In his debut collection, former Grantland and MTV News writer Phillips follows the familiar trajectory of the participatory journalist chasing down new angles on quirky subjects and subcultures—space invaders, sumo wrestlers, the Iditarod, tiger tourism in India—but his work stands out for its refreshing lack of memoir ... Smooth and smart relief for the screen-weary.
When Phillips, a jazzy John McPhee, ventures out into the world in pursuit of understanding of a place, mystery, vocation, or obsession, he is attention incarnate. The resulting prismatic descriptions power his vibrant, multidimensional essays, which are built on rich veins of research and further enlivened with crisply recounted conversations and convivially self-deprecating glimpses into his state of mind.
Former Grantland staff writer Phillips brings together entertaining, eclectic, and often insightful essays for a collection with room for considerations of both the datedness of sci-fi television and the ethical ambiguity of ecotourism ... At their best, Phillips’s essays leave readers with newfound appreciation for subjects they may not have considered before, including sumo wrestling and Russia’s greatest living animator.