Staff Picks: Getting to Know Writers

Posted by Aaron on

writing[1]When you love to read the books of a particular author, you often want to get to know that author beyond just their works of fiction. Many writers either understand this need of bibliophiles or experience it themselves with their favorite writers, because there are many essay collections and autobiographies by some of our best writers you can spend hours enjoying. Here are two books recently read by members of library administration that were particularly enjoyable.

Essays of E.B. White

I’ve recently spent some time dipping into the “Essays of E. B. White.” Many of us are familiar with White’s children’s classic, Charlotte’s Web, but White was also an accomplished essayist who contributed regularly to the New Yorker and Harper’s magazines.  His work is deceptively simple and it’s only upon reflection that you realize he has managed to capture in a few words what would take others paragraphs to explain. Although some of the essays were written more than 60 years ago, White’s  pieces on everyday life still ring true.  Felix Frankfurter, Supreme Court Justice, once wrote a letter to White saying, “If angels can write, none wields a better pen than you.”  For more of White’s glorious work check out Poems and Sketches of E. B. White 

Maria, Library Director, Warrenton central library

Dimestore by Lee Smith

I was drawn to Lee Smith’s collection of biographical essays because, like Smith, I grew up in a very small town and she’s one of my favorite authors. While her father owned the local dime store in Grundy, VA, my parents owned our little town’s general store—pretty much a thing of the past.  Her look back at her life–coming of age in Appalachia, being raised to leave, the emotional and mental health issues of her parents and later a son—are all presented in a series of touching essays.  Smith is nostalgic in her writing, mourning the loss of “home” that many of us from rural areas feel when returning to our roots.  Her honesty and openness about her parents’ and son’s mental health issues is enlightening and brought me a new understanding of these issues.   Sometimes funny and always Southern at heart, this is a touching read for anyone.

Other similar titles you might enjoy include:

Pitching My Tent: On Marriage, Motherhood, Friendship and Other Leaps of Faith by Anita Diamant

I Feel Bad About My Neck: and Other Thoughts on Being a Woman by Nora Ephron

Knucklehead:  Tall Tales and Mostly True Stories About Growing Up by Jon Scieszka

The Life and Times of the Thunderbolt Kid by Bill Bryson

Happy Reading!

Dawn, Public Services Manager, Warrenton central library

Book listsreviews from our book clubs and favorites from library staff are great resources when searching for your next book. Or stop by the reference desk at your local library.


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