Synopses & Reviews
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.
Dave Eggers, who edits The Best American Nonrequired Reading annually, has once again chosen the best and least-expected contemporary fiction, nonfiction, satire, investigative reporting, alternative comics, and more from publications large, small, and on-line -- Zoetrope, Tin House, the Atlantic Monthly, Bomb, SPX, the New York Times, Texas Monthly, GQ, Iowa Review, Esquire, and others. Read on for "some of the best literature you haven't been reading . . . and it's fantastic. All of it" (St. Petersburg Times).
"Eggers explains this series, now in its third year: 'The purpose of this book is to collect good work of any kind fiction, humor, essays, comics, journalism in one place, for the English-reading consumer.' The editor founded a San Francisco writing lab, where Bay Area high school students 'seek out back issues of periodicals, make copies of things they like, and bring them in for everyone to read,' and it's these selections that make up this hodgepodge. With subject matter ranging from clowns and popes to transsexualism and zoanthropy, this is an assemblage of diverse delights from Web sites, literary magazines and the mainstream press, with small-circulation publications getting a bigger boost than in previous volumes. Contributors include David Mamet, David Sedaris, Christopher Buckley and Michelle Tea. Mortensen's introduction, one of the strongest contributions, is a haunting lament for lost words, a 'painful sense of losing ideas,' after his backpack of journals and screenplays is stolen. The book is a zesty bouillabaisse of nonrequired reading that should be required, and Adrian Tomine's multi-paneled cover illustration effectively captures its essence. Forecast: Sales will get a boost when those familiar with Mortensen's acting (Lord of the Rings) and art books (Recent Forgeries; SignLanguage) spot his name on the cover." Publishers Weekly (Copyright 2004 Reed Business Information, Inc.)
"The book is a zesty bouillabaisse of nonrequired reading that should be required..." Publishers Weekly
Dave Eggers, with the help of a cadre of Bay Area writing students, has again assembled an eclectic collection of fiction, nonfiction, humor, journalism, and alternative comics. Sources range from "hip secrets as well as former secrets such as The Onion and McSweeney's ...Even the mainstream magazines get a share, from lowbrow to highbrow and quite a bit in between" (Minneapolis Star-Tribune).
About the Author
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.Viggo Mortensen is a and#64257;lm actor and artist/poet who has published and#64257;ve books of art and photography, including Recent Forgeries, SignLanguage, and Miyelo.