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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars More Brain than dead
Saunders' mixed book of essays/stories is every bit as good as his previous books Civilwarland in Bad Decline and Pastoralia, only this book contains a lot of non fiction rather than just fiction. His essays on writers are clever, well thought out and articulate, as you would expect from a literature teacher. He writes about Esther Forbes, Kurt Vonnegut, Donald Barthelme,...
Published on 10 July 2009 by Sam Quixote

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1 of 3 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Pompous.
Hated this book.
Bought it after reading about Sauders but I've never found a writer so pompous.
Can't understand the fuss about Sauders. He has nice ideas but his style is egocentric.
Published 8 months ago by gina


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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars More Brain than dead, 10 July 2009
By 
Sam Quixote - See all my reviews
(TOP 50 REVIEWER)   
Saunders' mixed book of essays/stories is every bit as good as his previous books Civilwarland in Bad Decline and Pastoralia, only this book contains a lot of non fiction rather than just fiction. His essays on writers are clever, well thought out and articulate, as you would expect from a literature teacher. He writes about Esther Forbes, Kurt Vonnegut, Donald Barthelme, and Mark Twain with insight, wit and humility.

There is some fiction in the form of the part fiction/part non fiction article "A Brief Study of the British" detailing his book tour in Blighty. The other fiction stories: A Survey of the Literature, Nostalgia, Proclamation, Woof!, and PRKA are average at best but are very short pieces from 3 pages to 10. The best of the fiction is the story "Ask the Optimist!" which is about an optimistic columnist answering readers' queries. Easily one of the funniest pieces I've read by Saunders, it's one of the highlights of this book.

The best parts of the book though are the journalistic pieces that are about 30-40 pages each. The subjects are Dubai and its many luxury hotels; the border between America and Mexico; and a teenager from Nepal who has been meditating without food or drink for 7 months. Each of these were for me the best to read. Saunders' unique voice is a pleasure to read and his geniality and natural storytelling ability make these stories come to life effortlessly.

The other two essays "Thought Experiment" and "The Brain-Dead Megaphone" are think pieces on society. A bit condescending in places, they are nonetheless as well written as the other pieces in this book and as worth reading.

Overall, I cannot recommend this more. It's a fascinating read filled with nuggets of truth and beauty and humour and you can't do worse than this short read. George Saunders. Remember the name. Then pick up one of his books and find out why I wrote this review.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars More Brain than dead, 6 July 2012
By 
Sam Quixote - See all my reviews
(TOP 50 REVIEWER)   
This review is from: The Brain-Dead Megaphone (Kindle Edition)
Saunders' mixed book of essays/stories is every bit as good as his previous books Civilwarland in Bad Decline and Pastoralia, only this book contains a lot of non fiction rather than just fiction. His essays on writers are clever, well thought out and articulate, as you would expect from a literature teacher. He writes about Esther Forbes, Kurt Vonnegut, Donald Barthelme, and Mark Twain with insight, wit and humility.

There is some fiction in the form of the part fiction/part non fiction article "A Brief Study of the British" detailing his book tour in Blighty. The other fiction stories: A Survey of the Literature, Nostalgia, Proclamation, Woof!, and PRKA are average at best but are very short pieces from 3 pages to 10. The best of the fiction is the story "Ask the Optimist!" which is about an optimistic columnist answering readers' queries. Easily one of the funniest pieces I've read by Saunders, it's one of the highlights of this book.

The best parts of the book though are the journalistic pieces that are about 30-40 pages each. The subjects are Dubai and its many luxury hotels; the border between America and Mexico; and a teenager from Nepal who has been meditating without food or drink for 7 months. Each of these were for me the best to read. Saunders' unique voice is a pleasure to read and his geniality and natural storytelling ability make these stories come to life effortlessly.

The other two essays "Thought Experiment" and "The Brain-Dead Megaphone" are think pieces on society. A bit condescending in places, they are nonetheless as well written as the other pieces in this book and as worth reading.

Overall, I cannot recommend this more. It's a fascinating read filled with nuggets of truth and beauty and humour and you can't do worse than this short read. George Saunders. Remember the name. Then pick up one of his books and find out why I wrote this review.
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4.0 out of 5 stars hilarious essays by the eccentric short-story star, 29 April 2014
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George Saunders finally hit public view with his short-story collection The Tenth of December (available on Amazon and definitely 5*), which showcases his amazing knack for writing down the very distinctive, not always grammatical or logical but quite authentic, voices of his skewed characters. But other writers have had him on their radar for the past decade. This collection of his essays shows the same humane, liberal but fair cynic who sees the injustices of our modern world and turns them into, well, a strange yet familiar world. This collection includes a hilarious and apt introduction to Huckleberry Finn as well as some crackpot mock press-releases and modern gonzo journalism. I laughed till I nearly broke a rib.
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1 of 3 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Pompous., 14 Jan 2014
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Hated this book.
Bought it after reading about Sauders but I've never found a writer so pompous.
Can't understand the fuss about Sauders. He has nice ideas but his style is egocentric.
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2 of 17 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Campus radical preaches to coterie, 8 Jan 2011
By 
Simon Barrett "Il penseroso" (london, england) - See all my reviews
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!!! Didn't make it past p21 !!!
A right-on PJ O'Rourke or a literary Michael Moore - take your pick. The title piece is mostly indignation. We feel your pain, George (yes yes we feel it) but I prefer the more measured tone of, say, Geoffrey Nunberg, or other commentators without number, though actually graphic artists (like - cartoonists?) are often best at simply channelling the bile (and they can probe deeper - Joe Sacco, and check out sublime contrarian (and chronicler of the 'Stans) TED RALL); but the 2nd piece is travelogue (prime O'Rourke territory) so I'll stride boldly out... NOPE! here we feel the pain of the writer striving laboriously to amuse

May 2013
Made it to p175 (yawn). Zadie Smith should perhaps be more careful in her indorsements ('Not since Twain'? I ask you!). I yield to noone in my admiration for our Zadie - we have precious few intellectuals, after all, let alone hip ones (if I may so describe her) - but I fear the sea air can be over-stimulating; safer to assess the heady delights of Amerika from a cisatlantic niche my dear! Now if she wants to give Ted Rall a puff...
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