Rebecca's Reviews > The Best American Nonrequired Reading 2009

The Best American Nonrequired Reading 2009 by Dave Eggers
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Aug 08, 2010

really liked it
Read from August 08 to 12, 2010

This book was TOTALLY AWESOME. Deep yet fluffy, reminded me of "This American Life." There are stories about big American issues-- race, war, love, peace, nature-- Big stuff. But every story -- fiction, or non-fiction-- is deeply subjective-- a perspective coming from inside a specific person's head. So it's informative on a level that news can't be. What does it FEEL like to be in Iraq, with billionaires investing in strip malls and oil seeping out of the ground, getting patted down at checkpoints across the desert? Or to be an isolated fire lookout in a windy tower in Southern California? Or a reporter interviewing the Abu Ghraib prisoners? Or a new hire in the World's Next EnviroCorporation that will rule the world? Or on a salvaged corner in New Orleans at the neighborhood bar, waving at a bus of disaster tourists?

Here's some dog-eared bits:
p110- "a world of more mountains than a man could walk in a lifetime. I sit trancelike in the tower and feel myself begin to empty, to disappear almost, in the immensity of the country all around."

168- "you could smell the ozone from the crackling precision of his sentence structure, his effortless and pitch-perfect shifting about ten different levels of high, low, middle, techhnical, hipster, nerdy, philosophical, vernacular, vaudevillian, hortatory, tough-guy, broken-hearted, lyrical diction."

359- "the state and I, for all our disagreements, agreed on one thing: weddings are powerfully numinous ceremonies, crude talismans to defiantly shake in the face of Thanatos. Perhaps it is not so coincidental that weddings are so weirdly similar to funerals -- the elbaorate, stylized perparations, the high formality, the priest incanting blessings, the gathered family, the tears, even the sense of something present, immortal, but no seen: in one case, a marriage; in the other, a soul."
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