My review of Anne Fadiman’s book as posted on GoodReads:
rating: 5 of 5 stars
I was not familiar with the familiar essay until I read this book. Anne Fadiman provides a concise definition of the familiar essay in comparison to personal and critical essays in her introduction. Personal essays are “more heart than brain.” Critical essays are “more brain than heart.” Familiar essays are “equal measures of both.” (pg. xi)
Fadiman provides such a fine collection of familiar essays that I feel inspired to attempt to write one, but fear that I won’t come close to her beautiful and erudite prose. Her book has tuned my ear to good writing, so much so that the book I’m reading now is falling flat. Fadiman’s prose is a great example for those aspiring to write.