Why is it great? This line is beautifully constructed, yes, but what stands out for me is the sentiment conveyed. It could be my journalism mantra. The sentence comes from Orlean’s introduction to her book, a collection of profiles whose greatness is finding the extraordinary in the ordinary (such as her famous “The American Man at Age 10”). I love this other bit from the introduction, describing a New Yorker story by Mark Singer that she read in college: “The piece was eloquent and funny and full of wonder even though the subject was unabashedly mundane. After I read it, I had that rare, heady feeling that I now knew something about life I hadn’t known before I read it. At the same time, the story was so natural that I couldn’t believe it had never been written until then. Like the very best examples of literary nonfiction, it was at once familiar and original, like a folk melody—as good an example as you could ever find of the poetry of facts and the art in ordinary life.”

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