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The New Kings of Nonfiction Paperback – October 2, 2007
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Top Customer Reviews
This is an excellent collection of non-fiction. I won't use the term "literary non-fiction" because Ira Glass hates the term. (...I'm a snob when it comes to that phrase. I think it's for losers. It's pretentious, for one thing, and it's a bore. Which is to say, it's exactly the opposite of the writing it's trying to describe.)
I will agree with other reviewers here that complained that they came across some of these essays before and therefore the collection did not seem fresh. Ira writes that "some of the stories are very well known" but were included because the writers were trying to document remarkable experiences and the stories were "built around original reporting of one sort of another." You should view the stories in this book as a whole, even if you might have come across a few of them before. There is merit in assembling these stories in a collection which becomes evident after you finish the book. This story collection works because Ira is able to spot that certain something in a story or style or reporting that is original-but not novel, entertaining-but humane. You're purchasing the vision of Ira Glass in The New Kings of Non-Fiction and it's worth every penny if it were quadruple the price.Read more ›
What makes this book so wonderful is that Glass has cherry-picked some of his favorite non-fiction writing and put them all together so you get good writing on a wide range of topics--from profiles of Saddam Hussein to Val Kilmer, from soccer hooligans to a "typical" 10-year-old boy, from where a steak comes from to what is feels like to make the final table at the World Series of Poker. As you know if you're familiar with Ira Glass's work, he has diverse interests and a innate curiosity about the world around us--and this sensibility is reflected in his choices for this book. Perhaps the best way to get a sense of the diversity of the stories in the book is to provide a brief description of the various pieces (with a little bit of commentary on what I liked and didn't like).
* Michael Lewis kicks off the book with a piece called "Jonathan Lebed's Extracurricular Activities,"which was a fascinating look at a 15-year-old high-school boy who gets in trouble with the SEC after he makes a lot of money (like a half a million dollars!!) via day-trading and promoting various stocks on the Internet. In the SEC's mind, Jonathan has done something illegal, but his offense is one that even the head of the SEC is unable to clearly articulate.Read more ›
I found the most compelling story to be "Among the Thugs" by Bill Buford in which the author tags along with a band of English soccer hooligans who, despite their initial behavior and contrary protestations, turn out to be some of the most wildly violent "fans" imaginable.
One warning, though. Some of the pieces in this book are not, contrary to the title, recent. One story, "Shapinsky's Karma" was written back in the 1980s.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
This book was a lot like talking to several really intelligent or at least well spoken people in a row. Read morePublished 2 months ago by Josh O'Berski
As an aspiring writer of truly excellent nonfiction, I can't think of a better book to read. Every story in here is riveting--even the ones on topics I would have told you I have... Read morePublished 6 months ago by Jennifer Gresham
High expectations. Frustrating and less than enjoyable results. Title of book a gross over-statement. SorryPublished 11 months ago by Gary Smith
I purchased this book after reading all of Malcolm Gladwells books. I really enjoy his style of writing and this book contains other authors who write in a similar way. Good read.Published 18 months ago by deborah
I liked most of the stories, but a few were really long and boring. Pretty interesting. Recommended read. The few in the middle are so tough to finish.Published on December 31, 2013 by Drake