Allegrastrategies.com Review:Allegra Strategies - Allegra Strategies is a leading strategic research consultancy focusing on food, retail and hospitality.
Country: Europe, GB, United Kingdom
In my opinion, the purpose of literature is to help me see the world through other eyes, and to look beyond the narrow construct of my personal view of 'how things are'. The essay seeks to accomplish this by allowing the author to forward their personal viewpoint on matters of their choosing; a well-written essay will bring the reader into the author's world view, hopefully to expand the reader's viewpoint in the process.
"The Best American Essays 2013" opens to the reader a wide selection of windows on the world. While they are all written from a first-person perspective, the subjects they reveal go beyond simple autobiographical short stories. It's all in here: economics (the subject on everyone's mind), politics, science, psychology, relationships. Every essay reveals not just the author's personal outlook; to the perceptive reader they also show our collective views as Americans.
In this day of sound bites and tweets, maybe it is too much to ask for readers to look beyond the mere words on the page, to read between the lines, to savor and mull over the stories that are laid before us and see the deeper secrets they hold. As Charles Baxter points out in "What Happens in Hell":
"Why do you desire to believe the ideas that you hold dear, the cornerstones of your faith?" Are we more comfortable with our heads in the sand, seeing only that which is directly in front of us? That world where "... people will walk smiling through puddles of your blood, smiling and talking on their cellular phones. They're going to the movies." (J.D. Daniels, "Letter from Majorca").
Editor Cheryl Strayed points out that "Essayists begin with an objective truth and attempt to find a greater, grander truth by testing fact against subjective interpretations of experiences and ideas, memories and theories. They try to make meaning of actual life, even if an awful lot has yet to be figured out." This demands of us as readers to look for the greater truth as well; to not merely look at these stories like we do the evening news: passively absorbing what we are told and moving on to the next. We need to be actively looking within, even as the author shares THEIR experience of the world.
A book to be read slowly, thoughtfully, and purposefully, digging out those golden nuggets of greater truth.
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I have always been aware of Billy Crystal but I never really paid much attention. I watch him on TV and I go to his movies but after reading this book I really like the old fart.....he is a true member of the Old Guys Club. (there's no such club but there should be). This book will make you laugh out loud and depending on your age.....it might bring back a lot of memories. This book is a keeper that you might read more than once.
First time author Chevy Stephens' STILL MISSING has a lot going for it. It is getting a lot of early publicity, has endorsements from top thriller writers like Karin Slaughter and Kathy Reichs, and the plot summary is very intriguing. This thriller takes the reader to some emotionally painful places before returning to a stunning, but standard for the genre, conclusion.
The first half of the book is great. Annie is O'Sullivan is kidnapped by a person she will come to call The Freak and taken to a secluded, fortified mountain cabin where she is subjected to all kinds of torture. As the torture grows in intensity, Annie gives pieces of herself away mentally and by the time she escapes, she is in emotional shambles. She shares her tale with her psychiatrist, and this is how the story is told. During each session, she opens up about her life before the abduction, what happened during the abduction, and her life since coming home. Barely holding it together, she relies on her boyfriend Luke, best friend Christina and manipulative mother. Just when you think the entire novel is about Annie's emotional journey, she is attacked again and Annie begins to fear someone else is after her.
I don't think the novel is too graphic, but some scenes and themes might be tough for readers to handle, and at time they bordered on being voyeuristic. This is a great debut novel and I hope Stevens can follow it up with another good novel. I think a sign of strength of STILL MISSING is that Annie has stuck with me, a few days after I finished the book. She's a memorable character.
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