Category Archives: Writing for Writers

Recommend for First-Year Composition and Rhetoric courses.

Thank You for Your Service

Thank You for Your Service

272 pages • $16.00
ISBN: 978-1-250-12146-2

David Finkel

A National Book Critics Circle Award Finalist

A New York Public Library Helen Bernstein Book Award Finalist

“The stories of the soldiers and their families portrayed in Thank You for Your Service possess a visceral and deeply affecting power on their own that will haunt readers long after they have finished this book.”—Michiko Kakutani, The New York Times

No journalist has reckoned with the psychology of war as intimately as David Finkel. In The Good Soldiers, Finkel shadowed the men of the 2-16 Infantry Battalion as they carried out the infamous “surge,” a grueling fifteen-month tour of Baghdad that changed all of them forever. In Thank You for Your Service, Finkel follows many of those same men as they return home and struggle to reintegrate—both into their family lives and into American society at large. He is with them in their most intimate, painful, and hopeful moments as they try to recover, and in doing so, he creates an indelible, essential portrait of what life after war is like—not just for these soldiers, but for their wives, widows, children, and friends, and for the professionals who are truly trying, and to a great degree failing, to undo the damage that has been done. This book is an act of understanding, and it offers a more complete picture than we have ever had of two essential questions: When we ask young men and women to go to war, what are we asking of them? And when they return, what are we thanking them for?

David Finkel © Lucian Perkins

© Lucian Perkins

David Finkel is the award-winning author of The Good Soldiers. A staff writer for The Washington Post, he is also the leader of the Post’s national reporting team. He received the Pulitzer Prize for Explanatory Reporting in 2006, and the MacArthur “Genius” Grant in 2012. Finkel lives in Maryland, with his wife and two daughters.

Thank You For Your Service has been adopted for First-Year Experience programs at:

Adelphi University (NY); Louisiana State University, Ogden Honors College; University of Delaware

Real American

Real American

Henry Holt and Co.
288 pages • $27.00
ISBN: 978-1-250-13774-6

A Memoir

Julie Lythcott-Haims

Bringing a poetic sensibility to her prose to stunning effect, Julie Lythcott-Haims briskly and stirringly evokes her personal battle with the low self-esteem that American racism routinely inflicts on people of color. The only child of a marriage between an African-American father and a white British mother, she shows indelibly how so-called “micro” aggressions in addition to blunt force insults can puncture a person’s inner life with a thousand sharp cuts. Real American expresses also, through Lythcott-Haims’s path to self-acceptance, the healing power of community in overcoming the hurtful isolation of being incessantly considered “the other.” The author of the New York Times bestselling anti-helicopter parenting manifesto How to Raise an Adult, Lythcott-Haims has written a different sort of book this time out, but one that will nevertheless resonate with the legions of students, educators and parents to whom she is now well-known, by whom she is beloved, and to whom she has always provided wise and necessary counsel about how to embrace and nurture their best selves. Real American is an affecting memoir, an unforgettable cri de coeur, and a clarion call to all of us to live more wisely, generously and fully

© Kristina Vetter

Julie Lythcott-Haims, author of How to
Raise an Adult, served as dean of freshmen and
undergraduate advising at Stanford University,
where she received the Dinkelspiel Award for her
contributions to the undergraduate experience.
She holds a B.A. from Stanford, a J.D. from
Harvard Law School, and an M.F.A. in writing from
California College of the Arts. She is a member of
the San Francisco Writers’ Grotto, and resides in
the Bay Area with her husband, their two children,
and her mother

Real American has been adopted for First-Year Experience programs at:

Bates College (ME)

Continue reading

This I Believe

This I Believe

320 pages • $16.00
ISBN: 978-0-8050-8658-4

The Personal Philosophies of Remarkable Men and Women

Edited by Jay Allison and Dan Gediman

Foreword by Studs Terkel

Introduction by Jay Allison

“This cumulative effect of the these ‘personal credos’ is inspiring and invigorating.”—Elizabeth Taylor, Chicago Tribune

Based on the National Public Radio series of the same name, this book features eighty essayists—from the famous to the unknown—completing the thought that begins the book’s title. Each piece compels readers to rethink not only how they have arrived at their own personal beliefs but also the extent to which they share them with others. Featuring a well-known list of contributors—including Isabel Allende, Colin Powell, Gloria Steinem, William F. Buckley Jr., Penn Jillette, Bill Gates, and John Updike—the collection also contains essays by a Brooklyn lawyer; a part-time hospital clerk from Rehoboth, Massachusetts; a woman who sells Yellow Pages advertising in Fort Worth, Texas; and a man who serves on the state of Rhode Island’s parole board. The result is a trip inside the minds and hearts of a diverse group of people whose beliefs—and the incredibly varied ways in which they choose to express them—reveal the American spirit at its best.

Included are guidelines for students writing their own This I Believe essays.

