Thumbs up for Daemon Voices: On Stories and Storytelling by Philip Pullman.
Pullman writes with such clarity of both thought and prose, he is simply a pleasure to read. As with any book of essays, inevitably, certain sections will strike each reader with greater importance. If you are a storyteller of any bent, or perhaps an armchair philosopher, you will find a gem or two of wisdom that speaks to you.… >> Read more
Thumbs up for Slouching Towards Bethlehem by Joan Didion. Nonfiction.
My only excuse for not already having read Didion is that I don’t read many books of essays; and furthermore these essays are mostly about things I do not care about. That doesn’t matter. Her writing is so good it’s like the taste of water when you’re thirsty. Not many people can see truthfully or write beautifully; Didion does both.… >> Read more
Thumbs up for Musings and Meditations: Reflections on Science Fiction, Science, and Other Matters by Robert Silverberg. Nonfiction/essays.
As with any book of essays, not all equally interesting; but the best far outnumbered the lesser. My copy sprouted a forest of shredded post-it notes. I read “The Death of Gallium” and “The Handprints On the Wall” aloud to unsuspecting friends; “Oh Avram, Avram, What a Wonder You Were!” sent me scurrying to order the book (The Avram Davidson Treasury) which the essay was first written to introduce; and I acquired myself some C.… >> Read more
Thumbs up for The Pillow Book of Sei Shonagon by Sei Shonagon, translated by Ivan Morris. Essays.
I’ve wanted to read this ever since reading about it in Ruth Ozeki’s My Year Of Meats. (And don’t ask me why I read that, given that it is i) modern, ii) American and iii) about wanting a baby: all things that I avoid in my books.… >> Read more
Thumbs up for What the Dog Saw by Malcolm Gladwell. Nonfiction essays.
I adore Gladwell’s three other books, but I was rather disappointed by this one. Not that it’s bad: Gladwell is still one of the best nonfiction writers in the world, and if he wrote cereal boxes I’d recommend them. I liked the first section quite a bit, which dealt with the stories of unexpected things and people (gourmet ketchup, hairdye, Ceasar Millan the dog trainer).… >> Read more