Read The New Kings of Nonfiction by Ira Glass Free Online
Book Title: The New Kings of Nonfiction|
Format files: PDF
The size of the: 546 KB
v The author of the book: Ira Glass
Edition: Riverhead Trade
Date of issue: October 2nd 2007
ISBN 13: 9781594482670
City - Country: No data
Read full description of the books The New Kings of Nonfiction:A collection of essays hand selected by Ira Glass. Anyone who knows me wishes I would just shut up about Ira Glass already.
Not surprisingly, this collection of non-fiction essays is amazing. In the introduction, Ira Glass explains his selection process in putting the collection together. It's basically all about journalists who don't shy away from putting themselves in the story. Ira says "I don't see anything wrong with a piece of reporting turning into a fable. In fact, when I'm researching a story and the real-life situation starts to turn into allegory...I feel incredibly lucky..." I would guess this method explains how so many This American Life stories, though about one person's narrow experience, actually speak to broad, universal themes. Anyway, I feel like I learned so much from these stories! They've provided me with a wealth of information with which I'm better able to annoy my friends and family. And, of course, my spouse.
My four favorites:
- David Foster Wallace's story about right-wing talk radio (and a particular host on KFI, an obnoxious LA station that boasts more "stimulating" talk radio). Of course, it's easy to hate this entire genre of radio, but (as Ira points out), DFW writes with some empathy toward the host guy, and that actually allows him to get away with saying unflattering things about him.
- In the story "Tales of the Tyrant," the author tackles the topic of what Saddam Hussein was really like. There aren't really any surprises, but I realized I'd always regarded him as a two-dimensional character. Wait, I take that back about the surprises. I was surprised to learn that Saddam Hussein commissioned a special volume of the Koran written in his own blood. It took three years for him to provide sufficient blood to the team of calligraphers who produced it. Also, I was surprised by the description of Saddam's son Uday's wardrobe.
- "Losing the War" is a story about WWII. It's really well done. And it provides knowledge.
- In the story "Power Steer," the author assesses the modern American beef industry by purchasing a calf (No. 534) and tracing its life from its birth through to its death 14 months later. If loving animals isn't enough to make you want to never eat beef again, this should do it: After explaining the variety of problems caused by making cows eat corn (instead of grass, the diet they're evolutionarily designed to eat), the author highlights another problem: "...you can go father still, and follow the fertilizer needed to grow that corn all the way to the oil fields of the Persian Gulf. No. 534 started life as part of a food chain that derived all its energy from the sun; now that corn constitutes such an important link in his food chain, he is the product of an industrial system powered by fossil fuel. (And, in turn, defended by the military--another uncounted cost of 'cheap' food.) I asked David Pimentel, a Cornell ecologist who specializes in agriculture and energy, if it might be possible to calculate precisely how much oil it will take to grow my steer to slaughter weight. Assuming No. 534 continues to eat 24 pounds of corn a day and reaches a weight of 1,250 pounds, he will have consumed in his lifetime roughly 284 gallons of oil. We have succeeded in industrializing the beef calf, transforming what was once a solar-powered ruminant into the very last thing we need: another fossil-fuel machine." Or that should at least make you want to eat only grass-fed beef, which is, according to the author, a viable option.
Now if only Ira would come to my apartment, sift through the mountains of neglected New Yorkers, Harpers, Believers, and whatever else (maybe there are some Us Weeklys), and select another collection of stories for me, I'd be set. One might encourage me to hide the Us Weeklys before he got here, but I would not. I believe he would understand.
Read information about the authorIra Glass is an American public radio personality, and host and producer of the radio and television show This American Life.
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