This new brief, thematic reader helps students add depth and interest to their writing by showing them how to transend the personal essay to produce more thoughtful, scholarly papers. The readings in each chapter move from personal to professional to academic essays, engaging students in deeper levels of inquiry and encouraging their own writing of argumentative, and documented essays. Centered around compelling contemporary themes, each chapter begins with works drawn from popular magazines like Glamour, Harpers, and online publications such as Salon followed by selections drawn from sources like Discover and Scientific American that provide more detailed information, alternate perspectives, and research. The final reading in each chapter comes from scholarly or near-scholarly writing that provides direction for student research. Visuals in each chapter allow students to analyze the persuasive power of images and their role in supporting and directing contemporary culture.