She was American, but her culture was grounded in Mexico. In this way, she and her people were not fully respected in either of the countries.
This essay is an account of her journey of becoming the ambassador of the Chicano Mexican-American culture. In terms of style, this essay is flawless. Mary Ruefle — On Fear.
Most psychologists and gurus agree that fear is the greatest enemy of success or any creative activity. Mary Ruefle takes on this basic human emotion with flair. Susan Sontag — Against Interpretation. In this highly intellectual essay, Sontag fights for art and its interpretation. I always hated when at school they asked me: Hell if I know!
I will judge it through my subjective experience! This is a heartwarming, coming of age story about a young girl who waits for her breasts to finally grow. As it happens, the size of breasts is a big deal for women. Carl Sagan was one of the greatest proponents of skepticism, and an author of numerous books, including one of my all-time favorites — The Demon-Haunted World. He was also a renowned physicist and the host of the fantastic Cosmos: A Personal Voyage series, which inspired a whole generation to uncover the mysteries of the cosmos.
He was also a dedicated weed smoker — clearly ahead of his time. Internet is flooded with a large number of articles and videos that are supposed to tell you what to do with our lives. Most of them are worthless, but this one is different. Please, read the essay and let it help you gain fulfillment from your work. John Jeremiah Sullivan — Mister Lytle. A young, aspiring writer is about to become a nurse of a fading writer — Mister Lytle Andrew Nelson Lytle , and there will be trouble.
This essay by Sullivan is probably my favorite one from the whole list. The amount of beautiful sentences it contains is just overwhelming.
It also takes you to the Old South which has an incredible atmosphere. Joan Didion — On Self Respect. Normally, with that title you would expect some straightforward advice about how to improve your character and get on with your goddamn life — but not from Joan Didion. You can learn more from this essay than from whole books about self-improvement. Susan Sontag — Notes on Camp. After reading this essay, you will know what camp is. You will vastly increase your appreciation for art.
All the listicles we usually see on the web simply cannot compare with it. Ralph Waldo Emerson — Self-Reliance. Written in , it still inspires generations of people. It will let you understand what it means to be self-made. It contains some of the most memorable quotes of all time. Emerson told me and he will tell you to do something amazing with my life. The language it contains is a bit archaic but that just adds to the weight of the argument.
You can consider it to be a meeting with a great philosopher who really shaped the ethos of modern United States. He sees right through the hypocrisy and cruelty behind killing hundreds of thousands of innocent lobsters — by boiling them alive. This essay uncovers some of the worst traits of modern American peoples.
After reading this essay, you may reconsider the whole animal-eating business. The famous novelist and author of the most powerful commencement speech ever done is going to tell you about the joys and sorrows of writing a work of fiction. But you love that child and you want others to love it too.
If you ever plan to write a novel, you should definitely read that one. And the story about the Chinese farmer is just priceless. Margaret Atwood — Attitude. This is not an essay per se, but I included it in the list for the sake of variety. Soon after leaving the university, most graduates have to forget about safety, parties and travel, and start a new life — one filled with a painful routine that will last until they drop.
Read that one as soon as possible. To summarize the story would be to spoil it, so I recommend that you just dig in and devour this essay during one sitting. No need for flowery adjectives here. To me, Terence McKenna was one of the most interesting thinkers of the twentieth century. McKenna consumed psychedelic drugs for most of his life and it shows in a positive way. Many people consider him a looney, and a hippie, but he was so much more than that. He had the courage to go into the abyss of his own psyche, and come back to tell the tale.
He also wrote many books most famous being Food Of The Gods , built a huge botanical garden in Hawaii , lived with shamans, and was a connoisseur of all things enigmatic and obscure. Take a look at this essay, and learn more about the explorations of the subconscious mind.
Eudora Welty — The Little Store. By reading this little known essay, you will be transported into the world of the old American South. There are all these beautiful memories that live inside of us.
They lay somewhere deep in our minds, hidden from sight. The work by Eudora Welty is an attempt to uncover some of them and let you get reacquainted with some of the smells and tastes of the past. The Search for Marvin Gardens contains many layers of meaning.
It also presents a historical perspective on the rise and fall of civilizations, and on Atlantic City which once was a lively place, and then, slowly declined, the streets filled with dirt and broken windows.
A dead body at the bottom of the well makes for a beautiful literary device. Who was this woman? Why did she do it? Slouching Towards Bethlehem is one of the most famous collections of essays of all time. In it, you will find a curious piece called On Keeping A Notebook. This one touched me because I also lived in the New York City for a while. They go like this: As the sound of sirens faded, Tony descended into the dark world of hustlers and pimps.
Anyway, this essay is amazing in too many ways. You just have to read it. George Orwell — Reflections on Gandhi. George Orwell could see things as they were. No exaggeration, no romanticism — just facts. He recognized totalitarianism and communism for what they were and shared his worries through books like and Animal Farm. He took the same sober approach when dealing with saints and sages. Today, we regard Gandhi as one of the greatest political leaders of twentieth century — and rightfully so.
