Monday, July 11, 2022

Book Review: Escape Into Meaning

As YouTube’s The Nerdwriter, Evan Puschak plays the polymath, posing questions and providing answers across a wide range of fields—from the power of a split diopter shot in Toy Story 4 to the political dangers of schadenfreude. Now, he brings that same insatiable curiosity and striking wit to this engaging and unputdownable essay collection.

Perfect for fans of Trick Mirror and the writing of John Hodgman and Chuck Klosterman, Escape into Meaning is a compendium of fascinating insights into obsession. Whether you’re interested in the philosophy of Jerry Seinfeld or how Clark Kent is the real hero, there’s something for everyone in this effervescent collection.

Escape Into Meaning: Essays On Superman, Public Benches and Other Obsessions comes out on August 30, 2022; Atria Books provided me an early galley to review.

I was not at all familiar with the author or his YouTube channel; Puschak's occupation is listed as a video essayist. I saw Superman in the title of the book and felt I might be the target audience for this collection of essays. I did, however, check out his channel to see if I could get a feel for his approach and views. Turns out, the videos cover a lot more topics than I had first anticipated, a number quite scholarly in nature. That really helped me level-set for reading his book.

His approach is very structured and from a position of knowledge of the given subjects. These are indeed well-thought-out commentaries meant to engage the reader into considering their own thoughts on the subjects as well. Granted, not every subject he covered was a major interested to me but most touched upon hobbies and experiences to which I could relate.

His approach is also very personal and honest. After reading this book, I felt like he came across like someone whom I would have been friends with had we both gone to college together. While they essays come from his own interests and experiences, they were presented in a way that was open for a broader understanding.

For those uncertain of whether this is a good read for them, my suggestion of checking out his videos on YouTube first will help you decide. If you get into what he's saying and how he is saying it there, you'll feel right at home with his book as it is much more of the same types of insights.

Click on the link here to go to the Nerdwriter YouTube channel.

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