LA Times Critic's Notebook: Essays tiptoe up to grab us unawares

Collections by Tom Bissell and Mark Dery join a growing list of works in which the universal becomes personal, then becomes universal again. By David L. Ulin, LA Times Book Critic.

Dery_Bad coverWe see something similar in both "Magic Hours" and "I Must Not Think Bad Thoughts," which resemble and don't resemble each other in compelling ways. Each is personal, if not overtly autobiographical, and each frames point of view through the lens of culture, asking questions about a variety of subjects, then using the answers as jumping-off points. Each gathers magazine and newspaper pieces: Bissell's from Harper's, the New Yorker and the Believer and Dery's from the Los Angeles Times, Bookforum and the Village Voice.

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Published in: Los Angeles Times
By: David L. Ulin