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A Line Out for a Walk: Familiar Essays
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A Line Out for a Walk: Familiar Essays

4.29  ·  Rating details ·  52 Ratings  ·  7 Reviews
Paul Klee's words on his art, "I take a line out for a walk," describe precisely what the author of these essays does—he takes out such "lines" as gossip, gambling, height (or the lack of it), hats, smoking, fame or compulsive reading and "walks them" in his own discursive style.
Paperback, 336 pages
Published July 17th 1992 by W. W. Norton Company (first published 1991)
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Andria
Apr 16, 2008 rated it really liked it
This collection was published in 1991, a few years before I took a class on Willa Cather from its author. (Prof.) Epstein was one of my favorite teachers, and the reasons he was an engaging and effective instructor are clear in his writing. He is witty and self-deprecating, as well as whip-smart and impossibly well-read. These essays are both personal and public, on topics ranging from health to hat-wearing. He was always a pleasure to be around, and I enjoyed having his voice in my head for a l ...more
Tim
Jun 03, 2011 rated it it was amazing
The personal essays collected in A Line Out for a Walk are a delight. Some have aged better than others, the ones on health and reading seem almost prophetic today. The collection builds to the end, some of the earlier essays lingered too long on topics I was less than interested in though Epstein's writing, his literary quotation and small personal revelations, carried me through those particular pieces. The last five - on envy, reading, gossip, money, and healthcare are true joys. And probably ...more
Hal O'Brien
Oct 01, 2009 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: essays, favorites
Epstein was editor of "The American Scholar" before Anne Fadiman. I didn't learn that until he'd already left, more's the pity.

His essay in this collection, "The Bore Wars," is all about the many ways to be a bore. Half the time I regard it as a caution to myself; half the time, a post-mortem. Alas.
Michael Dworaczyk
May 31, 2009 rated it it was amazing
I didn't want this book to end. That's probably why it took me so long to read it. Joseph Epstein is one of the finest essayists I know. Who else could take such a mundane topic as "hats," and leave you feeling you just learned something valuable and special? Each essay is a work of art, worth many re-reads.
Liz
Feb 14, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: essays
Some of Joe's best.
Bill
Aug 03, 2011 added it
Epstein was the editor of the American Scholar for a couple decades and has perfected the familiar essay form.
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“I believe it was Gayelord Hauser, the nutritionist, who said, 'You are what you eat,' but if you happen to be an intellectual, you are what you quote.” 9 likes
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