By David Rakoff.

This collection of essays are the offering of a compatriot of the laudable “this American life” crew. After hearing him read on the show a few weeks ago I felt it likely worth my while to grab his book if he was anywhere near as thoughtful and entertaining as his fellows David Sedaris & Sarah Vowell; lucky me, he is.

Unabashedly intellectual and fiercely opinionated, this author has a facility of language somewhat rare in the ranks of the modern humorist. Not since Twain and Wilde has such a fierce wit been paired with such keen nuance of the written communique. Highly educated and ruthlessly self deprecating Rakoff leads us into a series of fascinating excursions to places no less far flung than Tokyo, Reykjavik, & New Jersey,

narrating with his distinctly wicked but undeniably compelling perspective. While not more than occasionally laugh out loud funny, this book felt somehow less trivial than most of the humor reading I do. Peppered with words and phrases I had to look up (she admits to her chagrin) I walked away from this one feeling edified; not just because I felt safer armed with my dictionary, but because of the amusing yet nonetheless consistently thought provoking observations of this transparently erudite author. Well worth it, recommended.