In Essays from Essex, Sydney Williams shares new musings on family, nature, literature, and the miracles to be found in everyday life. Following on the heels of his earlier collections, One Man’s Family: Growing up in Peterborough and Other Stories and Notes from Old Lyme: Life on the Marsh and Other Essays, the nearly two dozen entries in this book range from stories of growing up in the 1940s and ’50s, Christmases past, and remembrances of friends and family, to observations on the joys of motherhood, the return of Atlantic sturgeon to the Connecticut River, the pleasure of reading children’s books, and the ongoing surprises that come with aging.
With a clear, lyrical, and engaging style, Williams’s writing has been described as “good-humored yet profound.” Essays from Essex will provide readers with many enjoyable opportunities to pause and reflect briefly on life and the world around us. In addition to numerous photographs, Essays from Essex also includes a half-dozen original drawings and paintings by Williams’s grandson, Alex.
author of RELENTLESS: Mark Victor Hansen
Breadth of Knowledge married Human Insight and they had a baby named Essays from Essex. You won’t find another book that is simultaneously so wise and so humane! I loved every word of it.
Opinion columnist for the Journal Inquirer, Manchester, Connecticut
Sydney Williams has been hiding his light under a bushel. Most essayists write too long to hold the attention of readers not already interested in a subject, but Williams’s are more meaningful than those found in most periodicals. They cover topics everyone can relate to—like growing up, family life, nature, friends, history, and love of country. Williams writes with perfect clarity and yet great gentleness. He is sensible and hard-headed, impermeable to intellectual fad and fashion but too reflective to be nasty about it. This book might reside best on a nightstand, ready to remind readers that a day without reflection is wasted.
New York Times bestselling author of The Summer Wives
A particular New England wisdom saturates the pages of Essays from Essex—wry, modest, humane, and deeply enriched by the wonders of the natural world. Sydney Williams reaches into the heart of the matter, whether he’s writing about childhood or the coronavirus or the Connecticut River, to remind us that we occupy a slim, humble arc in the continuum of history, and to savor each moment of the lives we’re given. These essays radiate good sense and virtue in a world that seems to have forgotten what either of those ideas really mean.
former CEO of The Onion and author of Dairylandia
Today I read about the devastation wrought by Hurricane Ian, a barrage of missile strikes on Ukraine, and the distinct possibility that Europeans will be unable to heat their homes this winter. All that bad news made me anxious. And then at bedtime I read a handful of Sydney William’s “Essays from Essex,” on the “miracle” of grandchildren, his father waltzing with a real, live Shetland pony on Christmas Eve, and the intoxicating joy of a life spent reading. I closed the book, turned off the light, and slept like a baby.
Sydney M. Williams III grew up on a small farm in Peterborough, New Hampshire, and later spent his career on Wall Street. Now retired, he lives in Essex, Connecticut, with his wife Caroline. His previous books include One Man’s Family: Growing up in Peterborough and Other Stories (2014) and Notes from Old Lyme: Life on the Marsh and Other Essays (2016), and Dear Mary: Letters Home from the 10th Mountain Division, 1944–1945 (2019), all from Bauhan Publishing. Williams also authors a blog called “Thought of the Day,” in which he shares reflections on politics, economics, markets, education, climate, and other matters that interest him. Despite its name, the blog is now published once a week, and includes a month-end essay called “The Month That Was,” covering news highlights of the previous month. To read it, visit: firstname.lastname@example.org.