I’ll propose a little exercise: Each time you pick up a book by some notable author, Google <that author>+Christopher Hitchens. I bet you will find more than a little delight in the essay, book review, book introduction or other glittering nugget that pops up. He wrote beautifully, brilliantly and extensively about writing and writers, and the bite-sized length of the pieces gathered in this collection is perfect for those whose tolerance for exegesis is low. He had a encyclopedic fund of knowledge about writers, their place in history, their ideas, and a great grace and fluidity in getting it all across to the devoted non-professional, like me. Reading just one of these essays will lead to reading another, and another. Arguably also serves to give the lie to the notion that atheists are a glum lot, with no principles and no joy. There is as much vigor and delight in the writing here as there was (and will be) for me in the reading, and his passion is clear and not a bit shy. This is not just a book about books and writers; there is also a generous sampling of Hitch’s well-known fire in the tinder of current affairs, but my joy was in discovering this treasure of anecdote and context about writers and writing.