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Anonymous asked in Arts & HumanitiesBooks & Authors · 1 decade ago

Can anyone recommend a good book of essays?

I'm looking for a book of short 1-5 page essays which would make good reading before bed. Both humorous and serious books are fine, but I would prefer the essay topics to vary.

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  • Anonymous
    1 decade ago
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    I think this is a really good question, and I'd like to find such a book myself. So I did some research on amazon.com and came up with the following possibilities:

    First, don't rule out anthologies of essays put together for English composition classes. Here are two that look interesting.

    50 Essays: A Portable Anthology, 2nd ed., edited by Samuel Cohen, Bedford/St. Martins, $23.95, 528 pages.

    One Hundred Great Essays (Penguin Academics Series), 2nd ed., edited by Robert DiYanni, Longman, $37.60, 864 pages.

    Here is an anthology of quirky stories from the Wall St. Journal. The average length is less than five pages.

    Floating Off the Page: The Best Stories from The Wall Street Journal's "Middle Column", edited by Ken Wells, Free Press, $11.90, 304 pages.

    Two great anthologies of essays of varying lengths are the following:

    The Oxford Book of Essays, edited by John Gross, Oxford University Press, $15.26, 704 pages.

    The Norton Book of Personal Essays, edited by Joseph Epstein, Norton, $20.70, 477 pages.

    A form similar to the essay, but usually shorter, is the letter. This looks like an interesting anthology. It attempts to chronicle American history through the lens of individual letter writers:

    Letters of the Century: America 1900-1999, edited by Lisa Grunwald and Steven J. Adler, Dial Press, $23.10, 752 pages.

    My favorite letter writer is Flannery O'Connor:

    The Habit of Being: Letter of Flannery O'Connor, edited by Sally Fitzgerald, FSG, $15.62, 624 pages.

    Hope this gives you enough to go on!

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  • 1 decade ago

    You may try Francis Bacon's "Essays", his "Of Studies" is well-known and often-quoted in various articles. His narrative is precise and concise, you may skip the Latin parts (however, there're accompanying translations below for each page in a certain edition). For example:

    Some books are to be tasted, others to be swallowed, and some few to be chewed and digested.

    Reading maketh a full man; conference a ready man; and writing an exact man.

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  • Anonymous
    1 decade ago

    ANYTHING by David Sedaris is funnier than heck - and you will find me laughing out loud in bed. I really liked, "Me Talk Pretty One Day". It's the greatest book ever! He tells tales of his childhood - is often on NPR reading essays, makes appearances that sell out instantly, and is a GREAT storyteller of real life events. I guarantee you will love this, and all of his books!

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  • 1 decade ago

    Try Michele de Montaigne. He is the wisest person who ever lived. His essays range from short to long.

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  • 1 decade ago

    "The Best American Essays" series is always good. You can get the 2006, 2005,2004, etc. Go to Amazon and search around.

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  • 1 decade ago

    Well, for horror/sci-fi, John Saul is pretty good. Nora Roberts/JD Robb for romance/fantasy.

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