Violation: Collected Essays


Product Details

$18.95  $17.62
Hawthorne Books
Publish Date
5.5 X 9.0 X 0.9 inches | 1.0 pounds
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About the Author

Sallie Tisdale is the author of seven books, including Talk Dirty to Me (Doubleday, 1994) and The Best Thing I Ever Tasted (Riverhead, 2000), a finalist for the James Beard Award for Writing. Her memoir Stepping Westward (Henry Holt, 1992) was named one of the 100 Notable Books of the West. Her most recent book is Women of the Way (HarperCollins, 2006). Her essays have appeared in such publications as Harper's, Antioch Review, Conjunctions, The Threepenny Review, The New Yorker, Tricycle, Creative Nonfiction, and Esquire. Tisdale is the 2013 recipient of the Regional Arts and Culture Council Literary Fellowship. She has received an NEA Fellowship in Belle Lettres, a Pushcart Prize, the James Phelan Literary Award, the American Journal of Nursing Book of the Year award, and a Pope Foundation Award, and she was a Dorothy and Arthur Shoenfeldt Distinguished Writer of the Year.

Tisdale's essay Scars won the Council for the Advancement and Support of Education National Gold Medal for feature writing. Her work has been reprinted in many anthologies, including Best American Spiritual Writing, Best Buddhist Writing, and Best American Science Writing. She has been a guest writer and teacher at several institutions, including the University of California, Davis, the University of Montana, New York University, the Medill School of Journalism, Antioch University West, Reed College, and the Omega Institute. She was a judge for the National Book Award in 2010. She is a member of PEN. She lives in Portland, OR.


A Buddhist woman who's written about porn. Do you really need another reason to read her?-- Julia Lipscomb, Inlander

Violation: Collected Essays
Most Anticipated, Too: The Great 2016 Nonfiction Book Preview
The Millions

GROUNDBREAKING. A career-defining book. -The New Yorker

Throughout the collection, an ethos of self-effacement and clear-eyed commitment to her subjects seems to embody this tenet, even though Tisdale knows that writing and self-effacement are mutually exclusive. Nothing is objective, no matter how hard she labors to make it seem so. She is haunted by her failures of truth and objectivity. "Only I know how carefully I've held the light so that the shadows fall just so," she says. "Artlessness is one of the most difficult effects of all."
Katie Pelletier, The Portland Mercury

Her sentences are astounding, somehow elegant and earthy both. An essay is a place to spend time in somebody else's head listening to their thoughts, and Tisdale's mind is a fascinating place to be.

Portland writer Sally Tisdale is one of Oregon's true literary treasures.

Sallie Tisdale's lovely essays shouldn't exist given that they perfectly capture the impossibility of writing.
Katy Waldman, Slate

The "perfume" of Sallie Tisdale's work will be enticing to all readers enamored of the essay form.
Lee Polevoi, Foreword Reviews

Compassion and empathy inform these gracefully wrought essays.

Sallie Tisdale is the real thing, a writer who thinks like a philosopher, observes like a journalist and sings on the page like a poet; in other words, the consummate and perfect essayist. She knocked my socks off when I first discovered her decades ago and now, reading this collection, I realize I haven't found them since. Violation contains important work from an important writer. I'm so glad it's out in the world.
Meghan Daum, author of The Unspeakable: And Other Subjects of Discussion

I read Sallie Tisdale and within a few sentences I am under her spell. It matters not whether she's writing about the tyranny of weight loss, the startling lives of blow flies, or what it's like to work in an oncology ward (she is a dedicated nurse as well as a brilliant writer), I'm all in, all the time. I will go anywhere she wants to take me. An alternate image--climbing into a submarine with Tisdale at the controls and diving down down down, into her singular sensibility, her genius for language, her love of our deeply imperfect world.
Karen Karbo, author of Julia Child Rules: Lessons on Savoring Life

That Sallie Tisdale's a treasure comes as no secret to lovers of the essay, and yet this happy gathering that spans the decades is revelatory, a fascinating look at the epic wanderings of a life mapped by curiosity. Here we get elephants and houseflies, diets and fires, birth and the debris of death, all the mixed and messy vitality of family life. We travel far and we travel wide, but in the end we circle home to Tisdale herself, vulnerable and available, intimate and encouraging, our guide and our friend, her questioning presence lighting the way and celebrating it all, every little step in life's saga, one lovely sentence at a time.
Charles D'Ambrosio, author of Loitering: New and Collected Essays

Sallie Tisdale's Violation is a writer's bible and a reader's best friend. Bold and wise, galvanizing and grounding, Tisdale's essays are propulsive and frightening in their poignance and content. This is the essay collection you'll want to have with you on that hypothetical desert island.
Chloe Caldwell, author of Legs Get Led Astray and Women

