"Once you tune your brain into D’Ambrosio’s strange and beautiful frequency, you’ll find yourself searching for it the rest of your days. These are funny, ravishing, and deeply honest works of prose, marbled with lexical pleasures. That these legendary essays are finally available to a wide readership is cause for a national holiday."
—Anthony Doerr, author of All the Light We Cannot See
Charles D’Ambrosio’s essay collection Orphans spawned something of a cult following. In the decade since the tiny limited-edition volume sold out its print run, its devotees have pressed it upon their friends, students, and colleagues, only to find themselves begging for their copy’s safe return. For anyone familiar with D’Ambrosio’s writing, this enthusiasm should come as no surprise. His work is exacting and emotionally generous, often as funny as it is devastating. Loitering gathers those eleven original essays with new and previously uncollected work, so that a broader audience might discover one of our great living essayists. No matter his subject—Native American whaling, a Pentecostal “hell house,” Mary Kay Letourneau, the work of J.D. Salinger, or, most often, his own family—D’Ambrosio approaches each piece with a singular voice and point of view; each essay, while unique and surprising, is unmistakably his own.
Since 1984, Literary Arts has welcomed many of the world’s most renowned authors and storytellers to its stage for one of the country’s largest lectures series. Sold-out crowds congregate at Portland’s Arlene Schnitzer Concert Hall to hear these writers’ discuss their work and their thoughts on the trajectory of contemporary literature and culture. In celebration of Literary Arts’ thirty-year anniversary, Tin House Books has collected highlights from the series in a single volume. Whether it’s Wallace Stegner exploring how we use fiction to make sense of life or Ursula K. Le Guin on where ideas come from, Margaret Atwood on the need for complex female characters or Robert Stone on morality and truth in literature, Edward P. Jones on the role of imagination in historical novels or Marilynne Robinson on the nature of beauty, these essays illuminate not just the world of letters but the world at large.
|"The Other Side [is] written with both fury and restraint. The reader feels pulled onto a fast train, in a compartment with a narrator telling an intimate and terrifying tale."
—Wall Street Journal
|Lacy Johnson was held prisoner in a soundproofed room in a basement apartment that her ex-boyfriend rented and outfitted for the sole purpose of raping and killing her. She escaped, but not unscathed. The Other Side is the haunting account of a first passionate and then abusive relationship, the events leading to Johnson’s kidnapping and imprisonment, her dramatic escape, and her hard-fought struggle to recover. At once thrilling, terrifying, harrowing, and hopeful, The Other Side offers more than just a true crime record. In language both stark and poetic, Johnson weaves together a richly personal narrative with police reports, psychological evaluations, and neurobiological investigations, provoking both troubling and timely questions about gender roles and the epidemic of violence against women.|
“Her prose resembles the shimmering complexity of bop, with its feelings of tight yet improvisational dartings through memory. From the slag heap of the junkie lifestyle, she manages to spin literary gold.”
|A. J. Albany's recollection of life with her father, the great jazz pianist Joe Albany, is the story of one girl's unsentimental education. Joe played with the likes of Charles Mingus, Lester Young, and Charlie Parker, but between gigs he slipped into drug-induced obscurity. It was during these times that his daughter knew him best. After her mother disappeared, six-year-old Amy Jo and her charming, troubled father set up housekeeping in a seamy Hollywood hotel. While Joe finished a set in some red-boothed dive, chances were you'd find Amy curled up to sleep on someone's fur coat, clutching a 78 of Louis Armstrong's "Sugar Blues" or, later, a photograph of the man himself, inscribed, "To little Amy Jo, always in love with you--Pops."
Wise beyond her years and hip to the unpredictable ways of Old Lady Life at all too early an age, A. J. Albany guides us through the dope and deviance of the late 1960s and early 1970s in Hollywood's shadowy underbelly and beyond. What emerges is a raw, gripping, and surprisingly sympathetic portrait of a young girl trying to survive among the outcasts, misfits, and artists who surrounded her.
“There is no better path to the heart of a great writer’s expression than keen intuition born of deep regard, and no one more likely to have both than a fellow writer. This collection of master reader-writers appraising their admirations is not in the least predictable. Turn the pages: surprise, surprise, surprise!”
—Sven Birkerts, author of Reading Life: Books for the Ages and The Gutenberg Elegies: The Fate of Reading in an Electronic Age
|In the second volume of The Story About the Story, editor J. C. Hallman continues to argue for an alternative to the staid five-paragraph-essay writing that has inoculated so many against the effects of good books. Writers have long approached writing about reading from an intensely personal perspective, incorporating their pasts and their passions into their process of interpretation. Never before collected in a single volume, the many essays Hallman has compiled build on the idea of a "creative criticism," and offers new possibilities for how to write about reading.
