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Wednesday, November 7, 2007

The New Kings of Nonfiction

Posted By on Wed, Nov 7, 2007 at 12:00 AM

With This American Life, Ira Glass revolutionized radio storytelling with uncanny tales told by way of real people, his own note-perfect interjections and mood-setting music. With this new anthology, he shows his appreciation for print journalists who make the plain old text sing on the page. The subjects range from the exotic (Bill Bruford's account of hanging out with soccer hooligans) to the prosaic (Susan Orlean's account of hanging out for a day with a typical suburban 10-year-old), but these masters of the craft always deliver. A personal favorite: Lawrence Wechsler's hard-to-believe yarn of unlucky abstract expressionist Harold Shapinsky and the unlikely events leading to his late-life discovery. Other writers include Dan Savage, Chuck Klosterman and David Foster Wallace.

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