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Anthology

Best American Essays 2008

Best American Essays 2008

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Here you will find the finest essays "judiciously selected from countless publications" (Chicago Tribune), ranging from The New Yorker and Harper's to Swink and Pinch. In his introduction to this year's edition, Adam Gopnik finds that great essays have "text and inner text, personal story and larger point, the thing you're supposed to be paying attention to and some other thing you're really interested in." David Sedaris's quirky, hilarious account of a childhood spent yearning for a home where history was properly respected is also a poignant rumination on surviving the passage of time. In "The Ecstasy of Influence," Jonathan Lethem ponders the intriguing phenomenon of cryptomnesia: a person believes herself to be creating something new but is really recalling similar, previously encountered work. Ariel Levy writes in "The Lesbian Bride's Handbook" of her efforts to plan a party that accurately reflects her lifestyle (which she notes is "not black-tie!") as she confronts head-on what it means to be married. And Lauren Slater is off to "Tripp Lake," recounting the one summer she spent at camp--a summer of color wars, horseback riding, and the "wild sadness" that settled in her when she was away from home.
In the end, Gopnik believes that the only real ambition of an essayist is to be a master of our common life. This latest installment of The Best American Essays is full of writing that reveals, in Gopnik's words, "the breath of things as they are."
Best American Essays 2010

Best American Essays 2010

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The provocative and best-selling author Christopher Hitchens takes the helm of the twenty-fifth anniversary edition of this perennial favorite that is "reliable and yet still surprising--the best of the best" (Kirkus Reviews).

Best American Essays 2012

Best American Essays 2012

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The Best American Series(R)
First, Best, and Best-Selling

The Best American series is the premier annual showcase for the country's finest short fiction and nonfiction. Each volume's series editor selects notable works from hundreds of magazines, journals, and websites. A special guest editor, a leading writer in the field, then chooses the best twenty or so pieces to publish. This unique system has made the Best American series the most respected -- and most popular -- of its kind.

The Best American Essays 2012 includes

Marcia Angell, Miah Arnold, Mark Doty, Joseph Epstein, Jonathan Franzen,
Malcolm Gladwell, Francine Prose, Lauren Slater,
Sandra Tsing Loh, Jose Antonio Vargas, and others

Best American Essays 2013

Best American Essays 2013

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Selected and introduced by Cheryl Strayed, the New York Times best-selling author of Wild and the writer of the celebrated column "Dear Sugar," this collection is a treasure trove of fine writing and thought-provoking essays.
Best American Essays 2014

Best American Essays 2014

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"A creature from an alternative universe . . . wanting to understand what is on the American mind should rush to the nearest bookstore and buy a copy of this distinguished anthology . . . Exhilarating." -- Publishers Weekly

The Best American Essays 2014 is selected and introduced by John Jeremiah Sullivan, author of the critically acclaimed essay collection Pulphead. The New York Times placed Sullivan "among the best young nonfiction writers in English" and the New York Times Book Review heralded Pulphead as "the best, and most important, collection of magazine writing since Wallace's A Supposedly Fun Thing I'll Never Do Again."

Best American Essays 2015

Best American Essays 2015

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"Writing an essay is like catching a wave," posits guest editor Ariel Levy. "To catch a wave, you need skill and nerve, not just moving water." This year's writers are certainly full of nerve, and have crafted a wide range of pieces awash in a diversity of moods, voices, and stances. Leaving an abusive marriage, parting with a younger self, losing your sanity to Fitbit, and even saying goodbye to a beloved pair of pants imbued with meaning are all unified by the daring of their creation. As Levy notes, "Writing around an idea you think is worthwhile--an idea you suspect is an insight--requires real audacity."
The Best American Essays 2015 includes
Hilton Als, Roger Angell, Justin Cronin, Meghan Daum, Anthony Doerr, Margo Jefferson, David Sedaris, Zadie Smith, Rebecca Solnit and others
ARIEL LEVY, guest editor, has been a staff writer at The New Yorker since 2008. She received the National Magazine Award for essays and criticism for her piece "Thanksgiving in Mongolia," which she is expanding into a book for Random House. Female Chauvinist Pigs, Levy's first book, has been translated into seven languages. She teaches at the Fine Arts Work Center in Provincetown, Massachusetts, and at Wesleyan University.

ROBERT ATWAN, the series editor of The Best American Essays since its inception in 1986, has published on a wide variety of subjects, from American advertising and early photography to ancient divination and Shakespeare. His criticism, essays, humor, poetry, and fiction have appeared in numerous periodicals nationwide.

