cover image But Enough About You: Essays

But Enough About You: Essays

Christopher Buckley. Simon & Schuster, $27.50 (448p) ISBN 978-1-4767-4951-8

Buckley’s first essay collection since 1997’s Wry Martinis samples from 15 years of short nonfiction, including humor, travel writing, and literary appreciations. The author excels in parodies of newspaper corrections, travel tips for small-aircraft passengers, and the comedic dystopia of an imagined inaugural speech from President Donald Trump (“I’ve directed the Treasury to issue a couple billion extra in hundred-dollar chips. Enjoy yourselves.”). However, a brief examination of the financial crisis and a parody of al-Qaeda’s news broadcast misfire, as the satire has aged poorly. The collection’s highlights include an affectionate portrait of Ray Bradbury, and a sidesplitting reappraisal of the 40th anniversary edition of The Joy of Sex, with Buckley noting that the man featured in the book’s illustrations “is no longer hirsute and missing only a peace symbol, looking as if his day job were playing bongos with the Lovin’ Spoonful.” Buckley’s worldview is mostly bemused, but a few unreserved enthusiasms shine through. His introduction to the 50th anniversary edition of Catch-22 celebrates Joseph Heller’s gift to the American lexicon and an afterword for a 2013 edition of Moby-Dick captures the flawed complexity of Melville’s classic. His eulogy for friend Christopher Hitchens, touching on their shared love of long conversations, P.G. Wodehouse and Oscar Wilde, and epic boozy meals, is all the more moving for being written from the heart. Agent: Amanda Urban, ICM. (May)