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B & Me

by J. C. Hallman

A funny, frisky, often outrageous book about love, literature, and modern life--and a wink of the eye toU and I, Nicholson Baker's classic book about John Updike--by an award-winning author called "wonderfully bright" by The New York Times Book Review.Nearly twenty-five years ago, Nicholson Baker published U and I, the fretful and handwringing--but also groundbreaking--tale of his literary relationship with John Updike. U and I inspired a whole sub-genre of engaging, entertaining writing about reading, but what no story of this type has ever done is tell its tale from the moment of conception, that moment when you realize that there is a writer out there in the world that you must read--so you read them. B & Me is that story, the story of J.C. Hallman discovering and reading Nicholson Baker, and discovering himself in the process. Our relationship to books in the digital age, the role of art in an increasingly commodified world, the power great writing has to change us, these are at the core of Hallman's investigation of Baker--questions he's grappled with, values he's come to doubt. But in reading Baker's work, Hallman discovers the key to overcoming the malaise that has been plaguing him, through the books themselves and what he finds and contemplates in his attempts to understand them and their enigmatic author: sex, book jackets, an old bed and breakfast, love, Monica Lewinsky, Paris, marriage, more sex, the logistics of libraries. In the spirit of Geoff Dyer's Out of Sheer Rage and Elif Batuman's The Possessed, B & Me is literary self-archaeology: a funny, irreverent, incisive story of one reader's desperate quest to restore passion to literature, and all the things he learns along the way.

The Devil Is a Gentleman

by J. C. Hallman

A hundred years ago, the writer and philosopher William James wrote The Varieties of Religious Experience, a seminal work that has inspired generations of scholars and eccentrics alike. James's book argues that the religious spirit in man is best understood through the study of its most extreme forms. Varieties was a watershed effort: a bestselling portrait of history's pluralism and a defense of the spiritual quest, in all its guises, against the era's increasingly secular sentiments. Today, with all the old tensions between skeptics and believers still in place, J. C. Hallman pays homage to James's exploration of offbeat religious movements. But where James relied on the testimony and biographies of prophets and mystics, Hallman travels directly to some of America's newest and most unusual religions, trekking from Druid circles in the mossy hills of northern California to the gleaming mother church of Scientology, from lurid satanic cellars in undisclosed locations to a professional-wrestling ministry in the fundamentalist heart of Texas. Along the way, he participates in a variety of rites and reports on a broad spectrum of beliefs. Eventually Hallman adopts James as his patron saint, spiritual adviser, and intellectual companion on the journey that will culminate in the creation of this book, a compelling combination of adventure and biography, spotted with hair-raising predicaments and rife with poignant portraits of unforgettable characters, including William James himself. The Devil Is a Gentlemanmaps the spiritual contours of modern American pluralism and examines the life and legacy of one of its most profound architects. From the Hardcover edition.

The Story About the Story Vol. II

by Margaret Atwood Charles Baxter Martin Amis Zadie Smith David Foster Wallace J. C. Hallman

In the second volume of The Story About the Story, editor J. C. Hallman continues to argue for an alternative to the staid five-paragraph-essay writing that has inoculated so many against the effects of good books. Writers have long approached writing about reading from an intensely personal perspective, incorporating their pasts and their passions into their process of interpretation. Never before collected in a single volume, the many essays Hallman has compiled build on the idea of a "creative criticism," and new possibilities for how to write about reading.The Story About the Story Vol. II documents not only an identifiable trend in writing about books that can and should be emulated, it also offers lessons from a remarkable range of celebrated authors that amount to an invaluable course on both how to write and how to read well. Whether they discuss a staple of the canon (Thomas Mann on Leo Tolstoy), the merits of a contemporary (Vivian Gornick on Grace Paley), a pillar of genre-writing (Jane Tompkins on Louis L'Amour), or, arguably, the funniest man on the planet (David Shields on Bill Murray), these essays are by turns poignant, smart, suggestive, intellectual, humorous, sassy, scathing, laudatory, wistful, and hopeful-and above all deeply engaged in a process of careful reading. The essays in The Story About the Story Vol. II chart a trajectory that digs deep into the past and aims toward a future in which literature can play a new and more profound role in how we think, read, live, and write.

The Story About the Story Vol. II

by David Foster Wallace J. C. Hallman

The essays in The Story About the Story Vol. II chart a trajectory that digs deep into the past and aims toward a future in which literature can play a new and more profound role in how we think, read, live, and write. In the second volume of The Story About the Story, editor J. C. Hallman continues to argue for an alternative to the staid five-paragraph-essay writing that has inoculated so many against the effects of good books. Writers have long approached writing about reading from an intensely personal perspective, incorporating their pasts and their passions into their process of interpretation. Never before collected in a single volume, the many essays Hallman has compiled build on the idea of a "creative criticism," and offers new possibilities for how to write about reading. The Story About the Story Vol. II documents not only an identifiable trend in writing about books that can and should be emulated, it also offers lessons from a remarkable range of celebrated authors that amount to an invaluable course on both how to write and how to read well. Whether they discuss a staple of the canon (Thomas Mann on Leo Tolstoy), the merits of a contemporary (Vivian Gornick on Grace Paley), a pillar of genre-writing (Jane Tompkins on Louis L'Amour), or, arguably, the funniest man on the planet (David Shields on Bill Murray), these essays are by turns poignant, smart, suggestive, intellectual, humorous, sassy, scathing, laudatory, wistful, and hopeful--and above all deeply engaged in a process of careful reading. The essays in The Story About the Story Vol. II chart a trajectory that digs deep into the past and aims toward a future in which literature can play a new and more profound role in how we think, read, live, and write.

The Story About the Story Vol. II

by David Foster Wallace J. C. Hallman

The essays in The Story About the Story Vol. II chart a trajectory that digs deep into the past and aims toward a future in which literature can play a new and more profound role in how we think, read, live, and write. In the second volume of The Story About the Story, editor J. C. Hallman continues to argue for an alternative to the staid five-paragraph-essay writing that has inoculated so many against the effects of good books. Writers have long approached writing about reading from an intensely personal perspective, incorporating their pasts and their passions into their process of interpretation. Never before collected in a single volume, the many essays Hallman has compiled build on the idea of a "creative criticism," and offers new possibilities for how to write about reading. The Story About the Story Vol. II documents not only an identifiable trend in writing about books that can and should be emulated, it also offers lessons from a remarkable range of celebrated authors that amount to an invaluable course on both how to write and how to read well. Whether they discuss a staple of the canon (Thomas Mann on Leo Tolstoy), the merits of a contemporary (Vivian Gornick on Grace Paley), a pillar of genre-writing (Jane Tompkins on Louis L'Amour), or, arguably, the funniest man on the planet (David Shields on Bill Murray), these essays are by turns poignant, smart, suggestive, intellectual, humorous, sassy, scathing, laudatory, wistful, and hopeful--and above all deeply engaged in a process of careful reading. The essays in The Story About the Story Vol. II chart a trajectory that digs deep into the past and aims toward a future in which literature can play a new and more profound role in how we think, read, live, and write.

Showing 1 through 5 of 5 results

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