A Year and a Day: An Experiment in Essays

New York Review. Oct. 2023. 216p. ISBN 9781681377780. pap. $17.95. LIT
Weary of many blogs that offer what he calls “sloppy prose and self-involved twaddle,” essayist, critic, editor (The Contemporary American Essay), and writing professor (Columbia Univ.) Lopate agreed in May 2016 to write a weekly blog for online publication The American Scholar; each entry is between 400 and 1,000 words. Forty-seven of the weekly essays were selected for this collection, covering travel, international films, jazz, literature, and daily life. In his essays, Lopate expresses his concerns about the 2016 presidential election, with a few entries dwelling on Donald J. Trump, including “Resisting Thinking About Mr. T****,” and on Hillary Clinton in “What Our Politicians Can’t Bring Themselves To Say.” The post “Trapped in a Domestic Universe” focuses on Lopate’s New York City life with his wife and adult daughter, offering comments on how there are days when he feels like a Ken doll, or Godzilla, or the Wise Man as he and his family manage shoddy home repairs, medical tests, aging, and memory.
VERDICT Lopate’s essays set an example for bloggers who want to provide quality posts. Recommended for journalism and writing students, and bloggers who want to polish their entries so they shine.
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