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Whew! Don't set this book on a wooden table. It will burn a hole right through it. Every essay -- every single one -- is a page turner and a barn burner. Who we are, what we have become, is lain out with such burning clarity -- every problem that faces and defines modern American society is articulated with such painful accuracy, that I felt like I required to pick this book up with potholders, to read it with sunglasses on. Now I am so bothered that I can hardly sleep. If this isn't the hallmark of an perfect (and necessary!) collection of essays, I don't know what is.
If these are the "best" short stories which Anthony Doerr could cull from U.S. and Canadian print magazines, we are in trouble. Either Doerr has very poor taste in literature, or the level of writing in print is jejune, boring, and childish. Story after story disappointed me. One or two were readable, but the book is not worth buying. I am a writer, and would be embarrassed to have written such rubbish.
The Best American Short Stories 2019Selected byAnthony Doerr with Heidi PitlorReviewed by C. J. Singh (Berkeley, CA)Brilliant Short Stories that Reflect some of the Issues Humanity Currently ConfrontsHeidi Pitlor is the current co-editor, since 2007, of "The Best American Short Stories" series, which have been published annually since 1915. She is also the co-editor, with Lorrie Moore, of "100 Years of the Best American Short Stories." (See my detailed review of this amazing book on )In her Foreword, Pitlor writes, "The stories in this volume are bold, some are transgressive, and all are relevant to this moment of time. . . But in this time of so much poor news about our climate, intolerance, corruption, and violence, I'm grateful for these stories" (page xi). This reviewer is certainly grateful for these 20 highly-engaging stories; so, will be a lot of readers.Anthony Doerr's introduces the book by describing his earliest efforts as a kid to become a writer; efforts engagingly described with humorous self-deprecating owing up, "A drip-drip of uncertainty sent me to the library, where I discovered a paperback titled 'Writing in General and the Short Story in Particular' which claimed to reveal 'the secrets of the craft.' Though the author, Rust Hills, sounded more like a South Dakota land feature than a short story expert, the jacket copy explained that Mr. Hills worked at 'Esquire ' and had discovered all sorts of popular writers, and so it was with a mix of excitement and terror that I toted the book to my attic bedroom" (page xiv).Doerr notes that a lot of of the twenty perfect contemporary short stories that he and Pitlor selected flout Rust Hills' rules. For example, "Hills said a short story shouldn't mess with subplots, but from a certain angle, Nicole Krauss constructs her gorgeous 'Seeing Ershadi' entirely around subplots -- three of her first five paragraphs are spent summarizing an Iranian film. Yet, her story utterly wrecked me" (page xviii). In the Contributors' Notes Section, Nicole Krauss describes in illuminating info the background of her writing this story (pp. 353-356). Contributors' Notes, a regular feature of the annual edition of "The Best American Short" series can serve to enhance readers' experiencing the stories. They certainly enhance mine.Another example from Doerr's selection: "Rust Hill suggested that a short story stick with a single point of view, but Deborah Eisenberg, in her dystopic paean to the imagination, 'The Third Tower' leaps into a doctor's mind in two of its thirteen sections. Without those leaps away from her protagonist's point of view, her story would collapse" (page xviii). Another apt err cites a lot of other short-stories in the book, selected by him and Pitlor, as flouting Rust Hills' rules; in particular, stories by Wendell Berry, Kathleen Alcott, Jenn Alandy Trahan, Julia Elliot, Saïd Sayrafiezadeh, Sigrid Nunez, Jeffrey Eugenides, Ursula K. Le Guin, and Jim Shepard (page xix)Next, Doerr, without naming specific rule-makers, writes, "Anyone who thinks short stories can't or shoudn't ask moral questions about our political moment should turn to Weike Wang's "Omasake," (page xix).I fully agree with Doerr on flouting this rule. (See my detailed review on of John Truby's book "The Anatomy of Story," which emphasizes engaging in "moral argument" as an essential element in structuring fiction, be it a short-story, novel, scene play, or screenplay. This amazon review can be accessed at https://www./review/R29NU7U6LAHGBV )Several other short stories in the selection that flout this rule on "moral questions about the political moment" contain Maria Reva's "Letter of Apology," which "'presents a hilarious and heartrending glimpse of life under a regime where it is illegal to criticize or even joke about political leaders"; and Manuel Munoz's "moving 'Anyone Can Do It' about