Tuck's Reviews > Magic Hours: Essays on Creators and Creation

Magic Hours by Tom Bissell
Rate this book
Clear rating

's review
May 02, 2012

really liked it
bookshelves: essays
Read in May, 2012

a new imprint of mcsweeney's, believer books (2 gripes, the font is terrible, and there is no index, come on, we need an index mcsweeneys), has this collection from bissell, collecting about 12 years of essays taken mostly from mainstream mags (harpers, new yorker, new york times book review, believer, outside etc) and many of these are about tv shows and movies, which i skipped for the most part, though the overview of herzog is pretty fantastic. and the thoughts about david foster wallace and his kenyon graduation speech almost made me cry. bho hho.
i like bissell though, he is wide-eyed country type, but brave, and fresh(ish) in his interpretations of art, politics, travel, and literature. i first read his books about aral sea, and "father of all things" (about vietnam vets (his dad mainly) and that war in general) and liked them alot, so these magazine articles were interesting to me to see his more immediate style of reporting. all in all he does a good job of balancing fact and feeling, philosophy and physical description, but falls far short in some goofs (which he admits, so there is that) like not knowing what a crab apple tree is, or what a pheasant looks like. i like this quote he pulls from kapuscinski, the polish world conflict reporter (and public library shout out)
“A nonfiction writer’s style provides the first corresponding clue as to how we are to approach the facts at hand. The style of the plainspoken, rigorously invisible journalist semaphores one kind of approach, that of the poetical, allusive, and interactive journalist another. These are not competitive styles. One is contentedly earthbound while the other mingles in a Milky Way where morality is not a matter of proper dates and chronology but of representational accuracy, context, language. Its mode of communication is not discursive, or even necessarily informative, but visionary. It is called poetic license for a reason: one has to earn it. As Kapuscinski once said, the subtle tyranny of what happened “is exactly what I avoid.” He continued, “If those are the questions you want answered, you can visit your local library.”
3 likes · flag

Sign into Goodreads to see if any of your friends have read Magic Hours.
Sign In »

Comments (showing 1-4 of 4) (4 new)

dateDown arrow    newest »

message 1: by MJ (new) - rated it 4 stars

MJ Nicholls This is the guy who wrote the great Extra Lives: Why Video Games Matter which I haven't read yet because the freaking thing wasn't even published in this freaking country. *fume*

Tuck yes, he has an essay in this collection about jennifer hale, the voice-over queeen of games. it is pretty interesting. what a weird world that is. is "extra lives" also called "the art and design of Gears of War"? http://www.goodreads.com/book/show/13...

no i gess not, it seems to be different than "extra lives". this bissell guy is pretty geeky, watch out

message 3: by MJ (new) - rated it 4 stars

MJ Nicholls Is this an accurate better title? http://betterbooktitles.com/post/2659...

Tuck ha! what a crazy website. and i thought I wasted a lot of time goofing around. no, now mj, don't tell me........

back to top