Synopses & Reviews
This collection is the product of many heads. The writers included herein are from every background imaginable, and their stories create a crazy quilt of lived time in and around 2001.
This is The Best American Nonrequired Reading, intended to combine the best intentions of the other Best American volumes to create a collection with slightly younger readers. To that end, guest editor Dave Eggers worked with the students who attend and help teach at 826 Valencia, his writing lab in San Francisico, giving them hundreds of stories and articles to read and choose among. All of the selections inside have been read and found worthy by a small committee of readers in high school and college, and while there are patterns in what they chose -- for example, a stroing interest in goings-on not just in school but all over the world -- they've also guided this collection toward its utter undefinablility.
There are some really funny things, from the likes of David Sedaris, The Onion, and Modern Humorist, and some lighter fiction, as in David Schickler's "Fourth Angry Mouse" and Elizabeth McKenzie's "Stop That Girl," about a hellish trip to Switzerland that a twelve-year-old takes with her grandmother, but there's a seriousness throughout, with stories about immigrants from Mexico in Manhattan, young Afghani men vacillating between the Taliban and the Northern Alliance, and the black coach of a Pennsylvania Amish basketball team.
This collection is barely cohesive and often confusing. And this is good. Your own life, we bet, is barely cohesive and often confusing. And given how confused and wayward you are, we will help you do the right thing: read this and love it. The makers of The Best American Nonrequired Reading 2002 insist that you enjoy it and then tell your friends to enjoy it. This will give structure to your life and bounce to your steps.
"[T]he most grown-up young adult fiction excerpts ever compiled." --Allegra Muzzillo, Black Book
"If only this book were mandatory in schools!" --Seventeen
"...[A]n impressive job of collecting..." --Rob Walker The Wall Street Journal
The Best American Nonrequired Reading is a selection for young people of the best literature from mainstream and alternative American periodicals: from The New Yorker to Jane, Rolling Stone to The Onion, Vibe to various magazines, zines, and journals that, if you're over thirty, you've never heard of. This genre-busting collection includes fiction -- young, coming-of-age, multicultural -- and nonfiction, including articles on popular culture and politics, profiles, humor, satire, even alternative comics.
Since its inception in 1915, the Best American series has become the premier annual showcase for the country's finest short fiction and nonfiction. For each volume, a series editor reads pieces from hundreds of periodicals, then selects between fifty and a hundred outstanding works. That selection is pared down to the twenty or so very best pieces by a guest editor who is widely recognized as a leading writer in his or her field. This unique system has helped make the Best American series the most respected -- and most popular -- of its kind.
The Best American Nonrequired Reading 2002 is a selection for young people of the best literature from mainstream and alternative American periodicals: from the New Yorker, Jane, Rolling Stone, Zyzzyva, Vibe, The Onion, Spin, Epoch, Time, Little Engines, Modern Humorist, Esquire, and more. Dave Eggers has chosen the highlights of 2001 for this genre-busting collection that includes new fiction, essays, satire, journalism -- and much more. From Eric Schlosser on french fries to Elizabeth McKenzie on awful family to Seaton Smith on how to "jive" with your teen, The Best American Nonrequried Reading 2002 is the first and the best.
About the Author
'Michael Cart is a nationally recognized expert in young adult literature and publishing. Recipient of the 2000 Grolier Award, he has written What\'s So Funny; My Father\'s Scar (selected as both a 1997 ALA Best Book for Young Adults and a New York Public Library Book for the Teen Age); and Love and Sex: Ten Stories of Truth. Currently a writer for Booklist magazine, Cart wrote the \"Children\'s Bookshelf\" column for the LA Times Book Review from 1994-96 and has been Children\'s Book Reviewer for Parents Magazine. Since 1981, Cart has been co-producer and host of \"In Print,\" a syndicated cable television program. Long active in the American Library Association, he has served on numerous ALA award committees, including the Margaret Edwards Award, Best Books for Young Adults, Caldecott Medal, and Notable Children\'s Book Committee. He was a founding judge for the LA Times Book Prize in the YA adult fiction category, and in 1997 was a judge for the National Book Award. He writes regularly for the LA Times, New York Times, San Francisco Chronicle, and virtually every major professional magazine and journal. He lives in Chico, CA.Dave Eggers is the author of A Heartbreaking Work of Staggering Genius, You Shall Know Our Velocity!, and How We Are Hungry, and he is the editor of McSweeney\'s. He is the founder of 826 Valencia, a San Francisco writing lab for young people.'
Table of Contents
Foreword ? xi Introduction by Dave Eggers ? xv
Jenny Bitner. The Pamphleteer ? 1 from To-Do List
Sara Corbett. The Lost Boys ? 9 from The New York Times Upfront
Michael Finkel. Naji s Taliban Phase ? 15 from The New York Times Magazine
Meenakshi Ganguly. Generation Exile ? 25 from Transition
Karl Taro Greenfeld. Speed Demons ? 37 from Time
Camden Joy. Hubcap Diamondstar Halo ? 49 from Little Engines
Michael Kamber. Toil and Temptation ? 61 from The Village Voice
Sam Lipsyte. Snacks ? 75 from Jane
Elizabeth McKenzie. Stop That Girl ? 81 from ZYZZYVA
Seth Mnookin. The Nice New Radicals ? 95 from Spin
Local Hipster Overexplaining Why He Was at the Mall ? 105 from The Onion
Marilyn Manson Now Going Door-to-Door Trying to Shock People ? 109 from The Onion
Keith Pille. Journal of a New Cobra Recruit ? 113 from McSweeneys.net
Rodney Rothman. My Fake Job ? 117 from The New Yorker
David Schickler. Fourth Angry Mouse ? 133 from Zoetrope
Eric Schlosser. Why McDonald s Fries Taste So Good ? 151 from The Atlantic Monthly
Heidi Jon Schmidt. Blood Poison ? 165 from Epoch
David Sedaris. To Make a Friend, Be a Friend ? 185 from Esquire