a woman whose husband has been rounded up by immigration police might be set in the 1980s but could not be more timely" (page xix).Doerr in his highly-acclaimed novel "All the Light We Cannot See" flouts the suggestions of the widely adopted text-book in MFA programs, Janet Burroway's Writing Fiction: A Tutorial to Narrative Craft, tenth edition, (See my detailed amazon review at https://www./Writing-Fiction-Tenth-Narrative-Publishing/dp/022661655X). Doerr chooses to use omniscient point of view instead of the third-person close point of view. His unbelievable novel won the Pulitzer Prize. Amazing act of flouting back to the nineteenth-century realistic novel.Of the 20 stories selected by Doerr and Pitlor, I had already read the 4 published in "The Fresh Yorker," the 3 in "Zoetrope:All-Story," the 2 in "Harper's," the 1 in "Granta," and the 1 in "ZYZZYVA." Reading the other 9 included in this anthology was an equally engaging experience for 's the full list:Nana Kwame Adjei-Brenyah. "The Era" from "Guernica"Kathleen Alcott. "Natural Light" from "Zoetrope:All-Story"Wendell Berry. "The Amazing Interruption" from "Threepenny Review"Jamel Brinkley. "No More Than a Bubble" from "LitMag"Deborah Eisenberg. "The Third Tower" from "Ploughshares"Julia Elliott. "Hellion" from "The Georgia Review"Jeffrey Eugenides. "Bronze" from "The Fresh Yorker"Ella Martinsen Gorham. "Protozoa" from "New England Review"Nicole Krauss. "Seeing Ershadi" from "The Fresh Yorker"Ursula K. Le Guin. "Pity and Shame" from "Tin House"Manuel Munõz. "Anyone Can Do It" from "ZYZZYVA"Sigrid Nunez. "The Plan" from "Lit Mag"Maria Reva. "Letter of Apology" from "Granta"Karen Russell. "Black Corfu" from "Zoetrope-All Story"Saïd Sayrafiezadeh "Audition" from "The Fresh Yorker"Alexis Schaitkin "Natural Disasters" from "Ecotone"Jim Shepard. "Our Day of Grace" from "Zoetrope-All Story"Mona Simpson. "Wrong Object" from "Harper's"Jenn Alandy Trahan. "They Told Us Not to Say This" from "Harper'sWeike Wang. "Omakase" from "The Fresh Yorker."Five-star book.
To take the popular statement in literature, one can apply this so BAP 2019 and a lot of others of its issues. Why has an original amazing idea -- to gather the best work in a year, every year -- dissolved into what is such an obvious vanity publication? Though this recent problem is a egregious example of the worst nepotism a guest editor can practice, and a series editor can condone, BAP has a history of letting its guest editors contain work of friends, students, family members, etc. have poems included in the issue. As well, David Lehman's poems are often included by guest editors. There is no reason for this. For all those locations taken by mates and colleagues too close to the editors, we might have been introduced to new, exciting and worthwhile poetry. It has the opportunity to support new, truly best work, rather than so a lot of of the same old names (who, granted write some fine poems, but the repetition gets boring). BAP is Lehman's baby, and he has a right to do whatever he wants with it. And that means he can cross ethical lines if he chooses. But that he chooses not to, is just sad. It's a subjective globe that we live in: of course it is. What you love and praise, I may not, and damn. But the poetry should stand on its own -- and not have the exclusivity of 'it's who you know' as a premise at times. Lehman doesn't need his poems in his own anthology -- at this point might published an anthology title, 'All My Poems That I Published in BAP,' rather than perhaps fine fresh separate volumes of their own. This is simply a matter of literary 'friending.' BAP has also had its controversies with certain editors' choices of poems. But I don't mind that -- we should have arguments about what is amazing or bad, raise questions about standards of excellence, and hold the arena of what is being done a vibrant locations of various perspectives and views. It could be a map of what is fresh and amazing -- not old, repeated and staid. That being said, I don't think that it will become such a series. It is a feeding ground for ego and favoritism. But, this can be seen throughout the poetry publishing world. Perhaps we cannot be neutral, perhaps we have to grease palms to obtain our work known. I don't think it's possible in this vast and ever increasing practice, not to know each other -- but there is a method to search those poets who are not the 'names' yet, who can be helped if BAP keeps its ethical standards -- as well as its quality standards (seriously, too a lot of of the poems in this issue, and others, are just plain bad; yes, my subjective opinion) -- up to the level it can truly be. I'd rather BAP's controversies be about publishing poems that a lot of might take problem with, scree about, but in the end present amazing work that makes us think, as well as take the inordinate amount of pleasure in the art form itself.
