Tag Archives: essays


In Chicago once more, the DBC team has many fall titles left to scale. Many of them will take us plain through to 2013. Here now are just a couple selections that we’ll be previewing shortly:

Both Flesh and Not: Essays by David Foster Wallace.

Little, Brown releases 15 never-before-anthologized essays by our most revered literary genius. The titular essay on Roger Federer is held up by fans alongside Infinite Jest as Wallace’s unparalleled masterpiece (something with which Kevin wholeheartedly agrees), and we’re particularly excited to read (and re-read) his dissection of Terminator 2, which we hope will cause the same unexpected stir of emotions that his 1996 essay on David Lynch and the film Lost Highway did. Though of course, because of whom we’re talking about, it will cause the unexpected either way.

 An End to All Things: Stories by Jared Yates Sexton.

It’s exciting when DBC’s Illinois-born-and-bred contingent can read a collection rooted entirely in the Midwest. Indiana, with its contrast between vast cornfields, a storied state university, and Gary’s industrial narrative, serves as a microcosm for America as a whole. These stories chronicle a town wracked with doubt as the collapsing economy closes in — written in presumed contrast to the book’s author, earner of an MFA who has the choice to be there or not be there. It’s a dangerous thing to trust just anyone with a Midwestern voice, so likely to accidentally condescend or misconstrue as they may be. But I trust Atticus Books, and doubt they’d put their faith in anything less than the real deal.

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B.J. Hollars’s “In Defense of Monsters”

B.J. Hollars's "In Defense of Monsters"The founders of Origami Zoo Press, publisher of B.J. Hollars’s latest collection of essays, state in no uncertain terms that they “want to exhibit absurdities of the world, whether it’s done by bending genres or simply illuminating the bizarre details of everyday life.” With the publication of In Defense of Monsters, a chapbook that mixes half-narrative-half-analytical essays with theses buoying the existence of Sasquatch and Nessie the Loch Ness Monster, Origami Zoo has found a way to exhibit every type of absurdity they could hope for. Hollars is unwavering in his convictions, and they’re not at all illegitimate ones. After all, he’s not arguing that the creatures of our modern folklore are necessarily right around the corner. Instead, his essays are each themselves a question: why not this? Why, if no definitive proof sways us to either side of the debate, do we opt for non-belief in lieu of what may very well be? In these 34 pages, we can defend what ultimately might be less impossible than we think.

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I’ve been watching a good deal more TV than usual. This could have something to do with the return of AMC’s The Walking Dead, or my discovery of MeTV with its five-nights-a-week Dick Van Dyke Show, or perhaps it’s plain ol’ laziness induced by the onset of cold Chicago weather…but we’ll ignore the latter. In any case, watching so much TV—and feeling heartily guilty about it—has got me thinking a lot about the act of watching, the cheapest form of voyeurism that basic cable sustains. In that vein, our #fridayreads will involve writing on the topic of television.

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