“Essays from the original series are interleaved with contemporary essays (selected from more than 11,000 submissions) to create a resounding chorus.”—Donna Seaman, Booklist

Jay Allison © Nubar Alexanian

© Nubar Alexanian

Dan Gediman © Nubar Alexanian

© Nubar Alexanian

Jay Allison is an independent broadcast journalist and a six-time Peabody Award winner. He hosted and produced This I Believe on NPR and is the founder of the public radio station on Cape Cod.

Dan Gediman is currently the Executive Director of This I Believe, Inc., a non-profit organization based in Louisville, Kentucky.


This I Believe has been adopted for more than ninety First-Year Experience programs:

Aquinas College (MI); Avila University (MO); Baker University (KS); Barry University (FL); Bates College (ME); Bellarmine University (KY); Bethel College (KS); Bluefield College (VA); Bowling Green State University (OH); Bucknell University (PA); California State University, San Marcos; Cathedral High School (MA); Cedar Crest College (PA); Central Washington University; Clemson University (SC); Coker College (SC); College of Dupage (IL); Columbus State University (GA); Concord University (WV); Craven Community College (NC); Dakota Wesleyan University (SD); Dominican College (NY); Eastern Illinois University; Elmhurst College (IL); Endicott College (MA); Florida Atlantic University; Florida State University; Georgia College; Georgia Highlands University; Gettysburg College Ascent Program (PA); Harrison High School (NY); Jacksonville State University (AL); Jacksonville University (FL); Kaskaskia College (IL); Kent State University (OH); LIM College (NY); Lindsey Wilson College (KY); Louisburg College (NC); Louisiana Tech University; Loyola University, Chicago; Medaille College (NY); Middle Tennessee State University; Minnesota State University, Mankato; Mitchell College (CT); Morehead State University (KY); Northern Arizona University; Northern Kentucky University; Pace University (NY); Penn State Berks (IL); Penn State Berks (PA);  Ripon College (WI); Roberts Wesleyan College (NY); Roosevelt University (IL) (two consecutive years!); Seton Hall University (NJ); Seton Hill University (PA); Shepherd University (WV); Shorter University (GA); Southern Connecticut State University;  Southern Vermont College; Springfield College (MA); Stonehill College (MA); St. Mary’s High School (NY); SUNY, Binghamton; SUNY, Brockport; Tufts University (MA); University of Alabama; University of Central Arkansas, Honors College; University of Dayton (OH); University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign; University of Louisiana, Monroe (two years!); University of Louisville (KY) (three consecutive years!); University of New Orleans; University of Tennessee at Chattanooga; University of Vermont; Washburn University (KS); William Paterson University (NJ); William Woods University (MO)

This I Believe II

This I Believe II

288 pages • $15.00
ISBN: 978-0-8050-9089-5

More Personal Philosophies of Remarkable Men and Women

Edited by Jay Allison and Dan Gediman

With John Gregory and Viki Merrick

“By turns moving, thoughtful, cheering and heartbreaking, in an age of irony these essays offer a little something to believe in.” —Colette Bancroft, St. Petersburg Times

This second collection of This I Believe essays gathers seventy-five more essayists—including writers known and unknown—who complete the thought that begins in the book’s title. Among the contributors are musicians Yo-Yo Ma and Bela Fleck, Elie Wiesel, the founder, and an anthropology student at the University of Chicago. Each piece, whether poignant or humorous, compels the reader to think about how they have formed their own personal beliefs and about the extent to which they express them to others.

This edition also contains an appendix on how to write a This I Believe essay. “This book opens with a formidable challenge: ‘What would you say in five hundred words to capture a core principle that guides your life?’ Before you try to answer that question, you might want to read some of the 75 essays collected in This I Believe II. Many will leave you breathless. And those that don’t astonish may simply humble you.”—Majorie Kehe, The Christian Science Monitor

Jay Allison © Nubar Alexanian

© Nubar Alexanian

Dan Gediman © Nubar Alexanian

© Nubar Alexanian

Jay Allison, the host and curator of This I Believe, is an independent broadcast journalist.

Dan Gediman is the executive producer of This I Believe.




This I Believe II has been adopted for more than thirty First-Year Experience programs:

Aquinas College (MI); Barry University (FL); Broward College (FL); Eastern Illinois University; Endicott College (MA); Hanover College (IN); Ivy Tech Community College, Kokomo (IN); LIM College (NY) (two consecutive years!); Lindsey Wilson College (KY); Longwood University (VA); Lynchburg College (VA); Marietta College (OH); Miami University at Ohio; Middle Tennessee State University; Middlesex Community College (MA); North Central College (IL); Northern Illinois University; Penn State University, Brandywine; Rivier University (NH); Rowan University (NJ); Stockton College (NJ); Tennessee Tech University (two consecutive years); Texas Woman’s University; Union College (KY); University of Dayton (OH); University of Wisconsin, Parkside; Virginia Tech; Washington & Jefferson College (PA)

Life in Code

Life in Code

320 pages • $27.00
ISBN: 978-0-374-53451-6

A Personal History of Technology

Ellen Ullman

“This ‘personal history of technology’ by a novelist and former computer programmer presents a unique perspective on software, the people who write it, and the world it has created.”  —The New Yorker