At once shocking, informative and emotionally challenging, the stories these teens have chosen have doen their job. When confronted with a story, one does not wish to read, and yet does not skip over - only then does the mind expand. Bravo to the squad who chose the 2015 Non Needed reading.
I've been purchasing this book for my husband for Christmas every year for many, a lot of years, and he always loves it. The 2016 edition is no exception. He's suggested a few of the stories/articles over the years, and I've really enjoyed them. The writing is incredibly high-caliber and the book covers a truly diverse range of sports/sporting events/athletes. This is a amazing read for sports fans of all kinds. I highly recommend it.
A terrific collection of essays/articles, including standouts by Jeff Maysh ("Why One Woman Pretended to be a High School Cheerleader" is an poor title imposed on really fine work) and Luke Cyphers and Teri Thompson ("Lost in America").
If there's a theme to this year's sports collection, it might be "how the mighty have fallen." A lot of of the essays take the form of profiles, focusing on a single person, and in the cases of golfer Tiger Woods, Olympic skater Debi Thomas, and football star Refrigerator Perry, the stories are not satisfied ones. Sometimes the articles are about less popular athletes, but the stories are just as compelling. And a few of the pieces are not about anyone in particular, such as the long and fascinating story of the sports betting www service DraftKings. This is a longer than usual volume and it seemed to me to be less about sports this year and more about people and issues, and if I had any doubts about how that would work out, they were gone by the time I finished. You could rip the cover off this problem and substitute Best American Essays as the title and no one would be the wiser. The articles are pertinent and will appeal to anyone regardless of their interest or lack of interest in sports.
The Best American Poetry 2015 offers a wide sample of poetry from the best poets in The United States. The introductions are maybe a small too long, but give light to the process of choosing the poems. The breadth of poetry allows the reader to sample a lot of styles. The bios and background give insight into the art of writing. This is an necessary read for poets and fans of the art.
This is one of the worst books of poetry that I ever read. No wonder poetry is so unpopular these days. I went into this with an begin mind wondering what was the state of poetry these days. I was extremely disappointed.
Another year, another amazing collection of sports writing. My only criticism is that too a lot of of the stories dealt with concussions or tragic death... Would have preferred more subjects being covered. But most of the concussion and tragic death stories brought me to tears
I read this anthology every year. Yes, as other customers have pointed out, Roxane 's point of view is reflected in her choice of stories, but I feel strongly that this *adds* a dimension, not detracts or subtracts! We had decades of stories about the white (often wealthy) experience, with a few notable exceptions. Then Junot Diaz in 2017 and Roxane in 2018 expanded the diversity of this series and opened us to fresh authors, characters, themes, backgrounds, experiences. In my view, the quality has not suffered. These are perfect stories, a lot of of them electric and memorable.
