The Best American Essays 2019

Edited and with an Introduction by Rebecca Solnit
Robert Atwan, Series Editor

"ESSAYS ARE RESTLESS LITERATURE, trying to find out how things fit together, how we can think about two things at once, how the personal and the public can inform each other, how two overtly dissimilar things share a secret kinship," contends Rebecca Solnit in her introduction. From lost languages and extinct species to life-affirming cosmologies and literary myths that offer cold comfort, the personal and the public collide in The Best American Essays 2019. This searching, necessary collection grapples with what has preoccupied us in the past year - sexual politics, race, violence, invasive technologies - and yet, in reading for the book, Solnit also found "how discovery can be a deep pleasure."

Copyright © 2019 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company
Introduction copyright © 2019 by Rebecca Solnit
ISBN 978-1-328-46580-1


Foreword       ix

Introduction       xvii

RABIH ALAMEDDINE   Comforting Myths   1
       FROM Harper's Magazine

MICHELLE ALEXANDER   We Are Not the Resistance   11
       FROM The New York Times

HEATHER ALTFELD   Obituary for Dead Languages   16
       FROM Conjunctions

MARIO ALEJANDRO ARIZA   Come Heat and High Water   23
       FROM The Believer

JABARI ASIM   Getting It Twisted   40
       FROM The Yale Review

ALEXANDER CHEE   The Autobiography of My Novel   52
       FROM The Sewanee Review

CAMILLE T. DUNGY   Is All Writing Environmental Writing?   70
       FROM The Georgia Review

MASHA GESSEN   Stories of a Life   77
       FROM The New York Review of Books

JEAN GUERRERO   My Father Says He's a "Targeted Individual." Maybe We All Are.   88
       FROM Wired

LACY M. JOHNSON   On Likability   105
       FROM Tin House

WALTER JOHNSON   Guns in the Family   113
       FROM The Boston Review

ELIZABETH KOLBERT   How to Write About a Vanishing World   124
       FROM The New Yorker

J. DREW LANHAM   Forever Gone   131
       FROM Orion

LILI LOOFBOUROW   Men Are More Afraid Than Ever   145
       FROM Slate

TERESE MARIE MAILHOT   Silence Breaking Woman   151
       FROM Pacific Standard

DAWN LUNDY MARTIN   When a Person Goes Missing   162
       FROM n+1

KAI MINOSH PYLE   Autobiography of an Iceheart   176
       FROM Prism

GARY TAYLOR   Death of an English Major   189
       FROM Tampa Bay Times

JIA TOLENTINO   The Rage of the Incels   192
       FROM The New Yorker

DAYNA TORTORICI   In the Maze   197
       FROM n+1

Contributors’ Notes   209

Notable Essays and Literary Nonfiction of 2018   213

Notable Special Issues of 2018   225

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