But did you know that when asked about the Jews during the World War II, Gandhi said that they should commit collective suicide, and that it: But overall he was a good guy. Read the essay and broaden your perspective on Bapu of the Indian Nation. George Orwell — Politics and the English Language. Orwell give you some writing tips. Written in , this essay is still one of the most helpful documents on writing in English.
Orwell was probably the first person who exposed the deliberate vagueness of political language. He was very serious about it and I admire his efforts to slay all unclear sentences including ones written by distinguished professors. To make this list more comprehensive, below I included twelve more essays you may find interesting. Oliver Sacks — On Libraries. Noam Chomsky — The Responsibility of Intellectuals. Chomsky did probably more than anyone else to define the role of intelligentsia in the modern world.
There is a war of ideas over there — good and bad — intellectuals are going to be those who ought to be fighting for the former. Sam Harris, now famous philosopher and neuroscientist, takes on the problem of gun control in United States. His thoughts are clear and free of prejudice. Author of the NYT best seller The 4-Hour Workweek shares an emotional story about how he almost killed himself, and what can you do to save yourself or your friends from suicide. Edward Said — Reflections on Exile.
The life of Edward Said was a truly fascinating one. Born in Jerusalem, he lived between Palestine and Egypt, and finally settled down in United States where he completed his most famous work — Orientalism.
In this essay, he shares his thoughts about what it means to be in exile. Richard Feynman is clearly one of the most interesting minds of the twentieth century. He was a brilliant physicist, but also an undeniably great communicator of science, an artist and a traveler. By reading this essay, you can observe his thought process when he tries to figure out what affects our perception of time. I like to think about Tagore as of my spiritual Friend.
His poems are just marvelous. In many ways, they are similar to some of the Persian verses that praise the love, nature and the unity of all things. And the best essays show that the name of the genre is also a verb, so they demonstrate a mind in process--reflecting, trying-out, essaying. Against a violent historical background, Baldwin recalls his deeply troubled relationship with his father and explores his growing awareness of himself as a black American.
However you view the racial politics, the prose is undeniably hypnotic, beautifully modulated and yet full of urgency. An essay that packed an enormous wallop at the time may make some of us cringe today with its hyperbolic dialectics and hyperventilated metaphysics. Odd, how terms can bounce back into life with an entirely different set of connotations. What might Mailer call the new hipsters? Read the essay here. I was familiar with it as an undergraduate, hearing it used often by a set of friends, department store window decorators in Manhattan.
But after Sontag unpacked the concept, with the help of Oscar Wilde, I began to see the cultural world in a different light. I roll the dice—a six and a two. Through the air I move my token, the flatiron, to Vermont Avenue, where dog packs range.
As the games progress and as properties are rapidly snapped up, McPhee juxtaposes the well-known sites on the board—Atlantic Avenue, Park Place—with actual visits to their crumbling locations. He goes to jail, not just in the game but in fact, portraying what life has now become in a city that in better days was a Boardwalk Empire. The essay was collected in Pieces of the Frame Read the essay here subscription required.
Annie Dillard, "Total Eclipse" originally appeared in Antaeus , I might have found such writing several decades earlier but in the 80s it was relatively rare; Lopate had found a creative way to insert the old familiar essay into the contemporary world: A question for nonfiction writing students: When writing a true story based on actual events, how does the narrator create dramatic tension when most readers can be expected to know what happens in the end?
I wish I could include twenty more essays but these ten in themselves comprise a wonderful and wide-ranging mini-anthology, one that showcases some of the most outstanding literary voices of our time. To subscribe, click here.
After the jump, our picks for the 25 greatest essay collections of all time. Feel free to disagree with us, praise our intellect, or create an entirely new list in the comments. The Book of My Lives, Aleksandar Hemon. Hemon’s memoir in essays is in turns wryly hilarious, intellectually searching, and deeply troubling.
Some of the most famous literary works are essays, written by great authors and writers. Essays span a variety of genres, including comedy, non-fiction, history, and current events. Essays span a variety of genres, including comedy, non-fiction, history, and .
Note: there are many, many, many great essays on writing. Bias has been extended here to personal favorites and those available to read online. Bias has been extended here to personal favorites and those available to read online. No matter what type of writing you like to read, you can't go wrong with a book by one of these best writers of all time. This list features the best writers ever, including, William Shakespeare, Jane Austen, Emily Bronte, Geoffrey Chaucer, Homer, Joseph Conrad, Charles Dickens, Herman Melleville, William Faulkner, and Edgar Allan Poe. Vote up .
Great Articles and Essays to Read Online - The Net's Best Nonfiction Must-read articles and essays by famous writers - the best examples of short articles and essays to read online - all-time great longform articles. Check the list, and you'll find online essays from the greatest authors of all time. This essay is all about writing better, so go to the source if you want the goodies. It’s almost like wandering around and peeking into the minds of the greatest writers and thinkers that ever lived. To make this list more comprehensive, below I.