Don’t allow the negative reviewers discourage is a fine collection of contemporary short fiction, easily worth four stars, at least. Two of these stories aren’t quite to my taste, but even those two are well-written; and the other eighteen are engaging, creative, fresh, thoughtful, and, for what it’s worth, also grounded in traditional American Realism. So, what’s not to like? Well, the negative reviewers’ complaints here have more to do with politics than with literature. At least one reviewer here condemns a paragraph in editor Roxane ’s Introduction by calling it a political “tirade.” I personally read that paragraph a bit differently: as (mostly, anyway) a brief list of some of latest year’s headlines, which I thought were entirely appropriate content for the Intro to an annual roundup. Of course, opinions vary, and everyone is entitled to theirs—including Roxane . In fact, since editors are paid to have and exercise opinions, even if ’s paragraph really were a “tirade,” she had a right and even a duty to express herself. But I don’t wish to dwell on that, because the true issue here is larger: reviewers seeking to vilify are also attempting to vilify tons of other people, if not an entire artistic and intellectual community. They are using both , and this collection, as “straw dogs” in a culture e principal allegation in most of the negative reviews is this three-parter: (1) not one of the twenty stories selected for this collection has any literary merit at all; (2) therefore cannot have chosen these stories for their literary merits; and, (3) she therefore can only have chosen them based on her political biases. None of that bears scrutiny, e first part of it—the part about literary merit—is easily disproven: it’s a given that each of these stories first appeared in one of our most prestigious literary magazines, which obviously means that all twenty were first recognized for their literary excellence by editors other than . The stories were only available for to select for this collection because each had already been very favorably judged by others who are, presumably, known and respected in both literary and academic circles. Accordingly, the negative reviewers have the entire burden of proof in this matter, because those who admire the stories have already , how do the nay-sayers handle their burden of proof? They simply ignore it. In fact I saw no evidence that even one of the negative reviewers had actually read any of these stories. None of the negative reviews feature thoughtful discussions of plot or of characterization, allow alone a quotation from one of the stories, some that ostensibly proves its author’s atrocious performance. Accordingly, we’re expected to accept the negative judgment based faith alone, and presumably because it accords with our politics. I mean that the negative ratings seem to be based on political bias alone, which if I’m mistaken means that the negative reviewers are doing exactly the same thing that they accuse of having done: judging these twenty stories based, not on their literary merits, but only on the basis of political bias. I’ll allow you decide for yourself if that makes the negatives reviewers here hypocrites, not in; in either the fact remains that the nay-sayers fail—in fact don’t even try—to prove that these stories lack literary merit; and if we therefore agree with those who believe that the stories do have literary merit, we must reject as absurd the contention that selected them for this collection despite a lack of literary merit.I wish to say explicitly that I consider only two of these stories are actually political in nature—that is, more political than, say, Pride and Prejudice—and neither of those two are “preachy.” Accordingly, what the negative reviewers probably perceive in these stories as “political”—and more than that: in fact, offensively political—is human diversity: the fact that not all of these stories are all about whites (although, some are); or straights (although, most are); or men, rather than women. Here’s a brief example: in one of these stories, the protagonists are Korean-American. But that story is about people confronting Alzheimer’s, which is neither a “Korean” issue, nor a “political” issue; it’s simply a human issue. Does the mere fact that two characters in a story are ethnic Koreans create that story “political,” necessarily? Perhaps in the sense that “everything is political,” but diversity is, after all, not a statement (much less a rebellion!) but simply a fact. And how could it be “political” when a Korean-American author (presumably following the tenet “Write about what you know”) writes about Korean-American characters, but non-political, or politically “neutral,” when a white American writer writes about white American characters? And not to place too fine a point on it, for a story to be about Korean Americans does not, in and of itself, constitute an absence of literary merit.
