The Fun Stuff by James Wood
And Other Essays

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It means that this is a book that's impossible to read without gaining a greater appreciation of what it means to write well, both in the case of the work under review and, just as pleasurably, the reviews themselves.
-Guardian

Synopsis

Following The Broken Estate, The Irresponsible Self, and How Fiction Works—books that established James Wood as the leading critic of his generation—The Fun Stuff confirms Wood's preeminence, not only as a discerning judge but also as an appreciator of the contemporary novel. In twenty-three passionate, sparkling dispatches—that range over such crucial writers as Thomas Hardy, Leon Tolstoy, Edmund Wilson, and Mikhail Lermontov—Wood offers a panoramic look at the modern novel. He effortlessly connects his encyclopedic, passionate understanding of the literary canon with an equally in-depth analysis of the most important authors writing today, including Cormac McCarthy, Lydia Davis, Aleksandar Hemon, and Michel Houellebecq. Included in The Fun Stuff are the title essay on Keith Moon and the lost joys of drumming—which was a finalist for last year's National Magazine Awards—as well as Wood's essay on George Orwell, which Christopher Hitchens selected for the Best American Essays 2010. The Fun Stuff is indispensable reading for anyone who cares about contemporary literature.

 

About James Wood

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James Wood is a staff writer at The New Yorker and a visiting lecturer at Harvard University. He is the author of How Fiction Works, as well as two essay collections, The Broken Estate and The Irresponsible Self, and a novel, The Book Against God, all published by FSG.
 
Published October 30, 2012 by Farrar, Straus and Giroux. 353 pages
Genres: Literature & Fiction. Non-fiction
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Critic reviews for The Fun Stuff
All: 4 | Positive: 4 | Negative: 0

Guardian

Good
Reviewed by Robert Douglas-Fairhurst on Mar 01 2013

Repeatedly in these 25 essays, his eye singles out those moments where writers outdo themselves...This is fiction's fun stuff, and Wood is an impressive guide through it: learned and puckish, sympathetic and stringent.

Read Full Review of The Fun Stuff: And Other Essays | See more reviews from Guardian

Guardian

Good
Reviewed by Andrew Anthony on Feb 09 2013

It means that this is a book that's impossible to read without gaining a greater appreciation of what it means to write well, both in the case of the work under review and, just as pleasurably, the reviews themselves.

Read Full Review of The Fun Stuff: And Other Essays | See more reviews from Guardian

NY Journal of Books

Good
Reviewed by Vinton Rafe McCabe on Oct 30 2012

James Wood is that wonderful thing: the academic who still loves the topic of his study.

Read Full Review of The Fun Stuff: And Other Essays | See more reviews from NY Journal of Books

The Economist

Good
on Feb 09 2013

It is a pleasure to follow his education, and to learn something in turn.

Read Full Review of The Fun Stuff: And Other Essays | See more reviews from The Economist

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Luyao Jin 16 Jul 2013

Rated the book as 5 out of 5

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