These short books by some of our most creative and innovative thinkers give us unique perspectives on how to make our way in the world, how we should interact with the world and the people around us, and what it means to be alive.
Devotion by Patti Smith
A work of creative brilliance may seem like magic--its source a mystery, its impact unexpectedly stirring. How does an artist accomplish such an achievement, connecting deeply with an audience never met? In this groundbreaking book, one of our culture's beloved artists offers a detailed account of her own creative process, inspirations, and unexpected connections.
Origin of Others by Toni Morrison
America's foremost novelist reflects on the themes that preoccupy her work and increasingly dominate national and world politics: race, fear, borders, the mass movement of peoples, the desire for belonging. What is race and why does it matter? What motivates the human tendency to construct Others? Why does the presence of Others make us so afraid?
Tell Me How It Ends by Valeria Luiselli
Luiselli introduces us to one of the forgotten figures and tragic heroes of contemporary America: the child who risked everything to come here. Through stories about specific children and consideration of our immigration system, Luiselli sheds light on what most of us would choose to ignore and gives new meaning to the question: Why are we here? Books like this are like dew on a spider web, revealing the often forgotten and sometimes ignored threads of humanity that connect us all.
Night Thoughts by Wallace Shawn
Having recently passed the age of seventy, before which he found it difficult to piece together more than a few fragments of understanding, Shawn would like to pass on anything he's learned before death or dementia close down the brief window available to him, but he may not be ready yet.