Synopses & Reviews
Since 1986, The Best American Essays has gathered the most interesting and provocative writing of the year, establishing a firm place as the leading annual of its kind. The volume is edited each year by an esteemed writer who brings a fresh eye to the selections. Previous editors have included Elizabeth Hardwick, Susan Sontag, Geoffrey C. Ward, Cynthia Ozick, and Stephen Jay Gould. This year's volume is terrifically diverse, with subjects ranging from driving lessons to animal rights to citizenship in times of emergency.
"While the anthology ignores the younger crop of essayists appearing in less established publications, many of the selections are engaging and thoughtful, restrained but occasionally transcendent." Publishers Weekly
"[E]ssentially, a bound edition of The New Yorker....Maybe Dave Eggers is skimming off all the out-there material for Best American Nonrequired Reading; at any rate, this year's model could use a little more variety and excitement." Kirkus Reviews
"It's always worth checking in with Atwan....[A] splendid array of unpredictable and delectable essays....The death of loved ones, the reading habit, and 9/11 are also broached in this superb literary showcase." Donna Seaman, Booklist
"Consistent in clarity as well as quality, this diverse collection of some of the year's best short nonfiction is recommended for academic and public libraries." Library Journal
From The New Yorker to the Georgia Review, from DoubleTake to Harper's Magazine, the editors of The Best American Essays have scoured the country's best magazines in search of the most artful and powerful writing around. This thoughtful, provocative collection is the result of their search.
Includes bibliographical references (p. -339).
Since 1986, "The Best American Essays" has gathered the most interesting and provocative writing of the year. This year's volume is terrifically diverse, with subjects ranging from driving lessons to animal rights to citizenship in times of emergency.
About the Author
Anne Fadiman is the editor of The American Scholar
and the author of two books of nonfiction, The Spirit Catches You and You Fall Down
and Ex Libris: Confessions of a Common Reader
. Her essays and articles have appeared in Harper's Magazine
, The New Yorker
, the New York Times
, and the Washington Post
, among other publications.
Since the inception of The Best American Essays in 1986 as a trade book title, Robert Atwan has been series editor. He has published reviews and essays in a range of periodicals and edited a number of other literature anthologies. Atwan most recently edited two collections of poetry with a Biblical theme, Chapters into Verse by Oxford University Press and Divine Inspiration by Oxford University Press.
Table of Contents
Lavender (from Harvard Review) 1
I Bought a Bed (from The New Yorker) 17
Lost Cities (from The Threepenny Review) 38
Yes (from The Georgia Review) 48
In a Snob-Free Zone (from The Washington Monthly) 53
Memoria ex Machina (from DoubleTake) 61
Home Alone (from The Atlantic Monthly) 67
Researchers Say (from The New Yorker) 79
The Learning Curve (from The New Yorker) 83
Bumping Into Mr. Ravioli (from The New Yorker) 103
The Debacle (from The American Scholar) 112
Circus Music (from Harper's Magazine) 125
F. P. (from Raritan) 136
The Reporter's Kitchen (from The New Yorker) 146
Wooden Dollar (from Harper's Magazine) 160
A Delivery for Fred Astaire (from Harper's Magazine) 174
An Animal's Place (from The New York Times Magazine) 190
Learning to Drive (from The New Yorker) 212
Citizenship in Emergency (from Boston Review) 223
Looking at War (from The New Yorker) 243
The Habit (from Granta) 274
The Love of My Life (from The Sun) 291
Swann Song (from The New Yorker) 308
Whose War (from Harper's Magazine) 320
Biographical Notes 329
Notable Essays of 2002 334