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Posts Tagged: Tom Bissell

Making Sense of the “Floating Cultural Stew”

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Over at the L.A. Times, David Ulin argues that the art of the contemporary essay is “in a renaissance.”

He praises the recent essay collections of Tom Bissell and Mark Dery, adding them to the ranks of books like Jonathan Lethem’s The Ecstasy of Influence, Geoff Dyer’s Otherwise Known as the Human Condition, Dubravka Ugresic’s Karaoke Culture, Jonathan Franzen’s Farther Away, and John Jeremiah Sullivan’s Pulphead, all of which walk “an exhilarating tightrope between the personal and the critical, their most fundamental inquiries those the authors make about themselves.”

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A Sense of Direction, by Gideon Lewis-Kraus

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For those of you with literary ambitions, be warned: this book might be painful. You will read A Sense of Direction and recall your confused chasing of said ambition, all that procrastination and thrown time, the (essential but still stinging) aimlessness, and you will realize just how much you sucked at it, how you even wasted your time-wasting.

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