Summer Book Recommendations: George Saunders’ The Braindead Megaphone

Today’s book recommendation is George Saunders’ essay collection The Braindead Megaphone.

Saunders has built a reputation as one of America’s great tragicomic writers with a voice that can range from the colloquial witticisms of a goofy guy from Chicago (which he is) to the tender observations of someone trying as hard as possible to empathize with others (which he also is).

In The Braindead Megaphone, Saunders puts that voice to work in nonfictional settings, traveling to Dubai, Nepal, and the US-Mexico border, reflecting on the works of fiction that have taught him the most, and assessing the often negative effects of the fast-paced, instantly gratifying American mass media.

Although The Braindead Megaphones was first published in 2007, it’s striking how relevant Saunders’ central concerns remain. This collection of essays will appeal to students interested in thoughtful dissections of American culture, to young writers looking for sound advice and stylistic role models, and to anyone open to the ways that humor can bring people closer together.

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