Renata's Reviews > A Heartbreaking Work of Staggering Genius

A Heartbreaking Work of Staggering Genius by Dave Eggers
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Mar 24, 14

bookshelves: all-time-favorites, re-read, nonfiction, memoir
Recommended for: humans
Read in October, 2008, read count: 5

I have re-read this book several times and I still love it. I've read reviews complaining about how pretentious Dave Eggers is and like... I'm not gonna tell you this book isn't pretentious. I'm just going to tell you that I love it anyway. Actually maybe I love it because of how pretentious it is. Maybe I love it because Eggers hates how pretentious it is yet clearly cannot help himself.
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I just read this again because I have been having some bad months and I thought this would make me feel better. It did. But also worse. But in a good way. You know?
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I read this in high school and just re-read it to see if I still loved it as much as I did.. six? Seven? years ago. The answer is YES. This is one of my favorite books of all time and I think you should go read it, right now. I love it because it shows you can be cynical and hip and postmodern and still know that there is beauty in life.

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Kelly I've read Heartbreaking Work and Zeitoun during the last week. Are there any other Eggers books you'd especially recommend?


Renata I'm so excited to answer this question.

After that I'd suggest What is the What, for sure. Those are 3 of my very favorite books.

Beyond that, I haven't loved most of Eggers' work? In my opinion, nonfiction is his jam but he'd rather write fiction?

His short story collection How We are Hungry is uneven but has some really great ones... Up The Mountain Coming Down Slowly is really haunting.

His novels You Shall Know Our Velocity!, A Hologram for the King and The Circle are all like... fine? I didn't love any of them. They all have a similar vibe of being... sort of a satire of Modern Society but... not... quite... making it? I can't put my finger on it but to me, they are all "off" in the same kind of way. I think The Circle is probably the best of the 3 but I don't recommend it with the same fervor I recommend his nonfiction.

I haven't gotten around to reading The Wild Things, which is the novel he wrote based on the screenplay he wrote based on Where the Wild Things Are... it seems like kind of a stretch that there needs to be a novel of that. BUT the Wild Things movie made me cry my face off and I will probably read it eventually.

Oh, he also edits the Best American Non-Required Reading anthologies every year and I always like to check those out.


Kelly Thanks Ren! I've just ordered 'What is the What' from my public library. Thanks for the advice. I might leave my Eggers reading after that. It's rare that I want to read every book by a certain author anyway.


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