Gene Weingarten started as a print journalist, but he’s comfortable on the Web. “I actually like Twitter better than Facebook. Facebook is too ‘hamish,’ ” says Weingarten, using the Yiddish term to emphasize Facebook’s essentially friendly nature. “I’m hugely competitive.” Although the author says that he’s never been “a household name,” at last count, he has 3,126 followers on Twitter who tune in to read his latest ruminations, one-liners and haikus. He’s even twittered his autobiography: “Gene Weingarten is 59. He has never used the term ‘life’s journey’ except in derision.’” And yet, the author says that he’s glad this newspaper essay collection is out in paperback (and even being read in journalism classes) because it gives him a chance to give advice to aspiring writers who are starting their own journeys. “A real writer is someone for whom writing is a terrible ordeal…because he knows he will never do it perfectly,” he wrote in the introduction to this collection of 20 essays about everything from Yupik life and death on a Bering Sea island, to the title piece about world-class violinist Joshua Bell fiddling for loose change in a Washington, D.C., train station. “A sparkling collection of features by the Pulitzer Prize–winning Washington Post columnist,” said Kirkus in a starred review. “Every page is a pleasure.”
For a list of all the best nonfiction books of 2010, click here.
Fiddler on the Subway: The True Story of What Happened When a World-Class Violinist Played for Handouts…And Other Virtuoso Performances by America’s Foremost Feature Writer
Simon & Schuster / July / 9781439181591 / $15.99 paperback