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The Best American Nonrequired Reading (Best American Nonrequired Reading)

by

The Best American Nonrequired Reading (Best American Nonrequired Reading) Cover

 

Synopses & Reviews

Publisher Comments:

From Dave Eggers: For this year' s edition of The Best American Nonrequired Reading, we wanted to expand the scope of the book to include shorter pieces, and fragments of stories, and transcripts, screenplays, television scripts — lots of things that we hadn' t included before. Our publisher readily agreed, and so you' ll see that this year' s edition is far more eclectic in form than previous editions. Along the way to making the book, we also came across a variety of things that didn' t fit neatly anywhere, but which we felt should be included, so we conceived the front section, which is a loose Best American roundup of notable words and sentences from 2005. It is, like this book in general, obviously and completely incomplete, but might be interesting nevertheless.

Synopsis:

This brilliant collection highlights a bold mix of fiction, nonfiction, screenplays, television writing, and more alternative comics than ever. Compiled by Dave Eggers and students from his San Francisco writing center, contributors include Judy Budnitz, "The Onion, The Daily Show, This American Life," and George Packer.

Synopsis:

From "Q & A" by Dave Eggers A group of senators and assemblypersons were pressing The Best American Nonrequired Reading on a number of questions relating to the collection, so we decided to kill that stone in the shape of an introduction in the shape of a Q & A.

Who are they, the Nonrequired committees members who decide on things in this collection?

They are high school students from all over the San Francisco Bay Area.

Are they touched by some kind of divine light?

The question is a good one. There is rampant speculation on the subject.

Are they all great-looking and charming and well dressed?

Yes. All of them, and especially Felicia Wong, who can even make her own clothes.

I have a question about the process by which the entries in this collection are chosen. Is it scientific?

The process by which The Best American Nonrequired Reading is put together is not scientific. It is whatever one would consider the opposite of scientific.

Creationist?

Well, no, its not creationist either. The point is that we are probably a bit less top-to-bottom thorough than, say, the Army Corps of Engineers. Well, actually, scratch that. We are probably about exactly as thorough as the Army Corps of Engineers, in that we are intermittently thorough.

What is your opinion and the committees opinion of the state of short stories and small magazines and other periodicals?

This is a good time. It really is.

More specifically?

Not all of us Americans appreciate the fact that we have about 150 very good quarterlies in this country. Every state seems to have a very good quarterly, and about a hundred colleges have very good quarterlies — from the Kenyon Review to the University of Illinoiss Ninth Letter. So by our estimate there are about 150 very good quarterlies in this country. Maybe more. Now, the thing we dont always appreciate here in America is that elsewhere in the world there are few to no quarterlies.

How does it feel to select something for the collection that you found in an unlikely place?

It feels so good. This year, for example, at the last moment we found “Humpies” by Mattox Roesch. It was published by Agni Online, and we all loved it, and here it is, ideally able to reach a new audience. We all took pleasure in finding that one; the mandate of the committee is to find the offbeat and the lesser-known and bring these pieces to our readers, most of whom have great skin and bad eyes.

Synopsis:

An eclectic volume introduced by Guillermo del Toro and compiled by Dave Eggers and students of his San Francisco writing center, who dont leave a stone unturned in their search for nonrequired gems.

Synopsis:

Highlighting a bold mix of fiction, nonfiction, screenplays, television writing, and more alternative comics than ever, this lively volume features work by Alison Bechdel, Stephen Colbert, Scott Carrier, Lee Klein, Matt Klam, and others.

About the Author

DAVE EGGERS is the editor of McSweeneys and a cofounder of 826 National, a network of nonprofit writing and tutoring centers for youth, located in seven cities across the United States. He is the author of four books, including What Is the What and How We Are Hungry.

Table of Contents

Introduction by Sufjan Stevens xi Q & A by Dave Eggers xix

I

Best American Names for Horses Expected to Have Undistinguished Careers 3 from Yankee Pot Roast, written by Mike Richardson-Bryan

Best American Beginnings of Ten Stories about Ponies 4 from Monkey Bicycle, written by Wendy Molyneux

Best American First Sentences of Novels Published in 2006 6

Best American New Words of 2006 8 from The Concise Oxford English Dictionary and Merriam-Webster's Dictionary, new edition

Best American New Band Names 11

Best American Six-Word Memoirs 12 from Smith

Best American Personals from Around the World 14 from Tin House

Best American Article Titles from the Best American Trade Magazines 17

Best American Creationist Explanations for the World's Natural Wonders 21 from Answers in Genesis

Best American New Animal Plagues 23 from Earthweek, written by Steve Newman

Best American Failed Television Pilots 25 from Channel 101

Best American Names of Television Programs Taken to Their Logical Conclusions 28 from Opium, written by Joe O'Neill

