“I Confess: One Theme, 30 Writers, a Trend”

AntCHICK lit. True crime. Diet books. Recovery memoirs. Books about Britney. The
publishing industry is a staunch believer in the principle that too much is
never enough. The latest genre to flood the shelves in possibly excessive
numbers, you may have noticed, is the anthology, but not the sort we used to lug
to class.

This new kind of anthology assembles first-person
confessional essays, rather than, say, discussions of sanitation and personal
hygiene in the Middle Ages, and is readily distinguished by an annoyingly cute
title and a numeral specifying the number of writers who bare their souls on a
range of intimate topics: "Maybe Baby: 28 Writers Tell the Truth About
Skepticism, Infertility, Baby Lust, Childlessness, Ambivalence and How They Made
the Biggest Decision of Their Lives"; "Roar Softly and Carry a Great Lipstick:
28 Women Writers on Life, Sex and Survival"; "Because I Said So: 33 Mothers
Write About Children, Sex, Men, Aging, Faith, Race and Themselves."

"If
memoir is the new fiction, then maybe anthologies are the new memoir," said
Elizabeth Kaplan, the agent who helped create the trend in 2002 when she sold
"The Bitch in the House: 26 Women Tell the Truth About Sex, Solitude, Work,
Motherhood and Marriage." "They’ve tapped into something in the air."

"I Confess: One Theme, 30 Writers, a Trend"
By CHARLES McGRATH
The New York Times
 
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