My wife and I are foodies but not fanatical about it. I was looking forward to this book – an anthology of latest meal similar articles but ended up more disappointed than full of enjoyment. My problem is simple: the articles often are more about people than food. For example, the article I was eagerly looking forward to on the roots of Asian-American meal spent so much time bleating and whining about how poorly east Asian immigrants were treated in the long ago that I grew disgusted and so didn't finish the article. I’m so tired of authors sticking politics, even if I agree with their positions, in non-political books. I want to read books such as this as an escape from the constant noise of partisanship. I don’t want nor need a social justice lesson especially since the problems the article are from the long ago and not relevant to today’s world.Another article is about aborigines on the northwest coast of Alaska and the difficulties they face. It starts with a teen that kills a whale which is family needs for subsistence. In the aftermath, he’s attacked for having croaked that whale in social media which adversely affects his life. OK, that’s an interesting story but I don’t see it as a meal one. The author discusses eating whales, bearded seals and other local fauna – but how’s that relevant to me? I’ve never seen seal or whale on a menu or sold in the end, I enjoyed few articles here. It’s not that they’re poorly written but to my eye, they don’t fulfill the promise of a meal article anthology. It’s more of profiles of people peripherally involved with food. Sure there are some meal only articles such as should you or should you not wash a the end, I was hoping for an informative read on meal but got instead mostly thumbnail biographies of folks often unrelated whatsoever to what I think of as articles on food.
I loved Best Meal Writing series, this book did not meet my expectations. Very long stories with either political or biographical flare. There is probably time and put for those, but since I wanted to read "food writing", it just irritated me.
Just so you know, this is not a book about travel. It is a book about racism, man-made global warming, pollution, the evils of non-leftist thought, bullying, immigration and a lot of other current political e, what leftist authors and editors forget is that we read about travel to read about the things that bring us together- our commonalities. We don’t read travel writing to explore that the travel we previously enjoyed is just an illusion and we are white supremacists or science deniers for having enjoyed it.Once again, like professional sports, movies, ping, food, news and more, liberals ruin absolutely everything.
Samin Nosrat is a master of bringing her own joy into her writing, and she has used her bonus to make the most enjoyable lineup of talented and diverse voices. Prepare to be fascinated, to laugh, and to be deeply challenged. This is a must-read for eaters and meal enthusiasts everywhere.
I ordered this book through Amazon, and it was like new! We had to order it for class, but it had a wide range of contemporary authors. It helped us in class to learn about various techniques because the poems were so diverse. If you wish to know what fresh poets are writing, I suggest that you order this book!
As in any compilation of stories, there were a few I didn't care for and some that I really liked. I read these for a book club and we had some amazing discussions about the stories. It would have been helpful to have questions and study tutorial at the end of each story.
If this is the state of the American short story, the form is doomed. Dig out your old Hemingway, Steinbeck, Faulkner, Welty... books and read those again. Utterly dismayed at the incoherence and total lack of story. Forced myself to hold reading, give it a chance... halfway through I’m done.
I read this series every year, and of course the title is a misnomer or a marketing tool; even the guest editors generally acknowledge that the anthology is more a record of their private tastes than a real best of. In his introduction, Major Jackson writes “Are these the best poems? I count them among a growing private anthology.” Fair enough, and this is far from being the worst Best American Poetry ever published. As usual, there are some amazing poems, such as Li-Young Lee’s bold, ambitious song of songs “The Undressing”; Ada Limón’s mythical “Cannibal Woman”; Rebecca Lindenberg’s capacious, strong “A Brief History of the Future Apocalypse”; “Bio from a Parallel World” by Jeffrey McDaniel; Ocean Vuong’s “Partly Real Poem Reflected in a Mirror”; and “Hive” by Kevin Young, among other terrific entries. As usual, there are some true clunkers as well: boring, pious, obvious (yep, guns are bad, racism is bad, battle is bad). More than usual, the guest editor appears to have used his position to repay favors and publish friends. He’s got a poem in here. His wife has a poem in here. The series editor has a poem in here. Most of Jackson's NYU colleagues got poems in here, including his boss. If Foetry were still around, they could surely trace Jackson’s collusions with contributors to the anthology: the usual cast of favor-trading editors, the guest editor’s mentors, suck-up students, etc.. In the note on his own poem, Jackson blasts Derek Walcott for “his moral failings as a man” which amount to being lecherous, though he “never sought retribution versus women who did not answer to his advances” (but in these neo-Puritan times, I guess just having a libido renders a straight man problematic). I hope for Jackson’s sake that people are more forgiving of his ethical lapses.