The Story About the Story Vol. II documents not only an identifiable trend in writing about books that can and should be emulated, it also offers lessons from a remarkable range of celebrated authors that amount to an invaluable course on both how to write and how to read well. Whether they discuss a staple of the canon (Thomas Mann on Leo Tolstoy), the merits of a contemporary (Vivian Gornick on Grace Paley), a pillar of genre-writing (Jane Tompkins on Louis L’Amour), or, arguably, the funniest man on the planet (David Shields on Bill Murray), these essays are by turns poignant, smart, suggestive, intellectual, humorous, sassy, scathing, laudatory, wistful, and hopeful—and above all deeply engaged in a process of careful reading. The essays in The Story About the Story Vol. II chart a trajectory that digs deep into the past and aims toward a future in which literature can play a new and more profound role in how we think, read, live, and write.
|"This witty drinking guide, originally published in 1930, is packed with cocktail recipes and contrarian advice ."
—New York Times
An essential addition to the library of any cocktailians, entertainers, nostalgics, or those who just like to relax with a cold beverage, Shake ’Em Up delivers all the joy of a Jazz-Age cocktail party, without the fear of temperance officers knocking down your door.
|Introduction by New York Times bestselling author Amy Stewart, the award-winning author of six books on the perils and pleasures of the natural world, including four New York Times bestsellers, The Drunken Botanist, Wicked Bugs, Wicked Plants and Flower Confidential. She lives in Eureka, CA.|
"Joshua Knelman has painted a luminous portrait of the interconnected world of thieves, cops, and lawyers obsessed with stolen art . . . Knelman's gifts as an investigator and storyteller drip from every page. Hot Art? Hot book." —Jeremy Keehn, Associate Editor at Harper's Magazine
Hot Art traces Joshua Knelman’s five-year immersion in the shadowy world of art theft, where he uncovers a devious game that takes him from Egypt to Los Angeles, New York to London, and back again, through a web of deceit, violence, and corruption. With a cool, knowing eye, Knelman delves into the lives of professionals such as Paul, a brilliant working-class kid who charmed his way into a thriving career organizing art thefts, and LAPD detective Donald Hrycyk, one of the few special investigators worldwide who struggle to keep pace with the evolving industry of stolen art. As he becomes more and more immersed in this world, Knelman learns that art theft has evolved into one of the largest black markets in the world, which even Interpol and the FBI admit they cannot contain. Sweeping and fast-paced, Hot Art takes readers into a criminal underworld like no other.
“Plotto is the greatest single aid in plotting ever offered writers. Make up your mind now to give Plotto and this manual the time it deserve. The best known writers in the world own and use Plotto.”
A classic how-to manual, William Wallace Cook’s Plotto is one writer’s personal method, painstakingly diagrammed for the benefit of others. The theory itself may be simple—“Purpose, opposed by Obstacle, yields Conflict”—but Cook takes his “Plottoist” through hundreds of situations and scenarios, guiding the reader’s hand through a dizzying array of “purposes” and “obstacles.”
"Your Wildest Dreams, Within Reason makes you laugh out loud, and at the same time it inspires wonder. . .Mike Sacks is not just a sensational comic writer, but a sensational writer—period."
Your Wildest Dreams, Within Reason collects Mike Sacks’s unique humor pieces into one handsome, convenient volume. Originally published in The New Yorker, Vanity Fair, Esquire, and McSweeney’s, among other venerable publications, Sacks’s writing is original and sharp, yet broadly funny. Whether it’s a groom tweeting his wedding and honeymoon in real time, or a publisher offering editorial suggestions for The Diary of Anne Frank, Sacks’s work tangles contemporary social satire with his absurdist sensibilities.
“Grose provides a hugely entertaining account that aims to make you think differently about the machinations of love.”
—Time Out, London
In this nimble and original exploration of love’s hidden motivations and manifestations, Anouchka Grose tries to get to the heart of its hold over us. This straight-talking, sympathetic book sifts through the combined wisdom of philosophers and poets, scientists and shrinks to offer some serious solutions to the conundrum of love.
"Part manifesto, part confessional, yet totally practical and attainable, Fasenfest’s inviting, impassioned guide delineates precise ways homeowners can develop the skill sets necessary for self-sufficiency."
A Householder’s Guide to the Universe takes up the banner of progressive homemaking. Streetwise and poetic, fierce and romantic, the book provides not only a way out of our current economic and environmental logjam but also a readable and often funny analysis of how we got there in the first place.
River House, an exquisite blend of memoir and nature writing, is the story of Sarahlee Lawrence’s return from rafting the world’s most dangerous rivers to her family’s remote ranch. She and her father brave the central Oregon winter to build a log house by hand.
