On a mountain above the clouds once lived a man who had been the gardener of the Emperor of Japan. Not many people would have known him before the war, but I did

The Garden of Evening Mists

Tan Twan Eng

If there was anything I’d learned, it’s that the man never chooses the woman. All he can do is give her an opportunity to choose him

The Game

Neil Strauss

My country was turning into a realm of the absurd. Capitalism, so longed for, never came. The mentality of the crook reigned, the mentality of people out for easy money who wanted to look smarter than God himself

Free Fall

Nicolai Lilin

And supposing he were dead? you might ask. But if he were dead I would write a different essay

A Fortunate Man

John Berger

You remember what I says. You’re the fortunate one. You still gets to be with us for a bit longer. The other one—well, he’s watching on, somewhere

The Fortunate Brother

Donna Morrissey

I’ve been loved and I’ve been bored and I’ve been blue /But I always come back around to you

Forever Words

Johnny Cash

Within an hour I am not just playing poker, I’m debating poker, arguing about poker, laughing about poker, inhaling poker. I even win some money

For Richer, For Poorer

Victoria Coren

Dad’s not much a one for talking. Mum says he’s a man of few words. Mum says that the pressure comes from within. Only you can know why you’re putting that kind of pressure on yourself, since you’re the one who’s doing it

Fish Change Direction in Cold Weather

Pierre Szalowski

If you were wise enough to know that this life would consist mostly of letting go of things you wanted, then why not get good at the letting go, rather than the trying to have?

The First Bad Man

Miranda July

Leave the door open for the unknown, the door into the dark. That's where the most important things come from, where you yourself came from, and where you will go

A Field Guide To Getting Lost

Rebecca Solnit

I thought I was searching for love – but it was reincarnation I really sought. I wanted to reverse time and become young again – knowing everything I know now

Fear of Dying

Erica Jong

Most of the time I was waiting for just one moment of truth or authenticity. After all, you can tell a lot about a person or a situation in a minute. But only if you choose the right minute

Everyone Loves You When You're Dead

Neil Strauss

When we eat, we travel. Tortilla, golden and oozing, on a lazy Sunday in Madrid; piping hot shakshuka for breakfast in Tel Aviv; oysters shucked and sucked from their shells on the Whitstable shingle

The Edible Atlas

Mina Holland

Whales, porpoises, mermaids and mermen, dead sailors, fishes, crabs, tiny shrimps; the sea is forever full of eyes that watch me. I never fly far beyond the shore. If my town were a map the bay would have Here Be Monsters written on it in golden ink

The Earth Hums in B Flat

Mari Strachan

For so many of us, death has become the unmentionable thing, a monstrous silence. But this is no help to the dying, who are probably lonelier now than they’ve ever been.

Dying

Cory Taylor

Greatness and near-sightedness are incompatible. Meaningful achievement depends on lifting one’s sights and pushing towards the horizon

Drive

Daniel H. Pink

My identity might begin with the fact of my race, but it didn’t, couldn't end there.At least that’s what I would choose to believe

Dreams From My Father

Barack Obama

Some people think opening a book is a simple thing. It’s not. Most people don’t realise that you can get truly lost in a book. You can. Especially you

Dragon's Green

Scarlett Thomas

The half-wrecked ship slouched into the inlet more like a saturated sponge than one of His Majesty’s ships

The Discovery Of Slowness

Sten Nadolny

The truth is he didn't care how long he was going away. Forever would have suited him. It didn't matter it was America. America was good but wherever. Things closed in. It was not Dad’s fault, just life

Dirt Road

James Kelman

Claim your adulthood. Be intentional. Get to work

The Defining Decade

Meg Jay

Davey’s face darkens and he grabs the figure from the tablecloth and throws it into the fire where it immediately begins to smoulder. ‘Cannon fodder,’ he says in a conversational tone. ‘Cannon fodder, little Osian’

Dead Man's Embers

Mari Strachan

‘I am damned,’ thinks Bunny Munro in a sudden moment of self-awareness reserved for those who are soon to die

The Death of Bunny Munro

Nick Cave

I thought I could write my way out of this, but I’m just writing my way further in

Darke

Rick Gekoski