ernard Cooper is the author of 6 books, including the award-winning Maps to Anywhere, A Clack of Tiny Sparks: Remembrances of a Gay Boyhood, Truth Serum, A Year of Rhymes, Guess Again, and most recently The Bill from My Father: A Memoir. Cooper is art critic for the Los Angeles Times and frequently contributes to The New York Times Magazine, Harper's, Nerve, The Paris Review, and five previous editions of The Best American Essays. His work has received the PEN/Hemingway Award, the O. Henry Prize, and fellowships from the Guggenheim Foundation, the National Endowment for the Arts, and the Getty Museum. He currently teaches at Scripps College in Los Angeles, California, where he lives.Raised by a Victorian grandfather who believed that children should be seen and not heard, the young author spent many of her childhood days adrift on the doses of codeine he administered as part of a health regime. Lucky kid! She saw Huck Finn in her radiator and was visited at night by a brontosaurus that feasted on the tree outside her bedroom window. This essay is an exquisitely written account of how strange it is to grow up, and how vast the gap between two generations can be. was going to list an essay on taking walks by the great literary curmudgeon, Max Beerbohm, who turned the gripe into high art. But in the end I decided on Lopate's perfectly dyspeptic argument about the wrong-headedness of unalloyed joy. This essay is as biting and funny and melancholic as it gets. Plus, in one passage he describes languidly waiting in bed to have sex with a woman as moment when he possessed, "all the consciousness of a dust mote." If clauses won Oscars . . .