The Best American Nonrequired Reading 2003 by Dave Eggers

No critic rating

Waiting for minimum critic reviews

See 5 Critic Reviews

unrated

Synopsis

This is the second year we’ve put this book together, and we’re beginning to have some idea of what we’re doing. But do we know exactly what this book is? We do not. The original purpose of the collection was to introduce younger readers--high school and college-age people, more or less--to good writing from contemporary writers. But then the book came out and we discovered that the readership was not what we’d expected. Sure, there were some high school and college readers, but there were also older readers, and younger readers, and readers from every walk of life—police officers, firefighters, animal control experts, air-conditioning repair technicians, and prisoners. It runs the gamut.
Now, your questions answered:

What is the purpose of this book? —Dominique, Santa Monica, CA Thank you for your question, Dominique. (Such a lovely name!) 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 other books in the Best American series are limited by their categories, most particularly the popular but constraining Best American Catholic Badger Mystery Writing. This collection is not so limited, which is why, we think, it dominates all similar collections, making them whimper and cower in a way that is shameful.

Why aren't there more pieces about badgers? —Reginald, Myrtle Beach, SC We had plans to include at least seven pieces about badgers—their manufacture, appearance, and care—but were prevented from doing so by Zadie Smith. This was a condition of her inclusion in this volume.

In addition to the pieces included in the collection, and Ms. Smith’s introduction—or whatever it is—will there be a piece by the editor about a young man with a crush on a sixty-five-year-old woman whose lawn he cuts? —Peter and Nam Mee, Washington, DC We might have such a piece. It might be immediately following this sentence.

(From the Foreword by Dave Eggers)

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, the very best pieces are selected by an editor who is widely recognized as a leading writer in his or her field, making the Best American series the most respected--and most popular--of its kind.
Dave Eggers, who will be editing The Best American Nonrequired Reading annually, has once again chosen the best and least-expected fiction, nonfiction, satire, investigative reporting, alternative comics, and more from publications large, small, and on-line--The Onion, The New Yorker, Shout, Time, Zoetrope, Tin House, Nerve.com,and McSweeney's, to name just a few. Read on for "Some of the best literature you haven't been reading . . . And it's fantastic. All of it." (St. Petersburg Times).

Lynda Barry Jonathan Safran Foer Lisa Gabriele Andrea Lee J. T. Leroy Nasdijj ZZ Packer David Sedaris
 

About Dave Eggers

See more books from this Author
Dave Eggers is the editor of McSweeney's 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.
 
Published October 10, 2003 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt. 368 pages
Genres: Young Adult, Literature & Fiction, Education & Reference. Non-fiction

Unrated Critic Reviews for The Best American Nonrequired Reading 2003

Kirkus Reviews

See more reviews from this publication

With family life, however, the range is impressive, from tight-knit Orthodox Jews (Julie Orringer’s “The Smoothest Way is Full Of Stones”) to the failed family that sells its babies (“The Promise of Something,” by Cheryl Printup).

Oct 14 2004 | Read Full Review of The Best American Nonrequired...

Kirkus Reviews

See more reviews from this publication

While a number of pieces have been included as comic relief, only David Sedaris (unsurprisingly) and the Onion bits (“Local Hipster Overexplaining Why He Was At The Mall” and “Marilyn Manson Now Going Door To Door Trying To Shock People”) are likely to crack anybody up.

| Read Full Review of The Best American Nonrequired...

Kirkus Reviews

See more reviews from this publication

The first section of this collection edited by Eggers and benefiting the youth literary program of his 826 National emphasizes the playful pleasures of the written word, through quick-hit categories including “Best American Sentences on Page 50 of Books Published in 2009” (“While he slimmed down,...

| Read Full Review of The Best American Nonrequired...

Kirkus Reviews

See more reviews from this publication

Because if there had been any real divining purpose here, a powerful vision of any sort, we most likely would never have seen a book collect Lynda Barry comics, deadly serious articles from The Atlantic, and side-splitting pieces from The Onion, and make them all seem akin: good and definitely no...

| Read Full Review of The Best American Nonrequired...

Kirkus Reviews

See more reviews from this publication

Very much a product of its time, the anthology encompasses, among other things, graphic narratives, manifestos and reports from the various “Occupy” outposts, the eulogy for Apple’s Steve Jobs by his sister, Mona Simpson, the variety of phone responses elicited by a flyer requesting “If anyone wa...

Sep 15 2012 | Read Full Review of The Best American Nonrequired...

Reader Rating for The Best American Nonrequired Reading 2003
69%

An aggregated and normalized score based on 12 user ratings from iDreamBooks & iTunes


Rate this book!

Add Review
×