About the book
This fresh collection of fact-based narratives--mined from blogs, alternative papers, literary journals, and other out-of-the-way publications--engages and delights with exceptional work about topics from birth to death and everything in between. Stefan Fatsis, author of World Freak, traces the history of his baseball glove; Donovan Hohn chases a spilled cargo-load of rubber ducks bobbing along the Pacific currents; and Pagan Kennedy explores the hidden life of the creator ofThe Joy of Sex.
Gutkind gathers another fresh collection of exemplary essays from a wide range of authors and sources, tackling everything from multiracial love and familial exile to the connection between memory and digital photo manipulation. Relatable situations and eccentric writers keep the stories intelligent but accessible, and often poignant; especially resonant is Gwendolyn Knapp's attempt to rehabilitate her mom’s terminal case of pack-rat fever. Sarah Miller-Davenport provides some levity in a piece on guilty (and expensive) pleasures called “Here I Am in Bergdorf Goodman.” Many accounts run up the old stranger-than-fiction flag, most notably [Laura] Sewell Matter's piece regarding her discovery, on an Icelandic beach, of a page torn from a book; captivated by the “amazingly, almost unbelievably, bad” excerpt, she sets off on a global search for the complete novel. Proving again his chops as an anthologist, Gutkind’s latest collection—which also includes Heidi Julavits, Pagan Kennedy, [and] William deBuys ... —is a 30-run homer, a whirlwind of moods and thoughts captured by some of the biggest talents on the essay and blog beat.
—Publishers Weekly, July 2008
[R]egardless of subject, these selections delight. They kick ass. Their high caliber of writing and deep-seated curiosity invite us inside the cogitations of another thinker, one who is more gifted than ourselves in recounting the intricacies of thought. ... Here's a chance to indulge in a selection of great storytellers of the real.
—Scene, September 2, 2008