“Win McCormack has put a penetrating spotlight on Indian guru Bhagwan Rajneesh and his bizarre and very dangerous cult. An utterly fascinating work.”
—Vincent Bugliosi, author of Helter Skelter
In India, Bhagwan Shree Rajneesh incited his followers to unrestrained sexual license and encouraged them to engage in prostitution and drugsmuggling to feed his endless appetite for money . . . In Oregon, members of his cult launched the first campaign of bio-terrorism in U.S. history and a deranged nurse attempted to create a live AIDS virus . . . The Rajneesh Chronicles tells the frightening story from beginning to end.
"From now on, anyone who dreams of becoming a novelist will need to read Tom Grimes' brutally honest and wonderful Mentor."
—Michael Dirda, The Washington Post
A chance encounter between two writers, one young, one older, develops into a wonderful friendship neither expected. Frank Conroy, author of the classic memoirStop-Time, meets Tom Grimes, an aspiring writer and an applicant to the Iowa Writers’ Workshop, which Conroy directs. Exquisitely written, Mentor is an honest and heartbreaking exploration of the writing life and the role of a very important teacher.
One part celebration, one part history, two parts manifesto, Bernard DeVoto’s The Houris a comic and unequivocal treatise on how and why we drink—properly. The Pulitzer Prize and National Book Award–winning author turns his shrewd wit on the spirits and attitudes that cause his stomach to turn and his eyes to roll (Warning: this book is NOT for rum drinkers).
"Every great book reminds us that we're all alone in the world. At least this one provides us with the means to entertain ourselves while we're here."
How to Do Nothing literally tells "how to do nothing with nobody all alone by yourself"— real things, fascinating things, the things that you did when you were a kid, or your parents did when they were kids. This is a book to free your kid from video games for a few hours, a handbook on the avoidance of boredom, a primer on the uses of solitude, a child's declaration of independence.
“…this book will not only make you laugh but might actually inspire you to embrace a simpler life.”
—O, The Oprah Magazine
In the late seventies, at the age of eighteen and with a seventh-grade education, Dolly Freed wrote Possum Living about the five years she and her father lived off the land on a half-acre lot outside of Philadelphia. In her delightful, straightforward, and irreverent style, Freed guides readers on how to buy and maintain a home, dress well, cope with the law, stay healthy, save money, and be lazy, proud, miserly, and honest, all while enjoying leisure and keeping up a middle-class façade.
"In these pages some of our finest writers stand up and testify to the power of literature to shake and shape our very souls."
—Michael Dirda, Pulitzer Prize-winning critic and author of Bound to Please
The essays in The Story About the Story feature lively discussions of great literature by some of the most prominent authors of all time. With over thirty essays written by authors as diverse as Oscar Wilde and Virginia Woolf to Cynthia Ozick and Salman Rushdie, this collection offers an invaluable course on literature as well as a look into “Creative Criticism,” a form of critical essay that involves a personal perspective.
"Intelligent, frank and often hilarious. . . a wild, entirely worthwhile ride."
We Did Porn follows Zak Smith (or Zak Sabbath) from the New York art scene to Los Angeles's seedy, yet colorful, underbelly—the world of alt porn.
—Charles McGrath, The New York Times
The Writer's Notebook combines the best craft seminars in the history of the Tin House Summer Writers Workshop with a variety of essays written by some of Tin House's favorite authors, offering aspiring writers insight into the craft of writing.
"Literature—creative literature—unconcerned with sex, is inconceivable."
Do Me goes all the way with the funniest, boldest, hottest, and most richly imagined explorations of sex by some the finest contemporary writers.
"Directly, or indirectly, Renard is at the origin of contemporary literature."
Spanning from 1887 to a month before his death in 1910, The Journal of Jules Renard is a unique autobiographical masterpiece that, though celebrated abroad and cited as a principle influence by writers as varying as Somerset Maugham and Donald Barthelme, remains largely undiscovered in the United States.
"Taken in their totality, the interviews begin to snick against each other until it seems that the authors are sparring in some marvelous palaver, and that you, lucky reader, are a bystander at the greatest literary dinner party ever held."
—Nathan Ihara, LA Weekly
Writers Talk Ambition, Angst, Aesthetics, Bones, Books, Beautiful Bodies, Censorship, Cheats, Comics, Darkness, Democracy, Death, Exile, Failure, Guns, Misery, Marijuana, Muses, Movies, New Age Men, Old Boys' Network, Oprah, Outcasts, Prison, Sex, Suicide, Smoking, Strippers, Torture, Underwear, Vietnam, VD, Violence, and More
“These essays are pure fun, pure joy, every last honey-colored, 80-proof, diet-be-damned one of them.”
—The Los Angeles Times
A delectable collection of food and drink writing from the pages of the award-winning literary journal Tin House.