Essay collections are like short story collections that are based on the truth or opinions of the author. There are many wonderful essay collections. They can be funny, sincere, illuminating, and genuinely inspiring reading. Here are 7 best must read essay collections.

Bad Feminist by Roxane Gay

7 Best Must Read Essay Collections
7 Best Must Read Essay Collections (Book 1)

Bad Feminist is a collection of funny and insightful essays by Roxane Gay. Gay takes the readers through the journey of her evolution as a woman of color while also talking about culture over the last few years and commenting on the state of feminism today. The book is a remarkable and insightful and is not just about a woman who is continually growing to understand herself and our society, but also the culture. The essays talk about how the culture we consume makes us who we are and all the ways we still need to do better. Bad Feminist is clever, funny, and inspiring.

The Common Reader by Virginia Woolf

7 Best Must Read Essay Collections
7 Best Must Read Essay Collections (Book 2)

The Common Reader is Virginia Woolf’s first collection of essays. In this collection Woolf attempts to see literature from the point of view of the ‘common reader’. Common reader is someone whom she, with Dr Johnson, distinguished from the critic and the scholar. In this essay Woolf read, and wrote, as an outsider. As a woman who set to school in her father’s library, was denied the educational privileges of her male siblings and with no fixed view of what constitutes ‘English Literature’. Common Reader is an unconventional, unofficial and social history of literary from the fourteenth to the twentieth century. The essays explore medieval England, Tsarist Russia, Elizabethan playwrights, Victorian novelists and modern essayists.

Slouching Towards Bethlehem by Joan Didion

7 Best Must Read Essay Collections
7 Best Must Read Essay Collections (Book 3)

Slouching Towards Bethlehem is the first nonfiction work by Joan Didion’s. This is a portrait of America, particularly of California in the sixties. The essays focus on subjects such as John Wayne, Howard Hughes, and growing up a girl in California, contemplating the nature of good and evil in a Death Valley motel room, the quintessence of San Francisco’s Haight-Ashbury and the center of counterculture, California. The collection is a remarkable and frightening portrait of America at a particular time the 60s.

Notes Of A Native Son by James Baldwin

Notes Of A Native Son by James Baldwin
Best Essay Collections (Book 4)

Notes of a Native Son by James Baldwin explores the racial, sexual, and class distinctions in the Western society of the United States during the mid-twentieth-century. It is the first non-fiction essay collection by James Baldwin. Baldwin wrote these essays during the 1940s and early 1950s, when he was only in his twenties. Notes of a Native Son portrays a view of black life and black thought at the dawn of the civil rights movement. As an artist, activist, and social critic, Baldwin investigates the complex condition of being black in America. He examines everything from the importance of the protest novel to the motives and circumstances of the many black emigrants of the time. Notes of a Native Son by James Baldwin is a powerful essay collection.

Feel Free by Zadie Smith

Feel Free by Zadie Smith
Best Essay Collections (Book 5)

Feel Free by Zadie Smith is a powerful collection of essays. The book is divided into five sections: In the World, In the Audience, In the Gallery, On the Bookshelf, and Feel Free. Feel Free offers a review of important recent events in culture, politics, and Smith’s own life. She talks about the world of good books, bad politics, Brooklyn-born rappers and the work of Swiss novelists. The essays in Feel Free are wry, heartfelt and witty.

My Seditious Heart by Arundhati Roy

Best Essay Collections
Best Essay Collections (Book 6)

My Seditious Heart by Arundhati Roy is a collection of works from a two-decade period. Roy wrote the political essays as a way of opening up space for justice, rights, and freedom in an increasingly antagonistic world. The essays talk about the defense of the collective, of the individual and of the land, in the face of the destructive logic of financial, social, religious, military, and governmental elites. My Seditious Heart has compassion and is a radical read. 

Me Talk Pretty One Day by David Sedaris

Best Essay Collections
Best Essay Collections (Book 7)

Me Talk Pretty One Day by David Sedaris was inspired by his move to Paris from New York. The hilarious essays are about his attempts to learn French from a callous teacher who declares that every day spent with him is like having a caesarean section. There are essays inspired by his family. For example: one essay talks about his brother, who talks constant hip-hop slang to his puzzled father. Me Talk Pretty One Day by David Sedaris has some most unforgettable and funniest essays.

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