Best American Police Blotter Items 29 from Looptard

II

Jonathan Ames. Middle-American Gothic 33 from Spin

Alison Bechdel. A Happy Death 41 from Fun Home

D. Winston Brown. Ghost Children 70 from Creative Nonfiction

Scott Carrier. Rock the Junta 84 from Mother Jones

Joshua Clark. American 99 from New Orleans Review

Edge Foundation. What Is Your Dangerous Idea? 107

Jennifer Egan. Selling the General 131 from Five Chapters

Stephen Elliott. Where I Slept 153 from Tin House

Kevin A. González. Lotería 162 from Indiana Review

Miranda July. How to Tell Stories to Children 187 from Zoetrope: All-Story

Matthew Klam. Adina, Astrid, Chipewee, Jasmine 204 from The New Yorker

Lee Klein. All Aboard the Bloated Boat: Arguments in Favor of Barry Bonds 227 from Barrelhouse

Nam Le. Love and Honor and Pity and Pride and Compassion and Sacrifice 237 from Zoetrope: All-Story

Jen Marlowe, Aisha Bain, and Adam Shapiro. Darfur Diaries 259

David J. Morris. The Big Suck: Notes from the Jarhead Underground 274 from The Virginia Quarterly Review

Conan O'Brien. Stuyvesant High School Commencement Speech 299

Mattox Roesch. Humpies 305 from Agni Online

Patrick Somerville. So Long, Anyway 317 from Epoch

Joy Williams. Literature Unnatured 330 from American Short Fiction

Contributors' Notes 341 The Best American Nonrequired Reading Committee 345 Notable Nonrequired Reading of 2006 349

Product Details

ISBN:
9780618902811
Author:
Eggers, Dave
Publisher:
Houghton Mifflin
Introduction by:
Stevens, Sufjan
Introduction:
Stevens, Sufjan
Foreword:
Stevens, Sufjan
Author:
Stevens, Sufjan
Subject:
American - General
Subject:
American prose literature
Subject:
21st century
Subject:
Essays
Subject:
American prose literature - 21st century
Subject:
Literature-A to Z
Copyright:
Edition Description:
Trade Paper
Series:
Best American R
Series Volume:
2007
Publication Date:
20071031
Binding:
TRADE PAPER
Language:
English
Illustrations:
Y
Pages:
384
Dimensions:
8.25 x 5.5 in

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Related Subjects

Featured Titles » Bestsellers
Fiction and Poetry » Anthologies » American » Literature
Fiction and Poetry » Anthologies » Annuals
Fiction and Poetry » Anthologies » Prize Winning Literature
Fiction and Poetry » Literature » A to Z
Humanities » Literary Criticism » General
Reference » Writing » General

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Product details 384 pages Houghton Mifflin Company - English 9780618902811 Reviews:
"Synopsis" by , This brilliant collection highlights a bold mix of fiction, nonfiction, screenplays, television writing, and more alternative comics than ever. Compiled by Dave Eggers and students from his San Francisco writing center, contributors include Judy Budnitz, "The Onion, The Daily Show, This American Life," and George Packer.
"Synopsis" by ,
From "Q & A" by Dave Eggers A group of senators and assemblypersons were pressing The Best American Nonrequired Reading on a number of questions relating to the collection, so we decided to kill that stone in the shape of an introduction in the shape of a Q & A.

Who are they, the Nonrequired committees members who decide on things in this collection?

They are high school students from all over the San Francisco Bay Area.

Are they touched by some kind of divine light?

The question is a good one. There is rampant speculation on the subject.

Are they all great-looking and charming and well dressed?

Yes. All of them, and especially Felicia Wong, who can even make her own clothes.

I have a question about the process by which the entries in this collection are chosen. Is it scientific?

The process by which The Best American Nonrequired Reading is put together is not scientific. It is whatever one would consider the opposite of scientific.

Creationist?

Well, no, its not creationist either. The point is that we are probably a bit less top-to-bottom thorough than, say, the Army Corps of Engineers. Well, actually, scratch that. We are probably about exactly as thorough as the Army Corps of Engineers, in that we are intermittently thorough.

What is your opinion and the committees opinion of the state of short stories and small magazines and other periodicals?

This is a good time. It really is.

More specifically?

Not all of us Americans appreciate the fact that we have about 150 very good quarterlies in this country. Every state seems to have a very good quarterly, and about a hundred colleges have very good quarterlies — from the Kenyon Review to the University of Illinoiss Ninth Letter. So by our estimate there are about 150 very good quarterlies in this country. Maybe more. Now, the thing we dont always appreciate here in America is that elsewhere in the world there are few to no quarterlies.

How does it feel to select something for the collection that you found in an unlikely place?

It feels so good. This year, for example, at the last moment we found “Humpies” by Mattox Roesch. It was published by Agni Online, and we all loved it, and here it is, ideally able to reach a new audience. We all took pleasure in finding that one; the mandate of the committee is to find the offbeat and the lesser-known and bring these pieces to our readers, most of whom have great skin and bad eyes.

"Synopsis" by ,
An eclectic volume introduced by Guillermo del Toro and compiled by Dave Eggers and students of his San Francisco writing center, who dont leave a stone unturned in their search for nonrequired gems.
"Synopsis" by , Highlighting a bold mix of fiction, nonfiction, screenplays, television writing, and more alternative comics than ever, this lively volume features work by Alison Bechdel, Stephen Colbert, Scott Carrier, Lee Klein, Matt Klam, and others.
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