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Best American Essays 2007 Online

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, eThe 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, even a dispatch from Iraq. The philosopher Peter Singer makes a case for philanthropy; the poet Molly Peacock constructs a mosaic tribute to a little-known but remarkable eighteenth-century woman artist; the novelist Marilynne Robinson explores what has happened to holiness in contemporary Christianity; the essayist Richard Rodriguez wonders if California has anything left to say to America; and the Harvard biologist Edward O. Wilson attempts to find common ground with the evangelical community.

In his introduction, David Foster Wallace makes the spirited case that “many of these essays are valuable simply as exhibits of what a first-rate artistic mind can make of particular fact-sets -- whether these involve the 17-kHz ring tones of some kids’ cell phones, the language of movement as parsed by dogs, the near-infinity of ways to experience and describe an earthquake, the existential synecdoche of stagefright, or the revelation that most of what you’ve believed and revered turns out to be self-indulgent crap.”...more

Paperback, 307 pages

Published October 10th 2007 by Mariner Books

Reading David Foster Wallace (author of Infinite Jest and A Supposedly Fun Thing I'll Never Do Again) is always a pleasure. And perhaps even more pleasurable is reading him for free.

Tomorrow, The Best American Essays 2007 hits the streets. Wallace edited the collection and kicked it off with a fiery essay of his own. Houghton Mifflin was good enough (or, rather, marketing-savvy enough) to post the essay, The Deciderization 2007-A Special Report, online for free. And some unknown character did us all a favor by creating a PDF version that's considerably more legible and printer friendly. Read away.

For good measure, we're also throwing your way some more digital David Foster Wallace. Here we have him reading his essay "Consider the Lobster" (the text of which you can also read here), plus the author appearing on The Charlie Rose Show here and here. (In both cases, his appearances come later in the show.) Ciao.

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