The Best American Essays 2008

The Best American Essays 2008

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Overview

Here you will find the finest essays “judiciously selected from countless publications” (Chicago Tribune), ranging from The New Yorker and Harper’s to Swink and Pinch. In his introduction to this year’s edition, Adam Gopnik finds that great essays have “text and inner text, personal story and larger point, the thing you’re supposed to be paying attention to and some other thing you’re really interested in.” David Sedaris’s quirky, hilarious account of a childhood spent yearning for a home where history was properly respected is also a poignant rumination on surviving the passage of time. In “The Ecstasy of Influence,” Jonathan Lethem ponders the intriguing phenomenon of cryptomnesia: a person believes herself to be creating something new but is really recalling similar, previously encountered work. Ariel Levy writes in “The Lesbian Bride’s Handbook” of her efforts to plan a party that accurately reflects her lifestyle (which she notes is “not black-tie!”) as she confronts head-on what it means to be married. And Lauren Slater is off to “Tripp Lake,” recounting the one summer she spent at camp—a summer of color wars, horseback riding, and the “wild sadness” that settled in her when she was away from home.
In the end, Gopnik believes that the only real ambition of an essayist is to be a master of our common life. This latest installment of The Best American Essays is full of writing that reveals, in Gopnik’s words, “the breath of things as they are.”

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780618983223
Publisher: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt
Publication date: 10/08/2008
Series: Best American Essays Series
Pages: 322
Product dimensions: 5.40(w) x 8.10(h) x 0.80(d)

About the Author

ROBERT ATWAN has been the series editor of The Best American Essays since its inception in 1986. He has edited numerous literary anthologies and written essays and reviews for periodicals nationwide.

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The Best American Essays 2008 3.3 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 9 reviews.
bezoar44 on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
One of the more consistently engaging volumes in the series. Some of this year's selections push the boundaries of the essay: Ander Monson, Solipsism (on the relationship between typesetting medium and the message); and Jonathan Lethan, The Ecstasy of Influence (on plagiarism). A number of essays explore an uncanny or darker side of human nature: David Sedaris, This Old House (a sort of post-college Fall of the House of Usher); Sam Shaw, Run Like Fire Once More (on ultra-long distance running); Joe Wenderoth, Where God is Glad (on a gritty strip club); and Lee Zacharias, Buzzard (on vultures, but also about her uneasy relationship with her father). Few essays in this collection are uplifting, but most were moving, striking, or interesting.
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