Best American Essays 2016

Best American Essays 2016

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A true essay is "something hazarded, not definitive, not authoritative; something ventured on the basis of the author's personal experience and subjectivity," writes guest editor Jonathan Franzen in his introduction. However, his main criterion for selecting The Best American Essays 2016 was, in a word, risk. Whether the risks involved championing an unpopular opinion, the possibility of ruining a professional career, or irrevocably offending family, for Franzen, "the writer has to be like the firefighter, whose job, while everyone else is fleeing the flames, is to run straight into them."

The Best American Essays 2016 includes ALEXANDER CHEE, PAUL CRENSHAW, JAQUIRA DÍAZ, LAURA KIPNIS, AMITAVA KUMAR, SEBASTIAN JUNGER,
JOYCE CAROL OATES, OLIVER SACKS, THOMAS CHATTERTON WILLIAMS and others

JONATHAN FRANZEN, guest editor, is the author of five novels, most recently Purity, and five works of nonfiction and translation, including Farther Away and The Kraus Project. He is a member of the American Academy of Arts and Letters, the German Akademie der Künste, and the French Ordre des Arts et des Lettres.

ROBERT ATWAN, the series editor of The Best American Essays since its inception in 1986, has published on a wide variety of subjects, from American advertising and early photography to ancient divination and Shakespeare. His criticism, essays, humor, poetry, and fiction have appeared in numerous periodicals nationwide.

Best American Essays 2017

Best American Essays 2017

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"Jamison has done an exceptional job curating this volume, selecting essayists who are diverse in ideas and experiences, and essays that are challenging, passionate, sobering, and clever."
--Publishers Weekly

"The essay is political--and politically useful, by which I mean humanizing and provocative--because of its commitment to nuance, its explorations of contingency, its spirit of unrest, its glee at overturned assumptions; because of the double helix of awe and distrust--faith and doubt--that structures its DNA," writes guest editor Leslie Jamison in her introduction. From the Iraqi desert to an East Jerusalem refugee camp, from the beginnings of the universe to the aftermath of a suicide attempt, the genetic makeup of the eclectic and electric selections in The Best American Essays 2017 "thrill toward complexity."

The Best American Essays 2017 includes
RACHEL KAADZI GHANSAH, LAWRENCE JACKSON,
RACHEL KUSHNER, ALAN LIGHTMAN, BERNARD FARAI MATAMBO,
WESLEY MORRIS, HEATHER SELLERS, ANDREA STUART
and others

Best American Essays 2018

Best American Essays 2018

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The Pulitzer-Prize winning and Guggenheim-honored Hilton Als curates the best essays from hundreds of magazines, journals, and websites, bringing "the fierce style of street reading and the formal tradition of critical inquiry, reads culture, race, and gender" (New York Times) to the task.

"The essay, like love, like life, is indefinable, but you know an essay when you see it, and you know a great one when you feel it, because it is concentrated life," writes Hilton Als in his introduction. Expertly guided by Als's instinct and intellect, The Best American Essays 2018 showcases great essays as well as irresistibly eclectic ones. Go undercover in North Korea, delve into the question of race in the novels of William Faulkner, hang out in the 1970s New York music scene, and take a family road trip cum art pilgrimage. These experiences and more immersive slices of concentrated life await.

Best American Essays 2019

Best American Essays 2019

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A collection of the year's best essays selected by Robert Atwan and guest editor Rebecca Solnit.

"Essays are restless literature, trying to find out how things fit together, how we can think about two things at once, how the personal and the public can inform each other, how two overtly dissimilar things share a secret kinship," contends Rebecca Solnit in her introduction. From lost languages and extinct species to life-affirming cosmologies and literary myths that offer cold comfort, the personal and the public collide in The Best American Essays 2019. This searching, necessary collection grapples with what has preoccupied us in the past year--sexual politics, race, violence, invasive technologies--and yet, in reading for the book, Solnit also found "how discovery can be a deep pleasure."
The Best American Essays 2019 includes Michelle Alexander, Jabari Asim, Alexander Chee, Masha Gessen, Jean Guerrero, Elizabeth Kolbert, Terese Marie Mailhot, Jia Tolentino, and others.

Best American Essays 2020

Best American Essays 2020

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A collection of the year's best essays selected by André Aciman, author of the worldwide bestseller Call Me by Your Name.

"An essay is the child of uncertainty," André Aciman contends in his introduction to The Best American Essays 2020. "The struggle to write what one hopes is entirely true, and the long incubation every piece of writing requires of a writer who is thinking difficult thoughts, are what ultimately give the writing its depth, its magnitude, its grace." The essays Aciman selected center on people facing moments of deep uncertainty, searching for a greater truth. From a Black father's confrontation of his son's illness, to a divorcée's transcendent experience with strangers, to a bartender grieving the tragic loss of a friend, these stories are a master class not just in essay writing but in empathy, artfully imbuing moments of hardship with understanding and that elusive grace.

