I am not one to pass up a good essay collection — in fact, I’m one to chase down a good essay collection — so I was eager to read Charles D’Ambrosio’s new book Loitering. It includes some essays from an earlier book called Orphans and adds new material. I liked it very much — so much, in fact, that I wish I hadn’t read it as an e-galley and would like to buy myself a hard copy so it’s on hand for future rereading. The essays cover many different topics — whaling, Russian orphans, housing developments, J.D. Salinger, among others — and they also tell personal stories and present a persona who kept me engaged through the whole collection. D’Ambrosio has had some serious struggles in his life, and he writes about them movingly, and always with intelligence instead of self-pity. He is someone I felt I could trust to think deeply about whatever issue he confronts, and whose mind I was happy to have as company. I appreciated the variety of the collection, with interesting subjects you might not read about elsewhere. I also loved his writing style. But mostly I loved D’Ambrosio’s take on the world — a slightly jaded, perhaps disappointed outlook, but one that still is curious and receptive and trying to make sense of the world.