I have been reading the Best American Sports Writing series since the late 1990s. I preorder it every year with amazing anticipation, and always seem to obtain through it so quick that I have to consciously slow down to have fun it more. It pains me, therefore, to write such a not good review for this recent edition. I found the selection of stories to be depressing and even repetitive-- stories of brain trauma, shattered dreams, early deaths, dark social issues, and painful narratives of athletes broken and down. I don't mind the increased focus on social problems in the latest 10 or so years of this series, and think the addition of these stories balances out the mindless treatment of sports on most platforms, but would like to have a better balance of stories that create you also wish to embrace what sports have to offer this society. I do not see myself re-reading stories as I always have done with past editions and hope future editions can provide a more heterogenous selection of stories. The bright spot of this edition was series editor Glenn Stout's forward to the book, which was very insightful and interesting, followed by the introduction by the author, Jeff Pearlman. I just want the selected stories followed suit.
The strength or weakness of this series falls on the guest editor. I have nearly every book since 1991, they've had some odd choices for editor -- novelists and writers, who didn't write sports, and only one woman picked, and so forth. I was excited when Jeff Pearlman was selected as guest editor as he's one of the best sports writers/authors out there today.I particularly enjoyed the story on the minor league baseball player. Minor leaguers are infinitely more interesting than their MLB giant ego counterparts. Not a Pat Riley fan per se, not a hater either, but I liked the long read on him and his obsession with coaching and being a G.M. The Jimmy Butler article was very fascinating, and again, I'm not a huge Butler fan, but the guy is interesting. There are a lot of amazing reads in this 's what's keeping it from being a 5-star book: Pearlman himself required to be edited, perhaps by the series editor or someone else. Question 1: Why are you picking so a lot of CTE/Death stories? I know it's a hot topic, but you're overdoing it. The two running stories were somewhat repetitive. Death, death, and more death. I'm stunned a guy as intelligent as Pearlman didn't see the pattern here, and neither did his editors ... that is if he had any.I loved Pearlman's introduction about amazing writing, though I grossly disagree with what he thought was the best lede of all time from his collegiate newspaper. That was just a 'bro-hug from college, not amazing writing. That said, Pearlman is right about making the reader think. Editors need to think, too. At least they're not handing us a diet of fishing and rock climbing stories like they did for about a is is still a amazing series and I'll buy next year's book. Here's a suggestion for editor: Sally Jenkins.
A lot of of the stories that are included in this book are not really similar to what I would expect most people would consider sports. While some of the stories were interesting, there were several that I completely skipped because they were not of interest to me as a sports fan; one was about snooker, while another, if my memory serves me, was primarily about cattle rustling or something to that evious versions of this have been much better.
I buy the recent book in this series every October for my brother's birthday. The short pieces let you to dip in and out whenever you have a small time. Superb writing on a wide range of topics; it will obtain you reading about sports you care nothing about. A story on chess, I think, had a line like, "Dubrowski knew Queens [N.Y.] like a cat knows a garbage can." What's not to like?
When I read a collection such as this, I look to be surprised by the subjects and the contents. First-rate writing is expected for most selections, but is not enough. This edition delivered, with contributions on varied subjects that I did not expect to see. Three of my favorites were even about crime: a marathon run in a prison, a former top baseball hitting prospect who turned into another kind of hit man, and a woman who impersonated a high school student to become a cheerleader.I'm also fine with a generous definition of "sports writing", as in a very interesting story on cheating at elite levels in bridge.When I am not surprised by the topic, I still hope for high quality. In the piece on Muhammad Ali, I thought what much else is there to say for someone whose story is so well known, but the author gave it a amazing shot and the effect was very good.Another favorite was "Too Quick to Be Female" - something getting more sensitive all the time in today's gender fluidity. Of course, a collection might not be complete with some well-done material that can also annoy. For that, we have the story about the NFL trying to hook children at an early age. usual, there are some that didn't do much for me. That's ok. Overall, very well done.
