997

You've finished Moby-Dick and you want to keep riding the high. This is how. A century after Moby-Dick, Charles Olson traces Moby-Dick's real-life and literary origins. Melville and Olson inhabit the same weather-beaten New England literary realm, and this groundbreaking text is infused with the trademark style that made Olson a cult classic American poet. Among the most interesting ideas explored is how there are two Moby-Dicks, tied together by Hamlet.

-Gleb


Staff Pick Badge
Letters from Max: A Poet, a Teacher, a Friendship Cover Image
$16.00
ISBN: 9781571313751
Availability: On Our Shelves Now - Available to ship to your home
Published: Milkweed Editions - September 10th, 2019

LETTERS TO A YOUNG POET, THE FAULT IN OUR STARS, and the life of John Keats all rolled into one - sealed together by the unknowable logic of real life and the unshakable generosity of two brilliant minds. The purest book you'll read this year.

-Derek


Staff Pick Badge
Marcel Proust: A Life (Penguin Lives) Cover Image
$15.00
ISBN: 9780143114987
Availability: On Our Shelves Now - Available to ship to your home
Published: Penguin Books - February 24th, 2009

Everything You Always Wanted to Know About Marcel (But Were Afraid to Ask). Albertine-Erotics for People in a Hurry. How to Win the Prix Goncourt and Influence (Many, Many) People. Call it what you will, but Edmund White's compact biography is perfect for the uninitiated reader, and for those who have lost some time over Proust already, it provides a focused lens through which to further understand the enigmatic man and his singular work.

-Derek


Staff Pick Badge
A Life in Letters: A New Collection Edited and Annotated by Matthew J. Bruccoli Cover Image
$30.99
ISBN: 9780684801537
Availability: In Stock at Publisher - Available to ship to your home
Published: Scribner - May 3rd, 1995

It's always nice to discover that one of your favorite writers is also a decent human being. Meeting Fitzgerald via his letters felt like the opposite experience. Fitzgerald's disdain for the distractions he himself was unable to resist becomes clearest in the letters to his daughter, Frances Scott. Overbearing, relentlessly critical (and written with his usual flair for the perfect cadence) they show his concern that she not embrace a world of cheap thrills and "beautiful little fools." What makes this so compelling is that Fitzgerald could well be talking to himself.

-Alice


Staff Pick Badge
The Practice of Diaspora: Literature, Translation, and the Rise of Black Internationalism Cover Image
$37.50
ISBN: 9780674011038
Availability: On Our Shelves Now - Available to ship to your home
Published: Harvard University Press - July 10th, 2003

An attentive excavation of the affinities linking the Harlem Renaissance to its French contemporaries, and a robust argument for a radical literary internationalism.

-Cam


Staff Pick Badge
This Little Art Cover Image
$20.00
ISBN: 9781910695456
Availability: On Our Shelves Now - Available to ship to your home
Published: Fitzcarraldo Editions - April 17th, 2018

A book about translation, which is to say that it is really a book about writing, the act of creation, a meditation on reading. Briggs digs deep into the idea of what a translation is, from her own translation of Barthes, to the contested translations of Thomas Mann and Han Kang - she helps you understand how the way you move in an aerobics class is a translation of the aerobics instructor, and the way that 'papadum peach' is a perfectly valid translation of 'papa don't preach'.

-Madeleine


Staff Pick Badge
Eros the Bittersweet (American Literature (Dalkey Archive)) Cover Image
$14.95
ISBN: 9781564781888
Availability: On Our Shelves Now - Available to ship to your home
Published: Dalkey Archive Press - March 1st, 1998

Essential reading for those who've ever used an alphabet or fallen in love. This is literary criticism for the impassioned, who are seized by the need to write romantic notes, songs, and poems, but are also curious to understand why they're doing so. The answers are traceable to the very birth of writing.

-Matt


Staff Pick Badge
The Diaries of Franz Kafka, 1910-1923 (The Schocken Kafka Library) Cover Image
$18.00
ISBN: 9780805209068
Availability: On Our Shelves Now - Available to ship to your home
Published: Schocken - October 30th, 1988

Quietly the best thing Kafka produced. Highlights include that the diary is his dream journal, and that it is often difficult to tell when it is serving that purpose. A book to dip into at random. Best read in the dark or in the fog.

-Walter


Staff Pick Badge
Why This World: A Biography of Clarice Lispector Cover Image
$22.95
ISBN: 9780199895823
Availability: On Our Shelves Now - Available to ship to your home
Published: Oxford University Press, USA - May 1st, 2012

A fascinating and mind and life, treated with love by a dedicated and skilled biographer. As much as one person can ever become expert in another, Moser has done so here, fully immersing himself in Lispector's history and interweaving it with her work, as those things, for her, were inseparable. Reading this book, I felt intimately connected to the life of a woman who died nearly a decade before I was born, in a country I've never visited. I gained a fresh, variegated understanding of her works, which I had already grown to love, and had thought I knew well -- overall, this was a delightful, surprising, and captivating reading experience.

-Sarah G.


Staff Pick Badge
Ugly Feelings Cover Image
$26.00
ISBN: 9780674024090
Availability: On Our Shelves Now - Available to ship to your home
Published: Harvard University Press - March 1st, 2007

Great lit knows of the great passions but what of the feels in between? The ones that fuel, say, everyday life in a great capitalist city like New York? The palpably hushed affects inspired by a stuffed subway stuck between stations, or an indeterminately rank sidewalk, or your second bike stolen this year. Raise denied, catcalled, Wall Street guy's real nice leather loafers. Accidentally ordered the wrong green juice, no cabs when it’s raining, tourists dumb-skipping the four-lane line at Whole Foods. Is my skin as bad as Dr. Zizmor mirrors? Will she text for a second date? Debt collectors got your work number! Shit. Envy, irritation, anxiety, paranoia, disgust—how ugly do you feel today?

