cover image Lost at Sea: The Jon Ronson Mysteries

Lost at Sea: The Jon Ronson Mysteries

Jon Ronson. Riverhead, $26.99 (416p) ISBN 978-1-59463-137-5

British journalist Ronson amazes with a brand new, absurdly entertaining anthology of his Guardian and GQ pieces. The author has a knack for insinuating himself into the most entertaining of circumstances, whether that puts him behind the scenes of the Alaskan town whose citizens have for years been answering Santa Claus' letters, tagging along to a UFO convention with British pop megastar Robbie Williams, or enjoying unprecedented access to the archives and possessions of the late Stanley Kubrick. Ronson wrangles the most unlikely variety of nontraditional interview subjects, and cannily asks precisely the questions the reader didn't know needed asking. Some of the essays make for comparatively heavier reading than others, but the author continually shows his impressive aptitude for adapting his tone and style for the subject matter at hand; accordingly, an in-depth profile of Britain's community of assisted-suicide "midwives" manages to feel at home in the same volume as stories with much lower stakes, like his expose of a convicted game show cheat. The quality of Ronson's journalism, breadth of subjects, and bite-sized nature of the pieces makes this a great addition to one's nonfiction library. Agent: Derek Johns, A.P. Watt (UK). (Nov.)