And Other Essays
by Michael Cohen
Narrated by Daniel Cohen
This title was previously available on NetGalley and is now archived.
Pub Date 15 Apr 2021 | Archive Date 15 Aug 2021
Interactive Publications Pty Ltd, Independent Book Publishers Association (IBPA), Members' Audiobooks
In this audio version of his essay collection, Michael Cohen presents the odd idea of the suicide note as a writing project that can be critiqued like any other, describes encounters with illegal border crossers in south Texas, and ponders the sudden popularity of books about atheism. Books are a frequent subject here, and Cohen makes an argument for The Maltese Falcon as the Great American Novel, searches for the perfect, the Platonic, nature handbook, and compares playing golf to reading about it. Reading is, for him, as engrossing a form of experience as any other—say hitchhiking through the Southwest with an old friend, the joys of flying small planes, or the charm of studying ancient Greek while people-watching at the gym, all experiences chronicled here. He looks back at the effect a 1956 collision of two airliners over the Grand Canyon had on him as a kid fond of flying, and how he learned about the joys of good food during a wanderjahr in Europe. Many of these essays begin with a question: whether Americans deserve their reputation for materialism, why we seem to have lost the climate change battle, and whether talking to yourself might really be beneficial. Another frequent topic is how our ideal places cannot avoid being bruised by time. He looks at what happened as the Tucson bars of his college days closed or morphed into very different places. He traces seasonal changes in the desert. He notes what happens to its effect when a giant cross beside I-40 in Texas is joined by equally giant windmills. And he takes a mind’s-eye tour through Paris’s terrace cafés and their literary associations after the 2015 terrorist attack there.
Michael's previous collection with IP is A Place to Read.
A Note From the Publisher
“A curious observer in the vast world is at the center of these astute and wonderfully varied essays. From climate change to the American obsession with certificates to the vanity of gym patrons to his education as a foodie, there is nothing that Michael Cohen does not wonder about. What’s behind the early twenty-first century vogue for big books advocating atheism? he asks. What does it mean that some of us talk to ourselves aloud? And why can’t our 'big brains' save humanity? He explores it all with a touch of humor and an abundance of fascinating information. In the tradition of the best personal essays, these two dozen selections only seem sometimes to free-associate. Cohen knows his purpose, and in each essay, it isn’t long before he leads us to discover that purpose along with him. There’s a lifetime of reading and thinking poured into this collection, but it’s never displayed showily. Like a friendly guide or a talented teacher (which he is), Cohen inspires our own curiosity and makes us wonder about all the things we’ve haven’t thought to wonder about before.”
— Evelyn Somers, Associate Editor, the Missouri Review
|DURATION||6 Hours, 5 Minutes, 40 Seconds|