Best american essays 2013 goodreads

Notarnicola honor the dead and never write such a sentence again? Thunderstorm is kidding. Are there gems in this collection? Of course. Kushner employs unstated and factual prose to depict life in the camp and to portray one of its heroes, Palestinian community organizer Baha Nababta, who is called upon to cope with political and human dilemmas that are simply insoluble. Yet that same freedom can cause even capable writers to stumble and fall.

Apr 29, Elise rated it liked it. Essay - from the French word essayer, to try - p. It unsettles them. It models a certain way of paying attention: awestruck and humble and suspicious all at once, taking as premise-as promise-the limits of its own vision. Look closer. Get dizzy. Every human life is infinite. You will never know the half of it. Here's a half, and then another half, and then another half, that's three-there's more!

No life is a thesis statement.

Gabrielle Selz’s review of The Best American Essays

No life is as simple as a threat. Everyone hurts about something. Everyone has feelings about breakfast. Every person is a fucking miracle.

These statements might not sound political, but if you really believe them they make political demands. Essays take the political and make it something that lives in a body, that needs to sleep and stay hydrated, that might - for example - drink water as hot as a locker-room shower twenty klicks north of Fallujah.

What we can't imagine for ourselves. That's why we need to see the world - for a spell - through someone else's eyes. There's nothing wrong with it for those for whom it works. But when it comes to drug treatment there's an assumption that one size fits all. And if you're going to wash your hands of people who can't go the abstinence route, then you're giving up You're not treating the addiction [with harm reduction approaches].

You're not intending to. You're just reducing the harm. They smoke because they do not have the time or money to eat properly, because other, more respectable mind-altering drugs are not available to them, because it is something to enjoy. They do it because their jobs when they still exist are so boring and physically painful they would rather die Oct 22, Sara rated it liked it Shelves: non-fiction , compilation , diverse , essays , bookriot-read-harder-challenge This was my first time reading a collection of essays by different people. I've read essays before, but ones that were written by one person, perhaps all centered on a particular topic.

So this was new to me. Here are my thoughts on the subject: I'm not really sure what the definition of an essay is, because based on the wide variety that is in this book, it seems like essays can be anything - thoughts on a subject of interest, personal stories, thoughts on a specific person famous o This was my first time reading a collection of essays by different people. Here are my thoughts on the subject: I'm not really sure what the definition of an essay is, because based on the wide variety that is in this book, it seems like essays can be anything - thoughts on a subject of interest, personal stories, thoughts on a specific person famous or not.

When I had to write essays in school, they were a far cry from this, so I didn't really know what to expect with each new essay. What I can say is, when I read reviews of other essays collections, Roxane Gay's, for example, I saw a lot of people complain about a lack of argument or break down of a topic into an argument.

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Now having read this collection of the supposedly BEST essays in I can say that most essays do not make it clear what the argument is. In fact, most just seem to be a discussion, with the author's personal thoughts about the subject. So I think most people have the same problem as me and don't really know what an essay is outside of a school context.

That being said, I enjoyed a lot of the essays in this book. Jamison did an excellent job of choosing a wide range of subjects and authors, whose topics were all over the map, including racism, abuse, addiction, and grief. There were others I hated, that were either hard to follow or else the subject matter didn't appeal to me or I just didn't enjoy reading it. It was quite an eclectic bunch, so their were bound to be essays I didn't care for.

I'm glad I read this book.

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It was a challenge to my general reading, I had to focus, there were layers happening and I wanted to catch the author's meaning because these were crafted bits of writing, they were trying to do something other than just tell a story. I would recommend this or other collections in this series to those who enjoy slice of life narratives. They may be essays, but they are also stories, and you get very close to the author, they're showing you their brain working through something very intimately. Sep 19, Wise Cat rated it it was ok Shelves: non-fiction , essays.

First I want to say I never read anything like this before, except maybe in school decades ago. I do remember having to take essay tests or write the answer as an essay. Anyway, I decided to stretch my comfort zone and read something "different". My dictionary, though it's old, defines an essay as a "analysis or personal opinion on a subject of general interest. This contains 20 essays, of varying lengths. The foreword was boring, as well as the First I want to say I never read anything like this before, except maybe in school decades ago.

Origins of a Masterpiece

The foreword was boring, as well as the intro. I almost nodded off. Half of the essays in this book were either depressing or disturbing to me, really hard to read. I had to pace myself through those, reading half at a time So after that, I kept going because I wanted to see if there's anymore that I like. So I almost gave up on it, but it is rated so highly on here I struggled through.

But it was tempting to give up since nobody is forcing me to read that That was the 6th one.


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The rest of them had me checking to see how many pages it was and whether to read it all at once or a bit at a time. Sometimes I would think "Gosh is this almost at the end? The foreword does describe SOME of them but not all of them.

The Best American Essays 2012

And because it was so long and boring, I didn't retain any of what I read. So I forgot what the essays were about. In some cases, I got a rude awakening I'm all for thought provoking, analytical essays but why not on more uplifting subjects??? I'm sure they exist!


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Do NOT read this if you're depressed or in a bad mood. Some of them were like watching the news, which is mostly bad news. Most of them were like reading a diary or journal of personal, traumatic experience.

Reading Progress

So 2 stars it is, because I liked almost half of them. I was sure it was going to be 1 star, or I wouldn't finish it.


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This is definitely not escapist or pleasure reading. From now on, I'm sticking to my novels or short stories. I've stretched my reading comfort zone enough for now! It was kind of like school when they made us read or write essays. Jun 05, J rated it really liked it.