-Fiona


Staff Pick Badge
Poetic Form: An Introduction (Cambridge Introductions to Literature) Cover Image
$32.99
ISBN: 9780521774994
Availability: In Stock at Publisher - Available to ship to your home
Published: Cambridge University Press - October 31st, 2012

An academic but completely readable investigation of the relationship between form and meaning.

-Sarah G.


Staff Pick Badge
After Kathy Acker: A Literary Biography (Semiotext(e) / Active Agents) Cover Image
$16.95
ISBN: 9781635900569
Availability: On Our Shelves Now - Available to ship to your home
Published: Semiotext(e) - August 14th, 2018

Not only one brilliant, innovative NY art-world writer telling the life-story of another brilliant, innovative NY art-world writer, this book seems to me essential reading for anyone who writes, or wants to write, or is a woman, or lives in New York, or has been alive in the last fifty years. Basically everyone.

-Madeleine


Staff Pick Badge
The Mausoleum of Lovers: Journals 1976a 1991 Cover Image
By Hervé Guibert, Nathanaël (Translator)
$19.95
ISBN: 9781937658229
Availability: On Our Shelves Now - Available to ship to your home
Published: Nightboat Books - May 1st, 2014

A book written over a lifetime, destined to be treasured throughout yours. Brilliant, witty, dreamlike and endlessly insistently sexy, this is Nin meets Robbe-Grillet, Pessoa with a libido. It's easily one of the best books of this or any other year.

-Dustin


Staff Pick Badge
Translation as Transhumance Cover Image
By Mireille Gansel, Ros Schwartz (Translator)
$14.95
ISBN: 9781558614444
Availability: On Our Shelves Now - Available to ship to your home
Published: Feminist Press - November 14th, 2017

A delicate work, of life through translation. It's amazing to think that an understanding of hegemonic American wars could be gained through a book ostensibly about poetry and lit in translation. One of the weirdest works I've read since Valeria Luiselli's The Story of My Teeth: equally indefinable, far less maddening, more warming.

-Doug


Staff Pick Badge
The Journal of Henry David Thoreau, 1837-1861 Cover Image
$22.95
ISBN: 9781590173213
Availability: On Our Shelves Now - Available to ship to your home
Published: NYRB Classics - November 24th, 2009

Open this book to any page, read any entry, and you will find a beautiful account of something Henry David Thoreau saw in nature once. From comparing the way ice clings to different types of trees to meditating on the behavior of frogs, fungi, and everything else, Thoreau’s journal will make you want to find the nearest patch of woods and sit in quiet observation of the amazing and diverse forms that life takes on our planet.

-Tim


Staff Pick Badge
How to Suppress Women's Writing Cover Image
By Joanna Russ, Jessa Crispin (Foreword by)
$19.95
ISBN: 9781477316252
Availability: On Our Shelves Now - Available to ship to your home
Published: University of Texas Press - April 17th, 2018

A fire demanding kindling. Burn, baby. Burn.

-Cristin


Staff Pick Badge
Tragedy, the Greeks, and Us Cover Image
$26.95
ISBN: 9781524747947
Availability: On Our Shelves Now - Available to ship to your home
Published: Pantheon - April 16th, 2019

With his signature mix of academic precision and laconic humor, Critchley portrays tragedy as not only a literary genre but a mode of experience. We're always struggling with uncertainty and moral ambiguity, conspiring with our fate without even knowing it, and haunted by a past that refuses to die. Part historical exploration of how theater was produced and consumed in classical Athens, part ethico-philosophical treatise on the impossibility of the Platonic dream of a thoroughly intelligible and navigable reality, Critchley's book makes the world of the ancient Greeks feel surprisingly close to ours.

-Cosmo


Staff Pick Badge
Against Interpretation: And Other Essays Cover Image
$18.00
ISBN: 9780312280864
Availability: On Our Shelves Now - Available to ship to your home
Published: Picador - August 25th, 2001

You thought you knew what camp was. But did you know that a Tiffany Lamp is camp, while a garden gnome is kitsch? We have Susan Sontag to thank for being so keenly interested in a seemingly benign subject that we now understand its meaning thoroughly and exactly. Now go watch some nunsploitation.

-Rachel


Staff Pick Badge
Minor Characters: A Beat Memoir Cover Image
By Joyce Johnson, Ann Douglas (Introduction by)
$16.00
ISBN: 9780140283570
Availability: On Our Shelves Now - Available to ship to your home
Published: Penguin Books - July 1st, 1999

Hey, remember how women aren't just minor characters in men's stories? Johnson's memoir is a thoughtful and fascinating literary coming of age story set in 1950s New York, as she fought against the prevailing idea that women couldn't be worthwhile writers. Johnson also happened to be dating a certain writer when his book On the Road made him famous overnight. Read this for background on the Beats if that's your thing, but also read it for Mary Karr, Yoko Ono, Hettie Jones, Joyce Maynard, and other women artists who have been cast as onlookers to a man's genius.

-Katy


Staff Pick Badge
Henry and June: From
$14.95
ISBN: 9780156400572
Availability: On Our Shelves Now - Available to ship to your home
Published: Mariner Books - October 29th, 1990

For the dude in your life who worships at the pillar of Miller’s priapic prose.

-Fiona


Staff Pick Badge
Letters to a Young Poet Cover Image
$12.95
ISBN: 9780393310399
Availability: On Our Shelves Now - Available to ship to your home
Published: W. W. Norton & Company - September 17th, 1993

Dispatches from the unfathomable depths of Rilke's empathy. How did he know that you, yes, specifically you, were someday going to need these letters?

-Matt