A playwright and regular contributor to the popular newsmagazine-style NPR show ""All Things Considered,"" Kling hems close to his wry on-air delivery in these 29 short essays, ruminating on a variety of topics including a life-altering motorcycle accident, his congenital arm disability and a favorite dog. Among these, Kling's childhood memories stand out; ""View from the Card Table"" remembers an eventful Christmas at the Klings, touched by a child's rumination on the puzzle of the Savior (""And Jesus came down, and we all went crazy like cats"") and the threats of impatient grandparents: ""In my day, you kids ... hickory sticks ... woodshed ... G. Gordon Liddy"" sic. Other childhood highlights include taxidermy class (""Mr. Damyanovitch taught through a method called: love."") and the time he and his dad were struck by lightning. Having grown up in Minnesota, Kling can evoke frigid temperatures in a sentence or two; he's similarly skilled at emotional gear-shifting, drawing laughter just a few paragraphs before eliciting tears in essays like ""Prayer"" and ""Rio."" Kling's collection will please any fan of his radio home, or of sister Public Radio programs ""This American Life"" and ""A Prairie Home Companion.""
Reviewed on: 10/01/2007 Release date: 10/01/2007 Genre: Nonfiction