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Explore Essays and memoir

Having and Being Had

Eula Biss

‘What does it say about capitalism that we have money and want to spend it but we can’t find anything worth buying?’


Ian Williams

‘The moment in childhood when one realizes that one is Black is profoundly disorienting.’

On Running

Larissa Pham

‘This makes more sense to me as a bodily practice: that desire to push one’s physical limits well beyond their natural bounds.’

Best Book of 1891: The Birds of Manitoba

Sylvia Legris

‘During the pandemic, birds (along with many insects and wild plants) have landed in my life and poems again.’

Best Book of 1978: Who Do You Think You Are?

Emily LaBarge

‘I have read them so often that sometimes I cannot remember what is mine and what is hers’

Best Book of 2019: Better Never Than Late

Ukamaka Olisakwe

‘This book is about how to navigate the thorny valley of dead dreams. Some will survive the ordeal; others will tip over the edge, irredeemable.’

Best Book of 1886: The Masterpiece

Summer Brennan

‘Zola’s characters are, in every sense of the term, art monsters.’

Best Book of 1959: Mrs Bridge

Sindya Bhanoo

‘When the book was published, my own parents were children in India, then a newly independent nation.’

Best Book of 1946: The Years of Anger

Robert Chandler

Robert Chandler on why The Years of Anger by Randall Swingler is the best book of 1946.

Best Book of 1480: MS Egerton 1821

Elvia Wilk

‘The original owners of many devotional books kissed, licked, rubbed, scratched at, and cried upon their pages.’ Elvia Wilk on the best book of 1480.

Best Book of 1998: Symbiotic Planet

Daisy Lafarge

‘Symbiogenesis is horizontal and anarchic, a frenzy of illicit fusions and mergers – energies coming together for mutual benefit.’

Daisy Lafarge on the best book of 1998.

Best Book of 1924: The Beggar

Bill Manhire

‘I still have, somewhere at the back of my head, the notion that there are real poets out there and that all the rest of us are just pretending.’

A Bleed of Blue

Amy Key

‘I was trying simultaneously to numb the grief I felt and to burrow into that grief, so I could stand in it.’