I tried to give this anthology a possibility after barely making it through the Introduction but finally gave up. If you wish to read politically charged fiction then you may have fun this but I read fiction to escape, not to be lectured to.
The Best American Short Stories 2018Selected by Roxanne and Heidi PitlorReviewed by C. J. Singh (Berkeley, California)HEIDI PITLOR, the editor of the series, states in her Foreword (page xi): “In latest year’s foreword, I wrote about my reaction to the 2016 presidential election. I received a few letters requesting that I hold politics out of my job…. As George Orwell wrote in a 1946 essay, ‘The opinion that art should have nothing to do with politics is itself a political attitude.’ ” I fully agree with Pitlor. She is also the editor of the perfect anthology "100 Years of the Best American Short Stories", which she co-edited with Lorrie Moore. (For a fuller understanding of Pitlor's contributions, see my review of the book on amazon.)The 2018 book comprises twenty short stories; I'll review CELYN NICOLE JOHNSON’s short story “Control ,” published in Guernica, is an 11-page letter by an African-American professor, in his sixties, to his 21-year old biological son, with whom he had never talked face to face, but supported him financially by giving cash to his mother married to another. This is not a story of adultery. The married couple had failed to have a kid because of a lack in the husband. The mother, an African-American graduate student, created a consensual arrangement of impregnation while remaining married. At the opening of the story in media res, the biological father is a professor of history, the mother a professor of environmental studies, the son an undergrad -- all three at the same esteemed e letter begins (page 167): “By the time you read this, you may have figured it out. Perhaps your mother told you, though she was privy to my timeworn thesis – never my aim or full intention. Still, maybe the truth of it breached your insides: That I am your father, that you are my son. In these typewritten pages, I mean to create manifest the truth, the whole. But please do not mistake this letter for some manner of veiled confession. I cannot afford to be sorry, not for any of it. I hope you’ll come to understand, it was all for a grander good.“You see, I required a Control , grotesque as that may sound –“You should know I was there on the day you were born, a reflection behind the nursery glass. I laid eyes on you while your mother rested, along with her husband – that man you must have accepted, at least for a time, as your father. You seemed to see me too, my blurred silhouette.”In the letter, Professor Cornelius Adams narrates the assaults and humiliations he had suffered such as at age ten being beaten almost to death by three drunken white young men for no reason other than his being black (page 174). At his job as a professor, being handed among student submissions a cartoon titled “Irony,” by an anonymous student as “a history professor leaned over a lectern, looking quite like me – same jacket and bow tie – except with something primitive about his face. A thought bubble hovered over the room of students: ‘Darwin Taught to Men by an Ape.’ ” The term “Control” in the story title is standard in social anthropology/psychology experiments as evidence of valid comparisons. Is the hostile behavior of American Caucasian Males (ACMs) toward African Americans because of color or of class and cultural differences? Would a “Control ” kid raised as a middle-class American and attending an esteemed college be subjected to hostility by ACMs?At the climax of the story, Professor Adams observed (page 177) “wasted students partying on the strip of college bars. I knew this because I’d worked late that night, the first warm evening of spring. I’d decided to walk home through the carnival of youth, and only by possibility spotted you out front of that bar on the corner. You were right there in the fray of students, half swaying to melody that sed from an begin rprise: “I must tell you now that it was I the one who called the precinct, claiming to have seen a ‘suspicious young man’ at the corner of University and Second. I called but did not specify your height, your n, please believe me if you believe nothing else I’ve written: this was a try for them – for the world!