Jess Zimmerman$25.95 $24.13
A keen interrogation of the impact Greek female mythological creatures have had on Western culture, with a call to ways we might re-imagine and reclaim their legacy. A deft weaving of the author's personal experiences along with incisive yet accessible cultural criticism. See more at https://louisejulig.substack.com/p/when-you-cant-un-see-the-patterns
Leslie Jamison$17.99 $16.73
Leslie Jamison essays are both thoroughly researched and compellingly empathetic. She takes deep dives into her subject matter but doesn't ever forget that the beating hearts of her subjects, her readers, and herself lie at the center of each story.
Joan Didion$17.00 $15.81
The classic collection of Joan Didion works from the '60s. Personal favorites are On Keeping a Notebook, Goodbye to All That, and the title essay, an immersion into and commentary on the Haight Ashbury scene of 1968.
Roxane Gay$17.99 $16.73
Gay tackles popular culture, gender, politics, scrabble-playing, what it's like to be a first-year professor of color, and her sexual assault as a girl, all with aplomb and humanity.
Phoebe Robinson$16.00 $14.88
Funny and incisive, Robinson takes no prisoners, including herself, in these essays on modern life, racism, pop culture, and show business. The audiobook version showcases her distinctive delivery but her voice shines through no matter the medium.
Beth Ann Fennelly$13.95 $12.97
Micro-essays on family, marriage, and the literary life from Mississippi writer Beth-Ann Fennelly. On the lighter side but still satisfying.
Jo Ann Beard$15.99 $14.87
Beard's autobiographical essays use textured details to create layers of atmosphere that evoke her family and environment from childhood to adulthood. My particular favorites are the classic The Fourth State of Matter and the harrowing Out There.
This Will Be My Undoing: Living at the Intersection of Black, Female, and Feminist in (White) America
Morgan Jerkins$15.99 $14.87
Morgan Jerkins feels like the Millennial inheritor of Roxane Gay's torch. Her collection explores her experience being bullied in school, attending Princeton as one of a small number of Black Women, and other experiences of feminism in a Black body.
Scott Carrier$15.95 $14.83
Carrier's compact essays, some which were originally broadcast on This American Life, cover the hardscrabble, the out-of the way, the stories to the side of the main story that might get overlooked. The whole collection is tied together with a string of short pieces chronicling his obsession with attempting to run down a pronghorn antelope.
David Sedaris$17.99 $16.73
I couldn't decide if Sedaris should be in LGBTQ+ Memoirs or Voice-driven personal essay collections, so I've got one each of my favorites in each list. This is probably my favorite Sedaris book. My daughter and I were howling listening to the audiobook on a mother-daughter road trip.
Nadia Bolz-Weber$17.00 $15.81
Nadia Bolz-Weber is a contemporary Lutheran pastor and is not like any other Christian writer. She manages to make these essays of her encounters with the "accidental saints" she encounters in her congregation and her life both irreverent and reverent at the same time. No sickly-sweet saccharine here or shying away from the grittier aspects of life.
Joan Didion$17.00 $15.81
This collection of Didion's essays from the late '60s opens with the classic line from the title essay, "We tell ourselves stories in order to live." Well worth reading. Personal favorites are Holy Water, Good Citizens, In Bed, and At the Dam.
Joseph Mitchell$18.95 $17.62
These works by the New Yorker writer from the late '30s to early '60s are not personal essays but still very much voice-driven. Worth reading both for the snapshots of ground-level New York history as well as for Mitchell's meticulously crafted sentences. Not to be rushed. Personal favorites besides the title essay are The Old House at Home, A Mess of Clams, and all the essays in the section The Bottom of the Harbor.