Christopher Buckley at his best: an extraordinary, wide-ranging selection of essays both hilarious and poignant, irreverent and delightful.
In his first book of essays since his 1997 best seller, Wry Martinis, Buckley delivers a rare combination of big ideas and truly fun writing. Tackling subjects ranging from “How to Teach Your Four-Year-Old to Ski” to “A Short History of the Bug Zapper,” and “The Art of Sacking” to literary friendships with Joseph Heller and Christopher Hitchens, he is at once a humorous storyteller, astute cultural critic, adventurous traveler, and irreverent historian.
Listening to these essays is the equivalent of being in the company of a tremendously witty and enlightening companion. Praised as “both deeply informed and deeply funny” by The Wall Street Journal, Buckley will have you laughing and reflecting in equal measure.
©2014 Christopher Buckley (P)2014 Simon & Schuster
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Around the middle--this one, being a compilation of the author's previous works, isn't suspenseful or exciting, but it is well done and, for the most part, interesting. Some satire, some history--just a collection of previous short works.
Some of the author's descriptions of travel. The least interesting was the sad fact that Buckley is, frankly, a bit of a name-dropper and something of an elitist--sad, really. But, considering that many of the articles are taken from his Forbes fluff-pieces, that's the sort of thing that does appeal to that demographic. Also, some of his faux lists or questionnaires fall short of the satirical mark they aim for. Fortunately, Buckley is an excellent writer with a remarkable command of the language, and for the most part that saved the day--IMO, 70% of the thing was excellent, 30% was a bit tired or reaching. Not a bad ratio, all things considered.
His tone was great at all times; his pauses well-considered; his pronunciations of foreign words excellent--he imbued the material with a life it would not have otherwise had.
Not by a long shot. When he goes on a name-dropping spree, you really need a break. Even one article that appears to want to satirize the whole name-dropping thing (quite reminiscent of JP Donleavy's Unexpurgated Code) was a bit odd because it appears that Buckley doesn't fully realize he's been doing that the whole time, as if the list of his "good friends" somehow validates him in a way the popularity of his prose does not.
Buckley is a well-educated and thoughtful writer, but those expecting purely satirical works may be disappointed.
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