Mariner Books (2014), 272 pages
Compiles the best literary essays of the year 2013 which were originally published in American periodicals.
LibraryThing member CarolynSchroeder
From the absolutely horrible to the truly unforgettable, this was my first foray into the genre of "essay." I figured I would start with the "best of" (as I loved this year's short story anthology). Well, it was surely an adventure. I came to three conclusions. One, just because someone technically writes well, it does not mean her life, thoughts or events therein are interesting and she should write about them. Second, the essay is a great new reading form for me and the subject matter is unlimited. So I will ferret out different types of essays in the future. Third, sometimes brevity is truly the soul of it all and the shorter essays really packed an emotional punch. The ones that were dreadful seemed to go on and on. Overall, this is a VERY introspective, dark, disconnected and troubled look at the various writers' lives and some of the people they know, but there are some bits of hope and connection in there. There are a few real standouts for me, but I realize all opinions differ. Those were: "The Old Man at Burning Man" by Wells Tower, "Sliver of Sky" by Barry Lopez, "The Final Day in Rome" by John H. Culver, "The Devil's Bate" by Leslie Jamison and "The Man at the River" by Dave Eggers. Recommended for a little something different, but I cannot fathom all essays will resonate with all persons. But the ones that stick with you, really do!