Friday, December 14, 2012

Review: The Best American Non-Required Reading 2010 ed. by Dave Eggers

This volume is almost always my favorite of the Best American books. It's a great mix of humor, serious essays, fiction, and illustrations. This book was a Christmas gift in 2010, and I finally got around to reading it. I actually finished it on Sunday, but Blogger's been such a punk this week (and I've had so much going on in my own life with the end of the semester, a busy court week, and the holidays) that I couldn't post a review until now.

The Non-Required Reading book is split into two parts - a humorous intro by Dave Eggers and the kids of 826 National, a project intended to foster young writers and improve their writing skills - and the section including the selections from various magazines and literary journals. These included a memoir-ish essay by Sherman Alexis, excerpted from his book War Dances; an excerpt from Tea Obreht's The Tiger's Wife, which just makes me want to read it even more; and a short story by Kurt Vonnegut, called "The Nice Little People." There were also essays, most notably one called "Seven Months, Ten Days in Captivity" by David Rohde, about his time as a prisoner of the Taliban.

I'd give this one four out of five Whatevers. It was good, engrossing reading when I picked it up, but I wasn't running back to it as quickly as I might go back to a novel. Of course, that might have something to do with the season, too. It's been busy around here. Definitely a must for fans of the series or the Non-Required readers, and also for those who want something to digest in little pieces during this busy time of year.


I'm not sure if I'll get another book in this year (in fact, I'm pretty sure I won't, since my next planned read is a doorstop), but I think I did better this year than last...I'll have to go check the numbers.

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