The Best American Essays 2007 by David Foster Wallace

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The twenty-two essays in this powerful collection -- perhaps the most diverse in the entire series -- come from a wide variety of periodicals, ranging from n + 1 and PMS to the New Republic and The New Yorker, and showcase a remarkable range of forms. Read on for narrative -- in first and third person -- opinion, memoir, argument, the essay-review, confession, reportage, even a dispatch from Iraq. The philosopher Peter Singer makes a case for philanthropy; the poet Molly Peacock constructs a mosaic tribute to a little-known but remarkable eighteenth-century woman artist; the novelist Marilynne Robinson explores what has happened to holiness in contemporary Christianity; the essayist Richard Rodriguez wonders if California has anything left to say to America; and the Harvard biologist Edward O. Wilson attempts to find common ground with the evangelical community.

In his introduction, David Foster Wallace makes the spirited case that “many of these essays are valuable simply as exhibits of what a first-rate artistic mind can make of particular fact-sets -- whether these involve the 17-kHz ring tones of some kids’ cell phones, the language of movement as parsed by dogs, the near-infinity of ways to experience and describe an earthquake, the existential synecdoche of stagefright, or the revelation that most of what you’ve believed and revered turns out to be self-indulgent crap.”

About David Foster Wallace

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Writer David Foster Wallace was born in Ithaca, New York on February 21, 1962. He received a B.A. from Amherst College in Massachusetts. He was working on his master's degree in creative writing at the University of Arizona when he published his debut novel The Broom of the System (1987). Wallace published his second novel Infinite Jest (1996) which introduced a cast of characters that included recovering alcoholics, foreign statesmen, residents of a halfway house, and high-school tennis stars. He spent four years researching and writing this novel. His first collection of short stories was Girl with Curious Hair (1989). He also published a nonfiction work titled Signifying Rappers: Rap and Race in the Urban Present. He committed suicide on September 12, 2008 at the age of 46 after suffering with bouts of depression for 20 years. Robert Atwan is the series editor of The Best American Essays. He recently edited Divine Inspiration, a volume of world poetry on the Gospels.
Published October 10, 2007 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt. 336 pages
Genres: Literature & Fiction. Non-fiction

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There is also “An Orgy of Power,” George Gessert’s passionate screed against the brutalization of the American mindset in the post-9/11 era, and Garret Keizer’s controversial “Loaded,” in which he breaks the domestic liberal code of silence on guns and political action: “Give me some people who a...

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Publishers Weekly

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Other selections include Malcolm Gladwell on ""dog whisperer"" Cesar Milan, Mark Greif on children and sexuality, and Cynthia Ozick on the book-length essay, ""Romantic Religion,"" that left her ""dazzled and undone."" In a serious, trying year, these essays meet the challenges of modern American...

Oct 01 2007 | Read Full Review of The Best American Essays 2007


The Palestinians are only “guilty” of migrating into a land that had been vacated by the Jews hundreds of years earlier - after the Roman’s ordered the Jews out - sending them into Europe and Russia - and then not turning the land back to the Jews who wanted all of their land back - 2,000 years l...

Oct 04 2007 | Read Full Review of The Best American Essays 2007

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