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Ian Frazier

Author of Great Plains

26+ Works 3,985 Members 78 Reviews 8 Favorited

About the Author

Writer and broadcaster Ian Frazier was born in Ohio and educated at Harvard University, where he wrote for the Harvard Lampoon. After his graduation he joined The New Yorker staff and frequently contributes to The Atlantic Monthly. His writing collections Dating Your Mom and Coyote V. Acme earned show more him a Thurber Prize for American Humor. The Great Plains won a 1990 Spur Award for Nonfiction from the Western Writers of America. Frazier has appeared on the National Public Radio Program A Prairie Home Companion and has acted in Smoke and Blue in the Face, both of which are Wayne Wang and Paul Auster films. (Bowker Author Biography) show less
Image credit: Ian Frazier at the 2010 Texas Book Festival, Austin, Texas, United States. By Larry D. Moore, CC BY-SA 3.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=11875242

Works by Ian Frazier

Associated Works

The Complete Cartoons of the New Yorker (2004) — Contributor — 1,324 copies
Inventing the Truth: The Art and Craft of Memoir (1987) — Contributor — 495 copies
The Best American Essays 2005 (2005) — Contributor — 342 copies
The Best American Essays 2003 (2003) — Contributor — 313 copies
Life Stories: Profiles from the New Yorker (2000) — Contributor — 299 copies
The Best of Modern Humor (1983) — Contributor — 292 copies
The Best American Science and Nature Writing 2011 (2011) — Contributor — 290 copies
Forty-one False Starts: Essays on Artists and Writers (2013) — Introduction, some editions — 259 copies
The Best American Travel Writing 2001 (2001) — Contributor — 236 copies
The Best American Travel Writing 2005 (2005) — Contributor — 211 copies
The Best American Travel Writing 2006 (2006) — Contributor — 205 copies
The Best American Essays 1998 (1998) — Contributor — 191 copies
Nothing But You: Love Stories From The New Yorker (1997) — Contributor — 186 copies
The Best American Essays 1999 (1999) — Contributor — 185 copies
The Best American Essays 1994 (1994) — Contributor — 180 copies
The Best American Travel Writing 2007 (2007) — Contributor — 159 copies
The Best American Essays 1996 (1996) — Contributor — 132 copies
Ring Lardner: Stories and Other Writings (2013) — Editor — 123 copies
Still Pictures: On Photography and Memory (2023) — Introduction, some editions — 102 copies
The Best American Food Writing 2019 (2019) — Contributor — 84 copies
The Best American Magazine Writing 2003 (2003) — Contributor — 71 copies
They Went: The Art and Craft of Travel Writing (1991) — Contributor — 35 copies
Good Roots: Writers Reflect on Growing Up in Ohio (2006) — Contributor — 22 copies
The Best American Magazine Writing 2018 (2018) — Contributor — 22 copies


American (61) American history (51) American literature (49) anthology (584) art (71) Best American Series (97) biography (72) books (44) books about books (59) cartoons (213) collection (61) comics (74) essay (56) essays (837) fantasy (114) fiction (301) first edition (43) Great Plains (66) history (164) horror (88) humor (678) journalism (47) Kindle (53) literature (57) memoir (175) Native American (46) Native Americans (38) New Yorker (179) non-fiction (732) own (41) read (69) Russia (97) science (63) short stories (204) Siberia (61) to-read (466) travel (539) unread (64) USA (59) writing (164)

Common Knowledge



Gag expanded to book length - but very funny.
steve02476 | 6 other reviews | Jan 3, 2023 |
Ian Frazier's is a masterful writer and his Travels in Siberia may be his best work He weaves nuggets of history and geography with his intrepid travels through the land mass of Siberia--one-twelfth of the earth's land. Before making his first foray into the land, he approaches his subject from Alaska, never quite making it. In his second venture, he travels by van eastward into ever remote areas of the land. I especially appreciate his boyish enthusiasm for his adventures and the travelers like George Keenan, a fellow Midwesterner who went before him in the 1860s. Indeed, he remarks on how the Ohio natives and other Midwesterners make up a disproportionate number of American travelers who were drawn to Siberia. Frazier has the ability to bring the exotic world of Siberia to life with him back to New York where he finds sensory reminders of Siberia in sable coats and Russian gas stations. In a later trip he finds one of the hundreds of abandoned gulags connecting it as the physical symbol of Stalin's cruel mind. His powers of perception observe both incredible beauty in the land, women, and food as well as dark stores of horror by travelers driven mad from their travels. Read it.… (more)
kropferama | 34 other reviews | Jan 1, 2023 |
Ian Frazier's "Travels in Siberia" is an excellent travel book on a place I do not want to travel to. In it, he reports on five visits to that enormous place, intertwined with interesting reports on Siberian and Russian history, and with vignettes of (relatively) current Russian mores and manners. ("Relatively" because the book was written in 2010: an update would be much appreciated). Frazier's reporting is personal, witty and often horrifying. Travel in Siberia was incredibly difficult: when he took it, the main trans-Siberian road had a gap that had to be filled in by hauling cars and passengers across a 500 mile roadless waste. Cold is of course a feature for all but a few months of the year, but so are bugs, and ubiquitous mountains of trash. Some bits sound interesting -- Lake Baikal, for one -- but in general the book damped my already minimal interest in going to Siberia. For arm chair travellers, however, it's a great read.… (more)
annbury | 34 other reviews | Aug 17, 2022 |
This book has been on my TBR for years; the title appealed to me in the moment - I'm not a mommy but I can curse with the best of them. A few months ago, I had it in hand to purge, but I read the flap and the author is a New Yorker columnist so I held it back. After reading Are We Having Fun Yet by Lucy Mangan, I thought it would be the right time to read this one as a comparison of sorts: how would the American version of the concept compare to the UK version? How would a male author's portrayal of a columnist-working-from-home mother of two stack up against the same dynamic in the UK?

It didn't, obviously. I wasn't able to make it through February. But I'm not sure this is a condemnation; it's just a very different delivery and one that ultimately didn't suit me at all because - hilariously - of the swearing.

Do you remember the comedian Sam Kennison? For those that don't, he was an American stand-up comedian and actor. A former Pentecostal preacher, he performed stand-up routines that were characterized by intense sudden tirades, punctuated with his distinctive scream, similar to charismatic preachers. The Screaming Mommy is the Sam Kennison of mommy diarists, and I think you have to have a certain sense of humor to appreciate it. Entire paragraphs of all-caps profanity, using f*ck as every part of speech, usually in the same sentence.

Apart from that, it's not bad, but still didn't work as a book; if I skipped those tirades, the narrative still failed to connect with me and frankly, I found some of it disturbingly hypocritical - like when she's wondering why her 12-year-old son needs to be medicated to control his angry, emotional outbursts in school, as she's smashing an entire sink full of dishes with a hammer because she tried to rinse her hands off, and the splash back from a dirty cereal bowl stained her silk blouse.

In the author's defence, this book was based on a series of columns written for The New Yorker, and as columns, I think they'd have worked much better; outbursts like this are probably easier to chuckle over when they're fed to the audience once a month. All together like this in book form, it's just way too much. Lucy Mangan manages to convey the same frustration and angst in a way the reader can laugh with, rather than feeling as though they're laughing at the crazy person who escaped the asylum, and she manages to do it with a semblance of continuing plot, or at least character, development.
… (more)
murderbydeath | 6 other reviews | Jun 4, 2022 |



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