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Book of Days: Personal Essays Paperback – August 17, 2010

4.4 out of 5 stars 7 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

Review

“The best of these ten essays combine the details of memory with reflective insight and a command of tone that resists cliché, while refusing to settle into simplistic understanding.  … Whether she’s explaining her affinity for Kafka or exploring the tribal rituals of faculty wives—her husband is a professor, as her father was—Gordon writes with flinty humor, unsentimental precision and a refusal to let herself or anyone else off too easily.”
Kirkus

“Emily Fox Gordon’s essays make me want to curl up inside them and keep on reading for as long as I can. She writes with candor, wit, and insight about common and uncommon occurrences, whether it be her husband’s colonoscopy or her decades-long therapy experience. Her ability to sound out the truth about the coded world of academe or the pleasure to be found in long-running marriages makes her a bracing and welcome guide through the thickets of contemporary life.”
—Daphne Merkin

"In one of this book's fine essays, Emily Fox Gordon observes drily that calling oneself a born personal essayist is like calling oneself a born éminence grise. Maybe so—but if there were ever a writer born to this genre, it's Gordon, who can simultaneously strip herself bare and turn an unforgettable phrase."
—Anne Fadiman


“Good writing is itself a moral virtue. Wit, complexity, and detail are its outward signs, and [Gordon’s work] shines with them.”
—The New Yorker
 
“Emily Fox Gordon’s writing combines remarkable intelligence—a critical eye, a complex wit—with extraordinary candor and vulnerability.”
—Rosellen Brown

About the Author

Emily Fox Gordon is an award-winning essayist and the author of the novel It will Come to Me, and two memoirs, Mockingbird Years: A Life In and Out of Therapy and Are you Happy?: A Childhood Remembered. Her work had appeared in American Scholar, Time, Pushcart Prize Anthology XXIII and XXIX, the New York Times Book Review, Boulevard, and Salmagundi. She lives in Houston.

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 320 pages
  • Publisher: Spiegel & Grau; 1 edition (August 17, 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0385525893
  • ISBN-13: 978-0385525893
  • Product Dimensions: 5.1 x 0.6 x 8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 8 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (7 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #826,905 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback
Emily Fox Gordon's keen, insightful personal essays, originally published in distinguished literary journals such as Boulevard and The American Scholar, are now gathered in an illuminating collection that could stand as a third memoir. Fans of Are You Happy: A Childhood Remembered and Mockingbird Years: A Life In and Out of Therapy will discover here a kind of narrative thread that moves past Gordon's ambivalent years on the therapist's couch to the present day, in which she registers both comfort in an enduring, intellectually charged marriage and an ongoing quest for depth and discernment in her hard-won, fully deserved writing life. The title essay, a response to the publication of Mockingbird Years, is a must-read for all writers and readers of the memoir. (Mockingbird Years, the essay from which the memoir was developed, is included in this collection, as well.) But to flat-out label the collection a memoir, or a sequel, would be inaccurate and diminishing. Each wholly satisfying essay glows and bristles pleasingly on its own, offspring of a vigorous, stretching mind with a sly eye for the comic. It's no exaggeration to say that Emily Fox Gordon is one of the finest personal essayists writing today.
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By Jamie on April 14, 2013
Format: Kindle Edition
Although EFG has a few moments of promise in this collection of essays, my overall impression is that this collection still needs serious work. The content could be interesting, and it never quite delivers. She offers very little in the way of vulnerability, which prevents the reader, or at least this reader, from ever really connecting with the subjects being explored. I would skip this unless you're a very dedicated fan of her work.
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Format: Paperback
Happily in the midst of Emily Fox Gordon's "Book of Days," easily one of the very best essay collections recently published. In some ways, Gordon's work reminds me of writers like Patricia Hampl--both are intensely keen observers of "moments"--and yet Gordon has a style all her own. It's loose and funny, with arresting imagery and phrases. The essay "Mockingbird Years" (which provided the basis for her book-length memoir), the essays on "faculty wives" and the titular piece are alone worth the price of the book. An added bonus for writers of the personal essay: Phillip Lopate's introduction. He gets right to the heart of what makes essays so engaging to read.
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Format: Paperback
Emily Fox Gordon's voice is funny, astringent, palpable. She sometimes turns an eviscerating eye on others, but most of the time it is turned on herself. This is one of those truly great books of essays--like the wonderful *Boys of My Youth* by JoAnn Beard--that manages to be an autobiography at the same time. I read it in a day because I couldn't put it down.
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