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The Norton Book of Personal Essays Hardcover – March 17, 1997
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This amazing collection consists of talented writers approaching highly personal subjects. Dorothy Parker is not terribly pleased about turning 40. A. J. Liebling holds forth on having a good appetite. Zora Neale Hurston meditates on the color of her skin and what that means. Flannery O'Connor writes with introspection about raising peacocks on her farm. John Gregory Dunne discusses his feelings about adopting a daughter with his wife, Joan Didion. More than 50 selections can be found in The Norton Book of Personal Essays, and the roster of writers couldn't be more impressive.
From Library Journal
The appeal of personal essays stems in part from their directness, their "shameless subjectivity." As the editor of the American Scholar and the author of five collections of essays, Epstein is eminently qualified to select and introduce 53 personal essays written in English by well-known authors during the past century. They were chosen because he "found them interesting, touching, pleasing, amusing, delightful?above all, entertaining." The result is a potpourri of selections that vary widely in subject and style. Topics range from music, racism, and traveling to fathers, children, and childhood. Among the selections are Dorothy Parker's witty diatribe on reaching middle age and historian Barbara Tuchman's reflections about the curious letters she receives from her readers. While not all essays in this anthology will appeal to everyone, readers have a nice variety to choose from. Recommended for general literature collections.?Ilse Heidmann, San Marcos, Tex.
Copyright 1997 Reed Business Information, Inc.
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The collection includes a wide range of topics from a fondly remembered general store, to turning forty, to reminisces of family members, friends, or a discussion of societal issues. The essays start with the oldest contributor, Mark Twain, born in 1835 and end with the youngest contributor, Amy Tan, born in 1952. It's an interesting way to present a collection because while the decades and topics differ greatly, the authors' skill in sharing thoughts so eloquently is a common thread.
I was delighted to come across stunning essays from writers I'd never read before. For instance, Willa Cather's "A Chance Meeting" is a gorgeous piece about a chance encounter with an older woman at a hotel, which turns into something quite special. Dorothy Parker's essay on turning forty is hilarious, as is L. Rust Hills' piece on eating an ice cream cone. F. Scott Fitzgerald, Truman Capote, Doris Lessing, Eudora Welty, and many others are also well worth reading. In fact, out of the 53 essays encompassing 468 pages, only two or three didn't interest me. If you're a fan of personal essays, this book is a must-read. You'll learn a lot from the greats.