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Things That Are

by

Things That Are Cover

ISBN13: 9781571313348
ISBN10: 1571313346
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Synopses & Reviews

Publisher Comments:

“Of all the wondrous things that are catalogued in this brave little book, the most wondrously fresh and novel may be the uncanny Ms. Leachs own gamin-sly, rhythm-rhymey voice, and oh that flint-flighty, rapt-capacious mind of hers. Besides which, no one conjures a presenter present tense than she. Sheer scrambling delight.”

—Lawrence Weschler, author of Mr Wilson's Cabinet of Wonder and Uncanny Valley: Adventures in the Narrative

“Like a descendant of Lewis Carroll and Emily Dickinson, Amy Leach brings new meaning to the world without us, and within. A reader entering this book to learn more about the universe will exit knowing much more about her own self. At once large and intimate, these essays introduce one of the most exciting and original writers in America.”

—Yiyun Li, author of Gold Boy, Emerald Girl and The Vagrants

“I know of no other writer on earth—or in the sky—like Amy Leach. One of the pleasures of Things That Are is the surprise of finding, among the mouldywarps and whimwhams and leguminous exoplanets of our galaxy, truths about ourselves—unearthed and unaired.”

—Eula Biss, author of Notes from No Mans Land

“Infernally addictive.”

—David Abram, author of Becoming Animal

In a series of essays that progress from the tiniest Earth dwellers to far-flung celestial bodies—considering everything from the similarity of gods to donkeys, to exploding stars and exploding sea cucumbers—Amy Leach (Rona Jaffe and Whiting Award winner) rekindles our communion with the world. This groundbreaking debut delights and confounds the senses in wondrous ways.

Cover illustration:

© Nate Christopherson

Review:

"In her first book, illustrated by Nate Christopherson, Whiting Award — winner Leach has produced a collection of creative nonfiction essays that unfortunately comes across as twee. The recipe: animate inanimate objects, personify animals, add a dash of hypothetical wonder, throw in hard facts, end your essay with a question, and presume connections between the tangible and ephemeral. Repeat. While Leach is able to create moments of verbal delight ('Who can twig the intricated soul of the pirouetting bird?'), her forays into pop philosophy prove less effective: 'But... who... who... does not miss everything?' Essays such as 'Warbler Delight' are more successful, especially when Leach's sense of wonder matches the small feats of the subject. However, other diatribes of delight border on the obvious and insubstantial. Allowing for too many authorial indulgences, Leach's extreme individuality veers into inscrutability. B&w illus. Agent: Jin Auh, the Wylie Agency. (July)" Publishers Weekly Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.

Synopsis:

The debut collection of a writer whose accolades precede her: a Whiting Award, a Rona Jaffe Award, a Best American Essays selection, and a Pushcart Prize, all received before her first book-length publication. This book represents a major break-out of an entirely new brand of nonfiction writer, in a mode like that of Ander Monson, John D'Agata, and Eula Biss, but a new sort of beast entirely its own.

Things That Are takes jellyfish, fainting goats, and imperturbable caterpillars as just a few of its many inspirations. In a series of essays that progress from the tiniest earth dwellers to the most far flung celestial bodies—considering the similarity of gods to donkeys, the inexorability of love and vines, the relations of exploding stars to exploding sea cucumbers—Amy Leach rekindles a vital communion with the wild world, dormant for far too long. Things That Are is not specifically of the animal, the human, or the phenomenal; it is a book of wonder, one the reader cannot help but leave with their perceptions both expanded and confounded in delightful ways.

About the Author

Since receiving her MFA from the University of Iowa in 2005, Amy Leach has been recognized with the Whiting Writers Award (2010), a Best American Essays selection (2009), a Rona Jaffe Foundation Award (2008), and a 2011 Pushcart Prize. Her essays have appeared in numerous literary journals and reviews, including Tin House, Orion Magazine, A Public Space, and Los Angeles Review. She lives in Chicago, where she plays the piano, performs in a bluegrass band, and teaches writing at Loyola and Northwestern Universities.