Sallie Tisdale possesses one of the most companionable and inquisitive voices in contemporary American nonfiction. She is guided by a restless, humane intelligence. And her range! Who else can write about Moray eels and obscene phone calls, about the harrowing work of firefighters and the dreamy effects of laughing gas, all the while unearthing the deeper meanings of the world around us? Mortality, desire, love, loss: these are Tisdale's underlying subjects, and in Violation, she brings them to life with bracing clarity and unfailing insight.
Bernard Cooper, author of The Bill From My Father

I've long admired Sallie Tisdale's essays, and this collection brandishes her impressive strengths: she's complicit without being woebegone, she's philosophical without being windy or airy, and she's empathetic without being hand-wringing.
David Shields, author of Life Is Short --Art Is Shorter: In Praise of Brevity

In essay, memoir, and literary journalism, Sallie Tisdale writes with fierce and finely-tuned attention to what she calls "ordinary things, the journey of grime and wonder through the world." Abortion, elephants, female identity, family history, eating and dieting, her Buddhist view of living and dying, her work as an oncology nurse, the ethics of writing nonfiction--whatever her focus, she is never content with an easy resolution or anything less than the most nuanced, most honest, most finely-crafted account she is capable of. Readers may not always agree with her, but they will know they've been in the company of an articulate intelligence thinking out loud in graceful and incisive prose.
John Daniel, author of Rogue River Journal and Looking After

Women of the Way: Discovering 2500 Years of Buddhist Wisdom
An enlivening and indispensable volume.
Jane Hirshfield, author of Women in Praise of the Sacred: 43 Centuries of Spiritual Poetry by Women

Tisdale's descriptive writing is especially imaginative.
Publishers Weekly

A well-written, deeply moving collection of stories.... Fanciful and eminently readable.

With her frank and thoughtful writing style, Tisdale takes the reader on a philosophical adventure....
East West Woman

[A] beautifully crafted volume. The universal wisdom and enlightened thinking preserved in this collection transcend gender.

A much-needed account of feminine teachers and leaders in Buddhism.
Kansas City Star

The Best Thing I Ever Tasted: The Secret of Food
Tisdale's forte lies in helping readers to see the big picture, in which she ties together history, folklore, personal anecdote and sharp analysis to show that we truly are what we eat.
Publisher's Weekly

[V]ery interesting and entertaining...Tisdale's coverage of food writers is very good.
Library Journal

Tisdale is the Zen Buddhist Antichrist to her mother of the perpetual TV dinner.
Kirkus Reviews

Sallie Tisdale takes subjects that might seem mundane or overdone and renders them unforgettable.
San Francisco Examiner

She's an easy, chatty writer who never says anything the way you're expecting, which makes reading her a pleasure.
Boston Globe

This book reminds us to be mindful of every mouthful.
Philadelphia Inquirer

Talk Dirty to Me: An Intimate Philosophy of Sex
Tisdale's provocative look at sexuality relates personal experiences alongside meditations on subjects such as pornography and prostitution.
Publishers Weekly

A beautiful book.
Library Journal

Great intelligence, humor and curiosity . . . whether or not you're taken aback by [Tisdale's] desires, you'll definitely exit her book with something to talk about.

These essays on sexuality, gender and censorship offer the relief of a voice that is unmuffled by inhibitions.

Tisdale renders, with delectable eloquence, the sheer enormity of the sexual impulse. . . . These are conversations we need to be having, with as much of Tisdale's bracing honesty as we can muster.
Seattle Weekly

No doubt will raise both hackles and consciousness.

Tisdale [has] managed to put her finger squarely on the hot button of public opinion.
The Boston Globe

Stepping Westward: The Long Search for Home in the Pacific Northwest
An odd and lovely work.
Kirkus Reviews

Tisdale has produced a loving, literate work that Northwest libraries will certainly want to add to their collections. Other, larger libraries may find this a helpful introduction to the area as well.
Library Journal

[V]ividly written... First serial to the New Yorker.
Publishers Weekly

Ambitious, affectionate, sorrowful rhapsody... Tisdale's voice is fluid and richly varied...
Chicago Tribune

(Tisdale's) prose is music for the mind's ear.
Seattle Times

Conjures the Northwest in a rare and magical way...This book will make you hit the road.
Craig Lesley author of Burning Fence: A Western Memoir of Fatherhood

Tisdale's portrait of her home territory is personal and ingenuous.
The Los Angeles Times

Lot's Wife: Salt and the Human Condition
A rare book about a common subject.
Richard Selzer

Harvest Moon: Portrait of a Nursing Home
A rare combination of candor, compassion and deft art. I recommend this book to anyone seriously intending to grow old.
Josh Greenfield

The Sorcerer's Apprentice: Medical Miracles and Other Disasters
Thought-provoking and often controversial.
Library Journal

Violation, a career-spanning essay collection...this is a goldmine, a windfall of finely-tuned essays that manage to maintain a certain spontaneity. The title essay, and the book's centerpiece, is perhaps among the greatest essays about truth in nonfiction ever written.