The last twenty years have brought us the rise of the internet, the development of artificial intelligence, the ubiquity of once unimaginably powerful computers, and the thorough transformation of our economy and society. Through it all, Ellen Ullman lived and worked inside that rising culture of technology, and in Life in Code she tells the continuing story of the changes it wrought with a unique, expert perspective. When Ullman moved to San Francisco in the early 1970s and went on to become a computer programmer, she was joining a small, idealistic, and almost exclusively male cadre that aspired to genuinely change the world. In 1997 Ullman wrote Close to the Machine, the now classic and still definitive account of life as a coder at the birth of what would be a sweeping technological, cultural, and financial revolution. Twenty years later, the story Ullman recounts is neither one of unbridled triumph nor a nostalgic denial of progress. It is necessarily the story of digital technology’s loss of innocence as it entered the cultural mainstream, and it is a personal reckoning with all that has changed, and so much that hasn’t. Life in Code is an essential text toward our understanding of the last twenty years—and the next twenty.

© Marion Ettlinger

Ellen Ullman wrote her first computer program in 1978. She went on to have a twenty-year career as a programmer and software engineer. Her essays and books have become landmark works describing the social, emotional, and personal effects of technology. She is the author of two novels: By Blood, a New York Times Notable Book; and The Bug, a runner-up for the PEN/Hemingway Award. Her memoir, Close to the Machine, about her life as a software engineer during the internet’s first rise, became a cult classic. She is based in San Francisco.

Continue reading

Confessions of a Recovering Environmentalist and Other Essays

Confessions of a Recovering Environmentalist

Graywolf Press
208 pages • $16.00
ISBN: 978-1-555-97780-1

Paul Kingsnorth

“This book is refreshing in both a literary respect and an environmental one. What Kingsnorth argues in these essays is so radical that, if put into practice, it could effect meaningful preservation . . . Kingsnorth’s is a much-needed perspective in the environmental movement, recovering or otherwise.”

The Star Tribune (Minneapolis)

Paul Kingsnorth was once an activist—an ardent environmentalist. He fought against rampant development and the depredations of a corporate world that seemed hell-bent on ignoring a looming climate crisis in its relentless pursuit of profit. But as the environmental movement began to focus on “sustainability” rather than the defense of wild places for their own sake, and as global conditions worsened, he grew disenchanted with the movement that he once embraced. He gave up what he saw as the false hope that residents of the first world would ever make the kind of sacrifices that might avert the severe consequences of climate change. Full of grief and fury as well as passionate, lyrical evocations of nature and the wild, Confessions of a Recovering Environmentalist gathers the wave-making essays that have charted the change in Kingsnorth’s thinking. In them he articulates a new vision that he calls “dark ecology,” which stands firmly in opposition to the belief that technology can save us, and he argues for a renewed balance between the human and nonhuman worlds. This iconoclastic, fearless, and ultimately hopeful book, which includes the much-discussed “Uncivilization” manifesto, asks hard questions about how we’ve lived and how we should live.

Paul Kingsnorth (c) Clare McNamee

© Clare McNamee

Paul Kingsnorth is the author of the novels Beast and The Wake, which was longlisted for the Man Booker Prize. He is cofounder of the Dark Mountain Project, a global network of writers, artists, and thinkers in search of new stories for a world on the brink.

The Empathy Exams

The Empathy Exams

Graywolf Press
256 pages • $16.00
ISBN: 978-1-555-97671-2


Leslie Jamison

Winner of the Graywolf Press Nonfiction Prize

“[Jamison] writes consistently with passion and panache; her sentences are elegantly formed, her voice on the page intimate and insistent.”—Phillip Lopate, San Francisco Chronicle

Beginning with her experience as a medical actor who was paid to act out symptoms for medical students to diagnose, Leslie Jamison’s visceral and revealing essays ask essential questions about our basic understanding of others: How should we care about each other? How can we feel another’s pain, especially when pain can be assumed, distorted, or performed? Is empathy a tool by which to test or even grade each other? By confronting pain—real and imagined, her own and others’—Jamison uncovers a personal and cultural urgency to feel. She draws from her own experiences of illness and bodily injury to engage in an exploration that extends far beyond her life, spanning wide-ranging territory—from poverty tourism to phantom diseases, street violence to reality television, illness to incarceration—in its search for a kind of sight shaped by humility and grace. “Jamison writes with sober precision and unusual vulnerability, with a tendency to circle back and reexamine, to deconstruct and anticipate the limits of her own perspective, and a willingness to make her own medical and psychological history the objects of her examinations. Her insights are often piercing and poetic.”—The New Yorker

© Colleen Kinder

Leslie Jamison is the author of a novel, The Gin Closet, which was a finalist for the Los Angeles Times Art Seidenbaum Award for First Fiction. Her essays have appeared in Believer, Harper’s Magazine, Oxford American, and Tin House. She lives in New Haven, Connecticut.

The Empathy Exams has been adopted for First-Year Experience programs at:

Kalamazoo College (MI); Whitman College (WA)