Tuesday, January 11, 2011

CBR3-1: Best American Nonrequired Reading 2010

David Sedaris's unflappable inventiveness translates, in the first section of this anthology, to a smattering of pieces with giddiness, daring, and heart. A particular highlight, by Wendy Molyneux, earned his award for "Best American Woman Comedy Piece Written by a Woman" and is guaranteed to set off snorts of delight with each re-read. In the second section, as in previous years, Eggers's picks prove solid and balanced, if expected. Rana Dasgupta's superb article, exploring India's new wealth and subsequent fallout, as well as David Rhode's profound and gripping account of his seven months as a Taliban hostage reflect not only the literary achievements of 2009, but also the horrors and complexities of these current times on. Meanwhile, Tea Obreht's "The Tiger's Wife" and Kurt Vonnegut's "The Nice Little People" embody the ageless miracles of surprise and originality that comprise the human imagination. - Publisher's Weekly
My finance LOVES this series and after hearing him describe some of the stories in this collection I decided to read it.  I wasn't too impressed with the first part which focused on ephemera, poems, patents, etc. From the second part I enjoyed the following stories:

Burying Jeremy Green by Nora Bonner (from 'Shenandoah') - story of 5th graders acting out scenes after a runaway prisoner escapes and has a standoff with police in their playground. Interesting look at children processing a traumatic event like that.

Man of Steel by Bryan Furuness (from 'Ninth Letter') - story of a boy who see's a commercial about coincidences and starts to have "superpowers" seeing visions.  He predicts his father is going to die one night which causes events that make him realize these visions aren't real.

Vanish by Evan Ratliff (from Wired) - story of Evan disappearing for a month while Wired offered a contest & $5k prize if a reader found him.  In the end Evan's love of soccer & gluten free pizza leads the readers to him.

Seven Months, Ten Days in Captivity by David Rohde (from New York Times) - story of how David was kidnapped and escaped by the Taliban in Pakistan and Afghanistan.

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