Synopses & Reviews
"This great volume highlights the very best of this years fiction, nonfiction, alternative comics, screenplays, blogs, and more” (OK!). Compiled by Dave Eggers and students of his San Francisco writing center, it is thoroughly entertaining and thought-provoking reading” (Library Journal).
The Best American Nonrequired Reading 2008 includes MARJORIE CELONA DAVID GESSNER ANDREW SEAN GREER RAFFI KHATCHADOURIAN STEPHEN KING EMILY RABOTEAU GEORGE SAUNDERS PATRICK TOBIN LAURA VAN DEN BERG MALERIE WILLENS and others
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.
From the Introduction, Featuring an Interview with Judy Blume
The book youre holding is part of a series which every year seeks to compile a varied and unexpected anthology of fiction, nonfiction, essays, journalism, comics, and humor. The books in the Nonrequired series are still assembled in much the same way theyve always beenpassionately and unscientifically. This anthology, part of the Best American juggernaut that includes everything from the original Best American Sheetrock Poetry to the newest addition, Best American Canadian Marsupial Short Fiction Featuring Lewd Woodworking, is considered the best of them all, chiefly because ours usually features the highest volume of cursing.
In an effort to keep the collection moving in new ways and avoid litigation, we decided to ask questions of our guest introducer, the unimprovable Judy Blume.
Theres actually a piece in this collection called Are You There God? Its Me. Also, a Bunch of Zombies. Is this the first time someone has adapted one of your titles to apply to the undead?
Judy Blume: As far as I know this is the first time my title has been adapted to apply to the undead. Lets hope its the last? Ive told my husband I think I should have a headstone someday that reads: ARE YOU THERE GOD? ITS ME . . .
JUDY BLUME Or would that be too weird?
Was it important for you to put positive moral values in your young adult books?
JB: I dont think the best stories come out of a place where the author is determined to put in positive moral values. I mean, whose values? Im happy when my characters behave in an ethical way. But theyre not always going to. An exception was Forever . . . I wanted to show two decent teens taking responsibility for their actions. But really, Im just telling stories. I hope my readers will come away thinking. I hope they find something in my books they can relate to, something that illuminates life for them.
Were you like any of the characters in your books?
JB: I was like my character Sally Freedman. I had a lot of imagination. Often, what I imagined was worse than reality. Starring Sally J. Freedman as Herself is my most autobiographical book. My fourth-grade teacher, whom I fictionalized in Sally J., recently died. I met up with her when Double Fudge was published and she came to a talk/signing in the Miami area. It was a thrill to introduce her to the audience. My sixth-grade experience was like Margarets in Are You There God? Its Me, Margaret. And yes, I did those breast-enhancement exercises. (And no, they didnt work for me.)
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.