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The Best American Essays 2007 (Best American Essays)

3.87  ·  Rating details ·  1,191 Ratings  ·  137 Reviews
The twenty-two essays in this powerful collection -- perhaps the most diverse in the entire series -- come from a wide variety of periodicals, ranging from n + 1 and PMS to the New Republic and The New Yorker, and showcase a remarkable range of forms. Read on for narrative -- in first and third person -- opinion, memoir, argument, the essay-review, confession, reportage, e ...more
Paperback, 307 pages
Published October 10th 2007 by Mariner Books
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Apr 03, 2012 rated it it was ok
I suppose I shouldn't be rating this because I didn't read all the essays, but I did skim the ones I didn't read fully.

I originally checked this out of the library merely to read Jo Ann Beard's "Werner," which was great and on its own deserves 5 stars. It reads like a short story, which is probably one of the reasons I liked it so much. The style of Daniel Orozco's "Shakers" was different and interesting. I also liked Jerald Walker's "Dragon Slayers," which I'm guessing is the one that guest-edi
Jan 17, 2008 rated it liked it
Recommends it for: Anyone wants to understand the current world
Shelves: anthologies
I was reticent to pick up this anthology. While I generally buy whatever comes out in the The Best American Series each year, this years editor of the American Essays, David Wallace Foster, is a writer I don't particularly care for. Truthfully, I think his writing is on a different level than most. He is extremely smart, and very witty. Stylistically, he writes like the whole universe exists purely so we can read his words. And that's basically what I dislike about him. I don't really care for ...more
Jul 22, 2010 rated it really liked it
Picked this up dirt cheap at Powell's back in February and finally read it. Mainly was interested in DFW's introductory essay, but I wound up very much liking some of the selections and reading the anthology cover to cover. The essay "Operation Gomorrah," which is about the Allied firebombing of Hamburg in World War II, inspired me to pick up about five extra copies of the book to share with friends.

The other balls-out stand-up essays in the book are "Shakers" by Daniel Orozco, and "In the Mosqu
Dec 05, 2008 rated it liked it
Shelves: read-in-2009
I thought the first half of the book (the 11 essays ending with Louis Menand's) was mediocre and probably worthy of 2 stars. I thought the second half of the book (the 11 essays beginning with Daniel Orozco's) was excellent and probably worthy of 4 stars. So, as a result, this book gets 3 stars from me.

Being someone who isn't afraid to quit a book after 100 pages or so, I was surprised by DFW's decision to put the best 11 essays at the end of the book and the worst 11 at the beginning. I mean, I
Nov 16, 2008 rated it really liked it
Shelves: nonfict
Best of the Best

David Foster Wallace's introduction is even more poignant and reflective about our culture after his passing earlier this year.

Danner's essay on the Iraq war is a complex, nuanced, insightful look at the reasons for going to war and the reasons the public was told that the US was going to war.

Keizer's essay on gun rights / violence didn't necessarily change my opinions on the issue but did help me empathize with the other side.

Lahr's essay about stagefright is anecdotally amusing
Jan 19, 2008 rated it it was ok
holy disappointment. i love DFW, so i picked this up. i read his introduction and 9 of the 22 "essays". his intro was vintage DFW. the best thing in the book. great. hilarious, insightful, perceptive, informative. so imagine how excited i was to read 22 essays that this master essayist said he "envied" because they did things with language that he "only wished that he could do".

of the 9 that i read, the first "essay" in the book, Werner, was by far the best. five stars. the only thing is that if
Jan 14, 2008 rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: Ye civic-minded citizens of the U.S.A.
I'm about halfway through David Foster Wallace's 2007 essay selections. Sometimes I feel as if I'm reading the Sunday paper--opinion pieces about torture and war, pedophilia and dog hypnosis. My mind reels and it's a slow journey. An afternoon of WWII bombings sent me on a week-long hiatus, for example. But this collection suits me, too. After reading _The Kitchen God's Wife_ and basically hating it, I've been trying to understand the nature of violence. In his intro, Wallace describes the essay ...more
Dec 29, 2013 added it
I like to keep editions of this series around in the guest bedroom for sleepless nights and random perusal. I never read the whole thing, as there are always topics that don't interest me or writing styles that don't appeal. This one seems to be full of Bush/Iraq stuff that might have been engaging at the time but I think I will skip them as I am still weary of war talk.
Jun 20, 2014 rated it really liked it
Shelves: nonfiction, essays
A solid collection of essays. Favourites include Werner, What the Dog Saw, Petrified, and Rules of Engagement.
Jan 15, 2018 rated it really liked it
A better than average collection of essays, with some true standouts. Interestingly, one of those standouts was the introduction from guest editor David Foster Wallace, reminding me of just how awesome he was and what we are missing now that he is gone.

Of the 4 Best American series I read, the Essays series is of course the one most rooted in place and time. So as I work my way backwards in time, the Essays have an interesting layer of review as I read from my "future" perspective on familiar e
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David Foster Wallace worked surprising turns on nearly everything: novels, journalism, vacation. His life was an information hunt, collecting hows and whys. "I received 500,000 discrete bits of information today," he once said, "of which maybe 25 are important. My job is to make some sense of it." He wanted to write "stuff about what it feels like to live. Instead of being a relief from what it fe ...more
More about David Foster Wallace...

Other Books in the Series

Best American Essays (1 - 10 of 34 books)
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“Because we’ve been lied to and lied to, and it hurts to be lied to. It’s ultimately just about that complicated: it hurts. It denies you respect for yourself, for the liar, for the world. Especially if the lies are chronic, systemic, if hard experience seems to teach that everything you’re supposed to believe in’s really a game based on lies. Young Voters have been taught well and thoroughly. You may not personally remember Vietnam or Watergate, but it’s a good bet you remember ‘No new taxes’ and ‘Out of the loop’ and ‘No direct knowledge of any impropriety at this time’ and Did not inhale’ and ‘Did not have sex with that woman’ and etc. etc. It’s depressing and painful to believe that the would-be ‘public servants’ you’re forced to choose between are all phonies whose only real concern is their own care and feeding and who will lie so outrageously with such a straight face that you just know they have to believe you’re an idiot. So who wouldn’t fall all over themselves for a top politician who actually seemed to talk to you like you were a person, an intelligent adult worthy of respect?” 127 likes
“[T]o really try to be informed and literate today is to feel stupid nearly all the time, and to need help.” 25 likes
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