What Our Readers Are Saying

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Average customer rating based on 2 comments:

ethannorton68, March 31, 2013 (view all comments by ethannorton68)
Amy Leach is a wonderful and very unique writer. Her book, Things That Are, is a must read that is extremely hard to put down. I love her use of animals in her book. She takes animals like panda bears, beavers, and goats and explains their behaviors on a very deep and comical level. To me, at first she sounds like the nonsense thoughts that I have right before I go to sleep. But then, after you read more and think more about her words, you see the genius and the research needed to write her essays. I really liked her essay, “Radical Bears and the Forest Delicious”. It is about panda bears and their addiction to bamboo. She compares them to monks who leave their lives of having the finer things to a more humble life. She says that panda bears must have been told to find enlightenment; they have to give up their life of eating tasting things and only eat tough bamboo. Her words that she uses and the things she says are hilarious and paint a picture in your head. I also enjoyed her essay, “Goats and Bygone Goats”. In it she talks about early explorers and how they would drop goats off on different islands they would find and then the goats would eat all of the food and cause the turtles that used to live on the island to die of starvation. She then talks about introducing predators to eat the goats and the predators to eat the predators and how the circle would continue. The way she describes it is hilarious. Overall it is a hilarious book that I would recommend to anyone.
Was this comment helpful? | Yes | No
minimx, January 2, 2013 (view all comments by minimx)
These essays present so many odd and deeply researched facts in an effortless, inviting way, and the prose is poetry; a deeply humorous kind. The essays are organized in two sections - Things of Earth, and Things of Heaven. Leach starts by noticing all the quirky facets of the world - the resilient beaver, the solitary and irrational panda - and moves, essay by essay, towards a more abstract consideration of what it means to exist on this earth in the presence of all the things that are. The book builds a very coherent idea (or attitude) about this kind of ecological existence - and it's certainly not shrilly environmentalist or conservationist (it's critical of that kind of nature-as-helpless-victim ideology). It presents a different attitude, one that takes the whole of the book to develop. I loved being exposed to this idea (or "state") and I recommend the book highly.
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Product Details

ISBN:
9781571313348
Author:
Leach, Amy
Publisher:
Milkweed Editions
Subject:
Essays
Subject:
Nature Studies-Zoology
Subject:
Biology-Reference
Edition Description:
Paper Over Board
Publication Date:
20120631
Binding:
HARDCOVER
Language:
English
Illustrations:
BandW illustrations throughout
Pages:
192
Dimensions:
8 x 5.25 in

Related Subjects


Featured Titles » Science
Fiction and Poetry » Anthologies » Essays
Science and Mathematics » Biology » Reference
Science and Mathematics » Nature Studies » Featured Titles
Science and Mathematics » Nature Studies » General
Science and Mathematics » Nature Studies » Natural History » General
Science and Mathematics » Nature Studies » Natural Science
Science and Mathematics » Nature Studies » Zoology

Things That Are New Hardcover
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$18.00 In Stock
Product details 192 pages Milkweed Editions - English 9781571313348 Reviews:
"Publishers Weekly Review" by , "In her first book, illustrated by Nate Christopherson, Whiting Award — winner Leach has produced a collection of creative nonfiction essays that unfortunately comes across as twee. The recipe: animate inanimate objects, personify animals, add a dash of hypothetical wonder, throw in hard facts, end your essay with a question, and presume connections between the tangible and ephemeral. Repeat. While Leach is able to create moments of verbal delight ('Who can twig the intricated soul of the pirouetting bird?'), her forays into pop philosophy prove less effective: 'But... who... who... does not miss everything?' Essays such as 'Warbler Delight' are more successful, especially when Leach's sense of wonder matches the small feats of the subject. However, other diatribes of delight border on the obvious and insubstantial. Allowing for too many authorial indulgences, Leach's extreme individuality veers into inscrutability. B&w illus. Agent: Jin Auh, the Wylie Agency. (July)" Publishers Weekly Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.
"Synopsis" by ,
The debut collection of a writer whose accolades precede her: a Whiting Award, a Rona Jaffe Award, a Best American Essays selection, and a Pushcart Prize, all received before her first book-length publication. This book represents a major break-out of an entirely new brand of nonfiction writer, in a mode like that of Ander Monson, John D'Agata, and Eula Biss, but a new sort of beast entirely its own.

Things That Are takes jellyfish, fainting goats, and imperturbable caterpillars as just a few of its many inspirations. In a series of essays that progress from the tiniest earth dwellers to the most far flung celestial bodies—considering the similarity of gods to donkeys, the inexorability of love and vines, the relations of exploding stars to exploding sea cucumbers—Amy Leach rekindles a vital communion with the wild world, dormant for far too long. Things That Are is not specifically of the animal, the human, or the phenomenal; it is a book of wonder, one the reader cannot help but leave with their perceptions both expanded and confounded in delightful ways.

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