The Best American 2020 Essays includes RABIH ALAMEDDINE - BARBARA EHRENREICH - LESLIE JAMISON JAMAICA KINCAID - ALEX MARZANO-LESNEVICH - A. O. SCOTT - JERALD WALKER - STEPHANIE POWELL WATTS and others

Best American Essays 2021

Best American Essays 2021

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A collection of the year's best essays, selected by award-winning journalist and New Yorker staff writer Kathryn Schulz

"The world is abundant even in bad times,"guest editor Kathryn Schulz writes in her introduction, "it is lush with interestingness, and always, somewhere, offering up consolation or beauty or humor or happiness, or at least the hope of future happiness."The essays Schulz selected are a powerful time capsule of 2020, showcasing that even if our lives as we knew them stopped, the beauty to be found in them flourished. From an intimate account of nursing a loved one in the early days of the pandemic, to a masterful portrait of grieving the loss of a husband as the country grieved the loss of George Floyd, this collection brilliantly shapes the grief, hardship, and hope of a singular year.
The Best American Essays 2021 includes
ELIZABETH ALEXANDER - HILTON ALS - GABRIELLE HAMILTON - RUCHIR JOSHI - PATRICIA LOCKWOOD- CLAIRE MESSUD - WESLEY MORRIS - BETH NGUYEN - JESMYN WARD and others

Best American Essays 2022

Best American Essays 2022

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A collection of the year's best essays, selected by award-winning writer Alexander Chee.

Alexander Chee, an essayist of "virtuosity and power" (Washington Post), selects twenty essays out of thousands that represent the best examples of the form published the previous year.



Best American Mystery Stories 2007

Best American Mystery Stories 2007

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The best-selling author Carl Hiaasen takes the reins for the eleventh edition of this series, featuring twenty of the past year's most distinguished tales of mystery, crime, and suspense.

Laura Lippman introduces us to a suburban soccer mom who moonlights as a call girl and who has a fateful encounter with a former client at her son's soccer game. Ridley Pearson traces a famous author of horror tales who becomes trapped in a real one after his wife vanishes while jogging. Joyce Carol Oates travels to a New Jersey racetrack where the animals that break down are of the two-legged type. Lawrence Block tells the story of Keller, a hitman for hire who happens to live in Greenwich Village, loves spicy food, and collects stamps as a hobby. And Scott Wolven plunges us into the world of an ex-con who takes a job at a private and very illegal Nevada racetrack where each day millions are won and lost. Mostly lost.

As Carl Hiaasen notes in his introduction, "The stories in this collection would do honor to any anthology of short literature. More than transcending the genre of crime, they blow away its nebulous boundaries." The Best American Mystery Stories 2007 is a powerful collection certain to delight mystery aficionados and all lovers of great fiction.

Best American Mystery Stories 2010

Best American Mystery Stories 2010

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Best-selling novelist Lee Child edits this latest collection of the genre's finest from the past year. Featuring "gritty tales told with panache," this is a "must-read for anybody who cares about crime stories" (Booklist).
Best American Mystery Stories 2012

Best American Mystery Stories 2012

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The Best American Series(R)
First, Best, and Best-Selling

The Best American series is the premier annual showcase for the country's finest short fiction and nonfiction. Each volume's series editor selects notable works from hundreds of magazines, journals, and websites. A special guest editor, a leading writer in the field, then chooses the best twenty or so pieces to publish. This unique system has made the Best American series the most respected -- and most popular -- of its kind.

The Best American Mystery Stories 2012 includes

Peter S. Beagle, Kathleen Ford, Mary Gaitskill, Lou Manfredo, Thomas McGuane,
Gina Paoli, T. Jefferson Parker, Kristine Kathryn Rusch,
Charles Todd, Daniel Woodrell, and others

Best American Noir of the Century

Best American Noir of the Century

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In his introduction to the The Best American Noir of the Century, James Ellroy writes, "noir is the most scrutinized offshoot of the hard-boiled school of fiction. It's the long drop off the short pier and the wrong man and the wrong woman in perfect misalliance. It's the nightmare of flawed souls with big dreams and the precise how and why of the all-time sure thing that goes bad." Offering the best examples of literary sure things gone bad, this collection ensures that nowhere else can readers find a darker, more thorough distillation of American noir fiction.

James Ellroy and Otto Penzler, series editor of the annual The Best American Mystery Stories, mined one hundred years of writing--1910-2010--to find this treasure trove of thirty-nine stories. From noir's twenties-era infancy come gems like James M. Cain's "Pastorale," and its post-war heyday boasts giants like Mickey Spillane and Evan Hunter. Packing an undeniable punch, diverse contemporary incarnations include Elmore Leonard, Patricia Highsmith, Joyce Carol Oates, Dennis Lehane, and William Gay, with many page-turners appearing in the last decade.

Best American Nonrequired Reading 2004

Best American Nonrequired Reading 2004

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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).