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Binding: Hardcover
ISBN: 978-1-57131-334-8
Pages: 208
Publish Date: July 2012
Genre: Nonfiction

Things That Are


BY Amy Leach

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 the connection of exploding stars and exploding sea cucumbers—to rekindle our communion with the wild world. Concerned at once with realms animal and human, phenomenal and cosmic, the contents expand and confound the reader’s senses in delightful ways.

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 The Vagrants



• Read this inspiring Q&A with Amy Leach.
Listen to the playlist that Amy Leach made for Things That Are.
• The book’s illustrator, Nate Christopherson, gets into the nitty-gritty details of his work.
• See the evolution of the cover of Things That Are.
• Listen to Leach’s pared-down bluegrass version of her essay “God.
• Watch Amy read “Love-Lies-Bleeding” during an unconventional performance at Two Pony Gardens
• Watch Amy read portions of her book on the campus of Webster University



Things That Are

A first book of nonfiction by an award-winning author who combines science, nature, philosophy, and cosmology with an incredibly rare and wild imagination.
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Editorial ReviewGoodreads Review

“Even as she fashions a bit of bluesy satire to decry our abuse of nature, Leach is ecstatic in her knowledgeable, resplendent, and exhilarating contemplations of everything from subatomic particles to dust, Spinoza, donkeys, and caterpillars.”

—Donna Seaman, Booklist (Starred)

“This is a bonbon of a book.”

Kirkus Reviews

If Donald Barthelme had made nature documentaries, the commentary might have sounded like this. Lyrical and strange, this engaging book is filled with short tales whose most perfect sentences stay with you, especially in your dreams.”

Huffington Post

“Life is chancy, she admits, and throughout these inventive, sparkling essays, she proposes that for us mortals the way to serenity is through laughter.”

Star Tribune

Every sentence in Things That Are is as pure and fanciful as frost patterns on a window pane.”

The Rumpus

"Beautiful, graceful essays…. It's science made into poetry….. If you'd like a break from the awfully boring language of adulthood, from customer service numbers and insurance claims, Leach's essays are the perfect escape."

Missoula Independent

"When I read Amy Leach’s essays, I am reassured that there is still room to grow my compassionate self."

Brevity Magazine


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Amy Leach

The Rona Jaffe Award and Whiting Writers' Award are among Amy Leach's many accolades. Her work has been published in the Los Angeles Review, A Public Space, Orion, and Tin House. She plays the piano, teaches English, and lives in Montana.

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