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American Literature

American Literature Book List

2018 Weatherford Award Finalist · Finalist, 2018 Library of Virginia Literary Awards  · Winner, 2017 Appalachian Book of the Year (Fiction)
Cover of 'Fire Is Your Water'

Fire Is Your Water
A Novel
By Jim Minick

At age twenty, Ada’s reputation as a faith healer defines her in her rural Pennsylvania community. But on the day in 1953 that her family’s barn is consumed by flame, her identity is upended: for the first time, she fears death and doubts God. Fire Is Your Water, acclaimed memoirist Jim Minick’s first novel, builds on magical realism and social observation to offer an insider’s glimpse into the culture of Appalachia.

Cover of 'The Constant Listener'

The Constant Listener
Henry James and Theodora Bosanquet—An Imagined Memoir
By Susan Herron Sibbet

In 1907, in a quiet English village, Theodora Bosanquet answered Henry James’s call for someone to transcribe his edits and additions to his formidable body of work. The aging James had agreed to revise his novels and tales into the twenty-four-volume New York Edition. Enter Bosanquet, a budding writer who would record the dictated revisions and the prefaces that would become a lynchpin of his legacy.

Cover of 'The Man Who Created Paradise'

The Man Who Created Paradise
A Fable
By Gene Logsdon
· Foreword by Wendell Berry
· Photography by Gregory Spaid

The Man Who Created Paradise, a fable inspired by a true story, tells how young Wally Spero looked at one of the bleakest places in America—the strip-mined spoil banks of southeastern Ohio—and saw in it his escape from the drudgery of his factory job.

Cover of 'A Saturnalia of Bunk'

A Saturnalia of Bunk
Selections from The Free Lance, 1911–1915
By H. L. Mencken
· Edited by S. T. Joshi

H. L. Mencken’s reputation as a journalist and cultural critic of the twentieth century has endured well into the twenty-first. His early contributions as a writer, however, are not very well known. He began his journalistic career as early as 1899 and in 1910 cofounded the Baltimore Evening Sun.

Cover of 'Waste of Timelessness and Other Early Stories'

Waste of Timelessness and Other Early Stories
By Anaïs Nin
· Introduction by Allison Pease
· Foreword by Gunther Stuhlmann

Written when Anaïs Nin was in her twenties and living in France, the stories collected in Waste of Timelessness contain many elements familiar to those who know her later work as well as revelatory, early clues to themes developed in those more mature stories and novels. Seeded with details remembered from childhood and from life in Paris, the wistful tales portray artists, writers, strangers who meet in the night, and above all, women and their desires.

Cover of 'Trapeze'

Trapeze
The Unexpurgated Diary of Anaïs Nin, 1947–1955
By Anaïs Nin
· Edited by Paul Herron
· Introduction by Benjamin Franklin V
· Preface by Paul Herron

Anaïs Nin made her reputation through publication of her edited diaries and the carefully constructed persona they presented. It was not until decades later, when the diaries were published in their unexpurgated form, that the world began to learn the full details of Nin’s fascinating life and the emotional and literary high-wire acts she committed both in documenting it and in defying the mores of 1950s America.

Cover of 'The Secret of the Hardy Boys'

The Secret of the Hardy Boys
Leslie McFarlane and the Stratemeyer Syndicate
By Marilyn S. Greenwald

The author of the Hardy Boys Mysteries was, as millions of readers know, Franklin W. Dixon. Except there never was a Franklin W. Dixon. He was the creation of Edward Stratemeyer, the savvy founder of a children's book empire that also published the Tom Swift, Bobbsey Twins, and Nancy Drew series.

Cover of 'Winter of Artifice'

Winter of Artifice
Three Novelettes
By Anaïs Nin
· Introduction by Laura Frost

Swallow Press’s reissue of Winter of Artifice, with a new introduction by Laura Frost, presents an important opportunity to consider anew the work of Anaïs Nin who laid the groundwork for later writers, but whom critics frequently dismiss as solipsistic or overblown.

Cover of 'The Common Lot and Other Stories'

The Common Lot and Other Stories
The Published Short Fiction, 1908–1921
By Emma Bell Miles
· Edited by Grace Toney Edwards
· Introduction by Grace Toney Edwards

The seventeen narratives of The Common Lot and Other Stories, published in popular magazines across the United States between 1908 and 1921 and collected here for the first time, are driven by Emma Bell Miles’s singular vision of the mountain people of her home in southeastern Tennessee. That vision is shaped by her strong sense of social justice, her naturalist’s sensibility, and her insider’s perspective.

Cover of 'Walk Till the Dogs Get Mean'

Walk Till the Dogs Get Mean
Meditations on the Forbidden from Contemporary Appalachia
Edited by Adrian Blevins and Karen Salyer McElmurray

In essays that take wide-ranging forms—ideal for creative nonfiction classes—established and emerging writers with roots in Appalachia take on the theme of silencing in Appalachian culture. They write about families left behind, hard-earned educations, selves transformed, identities chosen, and risks taken.

Cover of 'Every River on Earth'

Every River on Earth
Writing from Appalachian Ohio
Edited by Neil Carpathios
· Foreword by Donald Ray Pollock

Every River on Earth: Writing from Appalachian Ohio includes some of the best regional poetry, fiction, and creative nonfiction from forty contemporary authors such as David Baker, Don Bogen, Michelle Burke, Richard Hague, Donald Ray Pollock, and others.

Cover of 'The Novel of the Future'

The Novel of the Future
By Anaïs Nin
· Introduction by Deirdre Bair

In The Novel of the Future, Anaïs Nin explores the act of creation — in film, art, and dance as well as literature — to chart a new direction for the young artist struggling against what she perceived as the sterility, formlessness, and spiritual bankruptcy afflicting much of mid-twentieth-century fiction.

Cover of 'Under a Glass Bell'

Under a Glass Bell
By Anaïs Nin
· Introduction by Elizabeth Podnieks

Although Under a Glass Bell is now considered one of Anaïs Nin’s finest collections of stories, it was initially deemed unpublishable. Refusing to give up on her vision, in 1944 Nin founded her own press and brought out the first edition, illustrated with striking black-and-white engravings by her husband, Hugh Guiler. Shortly thereafter, it caught the attention of literary critic Edmund Wilson, who reviewed the collection in the New Yorker.

Cover of 'A Spy in the House of Love'

A Spy in the House of Love
By Anaïs Nin
· Introduction by Anita Jarczok

Although Anaïs Nin found in her diaries a profound mode of self-creation and confession, she could not reveal this intimate record of her own experiences during her lifetime. Instead, she turned to fiction, where her stories and novels became artistic “distillations” of her secret diaries.

Cover of 'Cases of Circumstantial Evidence'

Cases of Circumstantial Evidence
By Janet Lewis
· Introduction by Kevin Haworth

This is the first digital version of Cases of Circumstantial Evidence, a collection of three historical novels by noted American writer Janet Lewis.