Atkins's readings cover a wide spectrum of writers in the English language--and his readings are themselves essays, gracefully written, engaged, and engaging. Atkins starts with the earliest British practitioners of the form, including Francis Bacon, John Dryden, Alexander Pope, and Samuel Johnson. Transcendentalist writers Henry David Thoreau and Ralph Waldo Emerson are included, as are works by Americans James Baldwin, Zora Neale Hurston, and E. B. White. Atkins also provides readings of a number of contemporary essayists, among them Annie Dillard, Scott Russell Sanders, and Cynthia Ozick.
Many of the readings are of essays that Atkins has used successfully in the classroom, with undergraduate and graduate students, for many years. In his introduction Atkins offers practical advice on the specific demands essays make and the unique opportunities they offer, especially for college courses. The book ends with a note on the writing of essays, furthering the author's contention that reading should not be separated from writing.
Reading Essays continues in the tradition of such definitive texts as Understanding Poetry and Understanding Fiction. Throughout, Atkins reveals the joy, delight, grace, freedom, and wisdom of “the glorious essay.”
School Library Journal did a terrific, radiant job describing Melissa Sweet's latest biography.
"Elwyn Brooks White began his lifelong love affair with words at an early age. He published poems and stories while still a boy and went on to write cartoon captions, essays, reportorial pieces, and a great many letters, mainly on his manual typewriter, always with a dog or two by his side. Probably best known as a decades-long contributor to The New Yorker and the author of classic children’s books Charlotte’s Web, Stuart Little, and The Trumpet of the Swan, White also famously revised and expanded The Elements of Style, originally written by William Strunk Jr., his English professor at Cornell. Author, artist, and fellow Mainer Melissa Sweet brings White’s vivacious personality to life for young readers and covers his 86 years in her 176-page biography. She shares many of his words and ideas and riffs on them in her glorious full-color collage artwork. Sweet includes loads of photographs, sketches, and family realia for readers to pore over and appreciate. Some Writer! The Story of E. B. White is bound to be one of the biggest books of the fall season."
Tue, 10/04/2016 - 9:15am