Available on Kindle: Chiaroscuro, My Book of Selected Literary Essays

My latest e-book, the third in a series of twelve, is out, and this one means a real lot to me. Chiaroscuro: Assorted Literary Essays is my own selection of the best literary essays I’ve written on this blog since 2004.

I wanted this to be a short book, so I forced myself to choose only ten pieces (and, in a Spinal-Tap-like moment, ended up choosing eleven). You can see the table of contents if you click through to the official book page, where you can also read the blurb I solicited from my good buddy Ed Champion (hey, what are friends for?).

I’m being flippant, but the truth is that the eleven pieces in this book mean more to me than I can say; they are my gems, my blows against the empire, my big fish, my keepers. This book is also arranged to represent a progression of ideas and literary notions — transgressive visions, comic visions, great writers, overrated writers — that encapsulates something I believe about the meaning of literature in all our lives. Mostly, this book contains the eleven essays that moved me the most when I wrote them, and I hope you’ll give the book a chance and see if they move you too.

I selected these pieces with a very narrow lens. I did not include essays about technology or the business of publishing, or politics or music or philosophy, or any of my pieces about the New York Times Book Review. (I also left out several pieces about the Beat Generation, because those are going into my next e-book, coming out in July.) Chiaroscuro is the culmination of a lifetime’s absorption in literary aesthetics. It contains nothing but essays about books and writers I love, and a few books and writers I hate.

I also designed what I hope you’ll agree is a very cool cover for this book. I’m going to tell you the story of the cover in my next blog post. Till then, please buy my book and see if any of the essays in this book mean as much to you as they mean to me.

7 Responses

  1. I remember many of these, but
    I remember many of these, but it’s nice to have them all collected in one place and to reread them. Interested to hear how you came up with the title.

  2. Actually I should mention
    Actually I should mention that not all the pieces originally ran on Litkicks. One was in The Quarterly Conversation, and one in the Guardian. Just clearing that up …

  3. I would love to get this
    I would love to get this collection but i don’t have a kindle – are there any other formats available?

  4. Thanks for your interest,
    Thanks for your interest, Wendy — yes, I’m working on other formats right now. By the end of the summer, I hope all the Litkicks books will be available for all major e-readers and also, most importantly, in paperback print editions. That’s the one I’m looking forward to the most!

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Litkicks will turn 30 years old in the summer of 2024! We can’t believe it ourselves. We don’t run as many blog posts about books and writers as we used to, but founder Marc Eliot Stein aka Levi Asher is busy running two podcasts. Please check out our latest work!