Breakfast on Mars and 37 other Delectable Essays

marsPaul brought this home and I was attracted by the cover, plus he told me some authors I like were in it.  The premise of this collection is that some excellent authors are going to tackle traditional school essay topics and show you how great they can be.  I thought that the angle might be to satirize the essay a bit, but that was not the case at all.  Each essay genuinely is whatever type of essay it is supposed to be and they are, for the most part, great.  My favorite was the very first one I read, which I read first because I like the author-Scott Westerfeld.  His topic was to debunk a popular idea.  And the idea was the adult books don’t have pictures because adults should use their imaginations and only little kids need pictures.  Well.  I think I would like to make every adult who has that notion or pooh-poohs graphic novels, read this essay.  He explains that once all those classics like Wuthering Heights, A Tale of Two Cities, etc.-books for adults-were illustrated and that the change in publishing was more a matter of the introduction of photography and the decline of the profession of illustrator. It was fascinating and well told.  I also liked “pick a myth or urban legend and argue why it must be true.” Kirsten Miller had me practically believing that Sasquatch might truly exist!

Other popular topics were things like “describe an experience that a profound impact on you”, “describe your unique family”,  a persuasive essay, debating both sides of a topic, and if you could pick a trait from an animal to have what would it be? (Tails!)

This was a surprisingly enjoyable book and I hope that high school English teachers might keep a copy in their rooms for students to read and get inspiration from.

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