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The Best American Essays 2008 Paperback – Bargain Price, October 8, 2008
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"Reliable and yet still surprising--the best of the best." (Kirkus Reviews )
About the Author
ADAM GOPNIK has won the National Magazine Award for essay and criticism and the George Polk Award for magazine reporting. He wrote the article on the culture of the United States in the last two editions of the Encyclopaedia Britannica.
Since the inception of The Best American Essays in 1986 as a trade book title, Robert Atwan has been series editor. He has published reviews and essays in a range of periodicals and edited a number of other literature anthologies. Atwan most recently edited two collections of poetry with a Biblical theme, Chapters into Verse by Oxford University Press and Divine Inspiration by Oxford University Press.
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Top customer reviews
Here are quick takes on the essays that I enjoyed the most:
-- Jonathan Lethem's "The Ecstasy of Influence: A Plagiarism": an incredibly well-researched essay exploring the nature of originality in thought, plagiarism, and the way all creative thinkers build upon the works of others; it works on two levels, because Lethem himself openly steals almost all the thoughts in the essay from other sources (which are attributed), thus illustrating his main point.
-- Patricia Brieschke's "Cracking Open": a touching first person essay about the challenges a poor young mother goes through after giving bearing a child with a serious birth defect.
-- Bernard Cooper's "The Constant Gardener": another very touching first person essay, about a man tending to his sick partner and dealing with the physical and emotional issues of a terminal illness.
There was just one complete miss in this volume, Jamal Mahjoub's "Salamanca", which didn't register any impression on me other than having taken up space in the book and my time in reading it. There were a few other essays that caused me to question their inclusion, but on balance, I found 2008's volume to be a return to the normal standards of this series, and a serious attempt by Adam Gopnik to assemble the year's best essays.
There is a particular one by Ariel Levy titled The Lesbian Bride's Handbook which takes an often controversial topic, same sex marriage, and completely humanizes it for the reader.
She gives us a heartfelt account of her wedding plans but makes us focus more on the joy of the occassion than any of the pre wedding jitters she experiences, like most brides.
Her relationship with her partner is solid, the reception details are confirmed, and she is basically just a girl who wants to look and feel good for her special day. While finding a wedding dress can be a daunting task for anyone, she is trying hard to please those around her. Knowuing she isn't marrying a man doesn't change the fact that we can all relate to the happiness she feels and her desire to get it right- regardless of anyone's political or moral beliefs on the matter.
Most recent customer reviews
Not a stunning collection but a broad selection of topics by worthy writers and there were a few that were...Read more