Essay Collections

Our Favorite Essay Collections
If you like the size of a short story, try some of these essay collections. They’re like bite-sized mini-memoirs, offering clear points of view—everything from cartoons about funny dogs and depression to struggles with racial roles in America. Humor, earnestness, instrospection, advice: these collections have it all.

The star of Bravo’s new comedy Odd Mom Out and author of The Ex Mrs. Hedgefund and Wolves in Chic Clothing shares her razor-sharp wit and backhanded wisdom in a hilarious collection of musings, lists, essays and outrages. Jill is a true original!

You’ll Grow Out of It by Jessi Klein:
Jessi Klein is a stand-up comedian, and the head writer and producer of Inside Amy Schumer. Her real-life stories about growing up as a late bloomer are hilarious and relatable.
The Opposite of Loneliness: Essays and Stories by Marina Keegan:
Marina Keegan’s star was on the rise when she graduated magna cum laude from Yale in May 2012. She had a play that was to be produced at the New York Fringe Festival and a job waiting for her at The New Yorker. Tragically, five days after graduation, Marina died in a car crash. Marina left behind a rich, deeply expansive trove of writing that, like her title essay, captures the hope, uncertainty, and possibility of her generation.
Tiny Beautiful Things: Advice on Love and Life from Dear Sugar by Cheryl Strayed:
Tiny Beautiful Things is the best of the Dear Sugar columns. Rich with humor, insight, compassion, and absolute honesty.
Is Everyone Hanging Out Without Me? (And Other Concerns) by Mindy Kaling:
In Is Everyone Hanging Out Without Me?, Mindy invites readers on a tour of her life and her unscientific observations on romance, friendship, and Hollywood, with several conveniently placed stopping points for you to run errands and make phone calls.
I Hate Myselfie: A Collection of Essays by Shane Dawson by Shane Dawson:
In I Hate Myselfie, Shane steps away from his larger-than-life Internet persona and takes us deep into the experiences of an eccentric and introverted kid, who by observing the strange world around him developed a talent that would inspire millions of fans. Intelligent, hilarious, heartbreaking, and raw, I Hate Myselfie is a collection of eighteen personal essays about how messy life can get when you’re growing up and how rewarding it can feel when the clean-up is (pretty much) done.
Let’s Pretend This Never Happened by Jenny Lawson:
When Jenny Lawson was little, all she ever wanted was to fit in. That dream was cut short by her fantastically unbalanced father and a morbidly eccentric childhood. It did, however, open up an opportunity for Lawson to find the humor in the strange shame-spiral that is her life, and we are all the better for it.
Hyperbole and a Half: Unfortunate Situations, Flawed Coping Mechanisms, Mayhem, and Other Things That Happened by Allie Brosh:
This full-color, beautifully illustrated edition features more than fifty percent new content, with ten never-before-seen essays and one wholly revised and expanded piece as well as classics and her astonishing “Adventures in Depression,” and “Depression Part Two,” which have been hailed as some of the most insightful meditations on the disease ever written.
Stuff Matters: Exploring the Marvelous Materials That Shape Our Man-Made World by Mark Midownik:
Why is glass see-through? What makes elastic stretchy? Why does any material look and behave the way it does? These are the sorts of questions that renowned materials scientist Mark Miodownik constantly asks himself. Miodownik studies objects as ordinary as an envelope and as unexpected as concrete cloth, uncovering the fascinating secrets that hold together our physical world.
Bad Feminist: Essays by Roxane Gay:
Bad Feminist is a sharp, funny, and spot-on look at the ways in which the culture we consume becomes who we are, and an inspiring call-to-arms of all the ways we still need to do better.
Between the World and Me by Ta-Nehisi Coates:
In a profound work that pivots from the biggest questions about American history and ideals to the most intimate concerns of a father for his son, Ta-Nehisi Coates offers a powerful new framework for understanding our nation’s history and current crisis.
We Should All Be Feminists by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie:
In this personal, eloquently-argued essay—adapted from her much-admired TEDx talk of the same name—Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, award-winning author of Americanah, offers readers a unique definition of feminism for the twenty-first century, one rooted in inclusion and awareness.
I Was Told There’d Be Cake: Essays by Sloane Crosley:
From despoiling an exhibit at the Natural History Museum to provoking the ire of her first boss to siccing the cops on her mysterious neighbor, Crosley can do no right despite the best of intentions—or perhaps because of them. Together, these essays create a startlingly funny and revealing portrait of a complex and utterly recognizable character who aims for the stars but hits the ceiling, and the inimitable city that has helped shape who she is.
Naked by David Sedaris:
Welcome to the hilarious, strange, elegiac, outrageous world of David Sedaris. In Naked, Sedaris turns the mania for memoir on its ear, mining the exceedingly rich terrain of his life, his family, and his unique worldview-a sensibility at once take-no-prisoners sharp and deeply charitable.
Love and Other Ways of Dying: Essays by Michael Paterniti:
In this moving, lyrical, and ultimately uplifting collection of essays, Michael Paterniti turns a keen eye on the full range of human experience, introducing us to an unforgettable cast of everyday people.