—not for you.”No Surprise: The police promptly arrested the black youth, his son, “who seemed dangerous” to them; “pinned him to the pavement,” blood morse: After seeing his son participate in a student protest on campus, the narrator expresses his remorse in the closing paragraph of his letter: “When I saw you, I knew that you would recover, and it felt like I could breathe again for the first time in a very long while. …Look at all you’ve accomplished, in spite of everything. You created it here, just like they did.”------------CRISTINA HENRÎQUEZ’s short story “Everything Is Far from Here,” published in The Fresh Yorker, is about a Latina group with kids crossing the border into Texas.During the journey, the unnamed main hero was forcibly separated from her 5-years’ old son. “The man who was leading them here divided the group. Twelve people drew too much attention, he claimed. He had sectioned off the women, silencing any protest with the back of his hand, swift to the jaw. ‘Do you wish to obtain there or not?’ They did. ‘Trust me,’ he said.” (page 149)She had left her country after her husband was killed and she was raped by a gang of young boys – “boys whose mothers she knew from the neighborhood.” As an asylum seeker, she is interviewed by a lawyer, who asks, “Why do you think they targeted you?” She replies, “I was alone.”The poignant anxiety she suffers from the separation from her son is the central theme of the story. Using the third-person close Point of View, the narrator succeeds in evoking this reader’s night, missing her son, she sometimes screams. Then “the guards come to restrain her. They keep her arms behind her back. They drag her down the hall and place her in a room, a colorless box with spiders in the corners, until she calms down.” (page 153)“One day, when the air is damp and the sky is mottled and gray, there’s a protest. People outside keep signs that say ILLEGAL IS A CRIME and SEND THEM BACK WITH BIRTH CONTROL. People keep American flags over their shoulders like cape. Superhero Americans. She imagines them at home … laying the poster board on the floor, uncapping markers, drawing the letters, coloring them in.” (pages 153- 54)Daily she sits by the front door waiting for her son. One day, she sees a five-year old boy among the crowd. “His dark, combed hair, the freckle beneath his eye. God in Heaven! It’s him! She lunges forward and wrests him from the crowd. She falls to her knees and pulls him into her arms.” (p 155)Alas, he is not her son, just a look-alike. The boy’s true mother snatches him foreshadowed in the title “Everything Is Far from Here,” she accepts her situation. “She will stay in this place, she tells herself, until he comes."ESMÈ WEIJUN WANG’s short story “What Not good Thing It Was,” published in Granta, is told by a paranoid narrator, whose psychosis worsens by the 2016 right-wing election win and what that portends for minorities such as East-Asians like e story opens with the first-person narrator, Wendy Chung, hearing the voice of Becky Mei-Hua Guo, a mate of hers, who had been murdered and hung high up a eucalyptus tree in Polk Valley where they lived. Wendy was seventeen at that time. Throughout the story Wendy hears Becky’s voice. “If she had not been killed in part because of her race, I could, as the saying goes, breathe easier, but I could not assure myself of that any more than I could wipe off my own face.” (page 293)Wendy goes to the Wellbrook Psychiatric Hospital for a consult. Dr. Richards recommends ECT (electroconvulsive therapy) for her schizophrenia and depression. Wendy says she wants to first talk about this with her husband, Dennis, a good-natured white man. On the bus ride back to Polk Valley, Wendy looks at Twitter to learn how the election is going. “I look briefly at Twitter and see that the man I am afraid will become president has insinuated that it would be best if his supporters harassed people at the polls, particularly people of color; of course, he never says ‘people of color,’ but we know what he means. I click on the tweet and scroll down: ‘Muslim Obama HATES America, LOVES terrerists!’ ” (pages 296-97)Wendy’s regression to her earlier trauma by the 2016 election effect is suggested in the latest paragraph: “In the bathroom where I avoid looking in the mirror – an aversion to my own face is one of my recent symptoms….I stand at the sink for a long time, until I cannot remember what I am doing; I lose the next move. Suddenly, and too loudly, a girl calls my name.” (page 300)The complete list of stories:1. Maria Anderson, “Cougar”2. Jamel Brinkley, “A Family”3. Yoon Choi, “The Art of Losing”4. Emma Cline, “Los Angeles”5. Alicia Elliot “UnEarth”6. Danielle Evans, “Boys Go to Jupiter”7. Carolyn Ferrell, “A History of China”8. Ann Glaviano, “Come on, Silver”9. Jacob Guajardo, “What Got Into Us”10. Cristina Henriquez, “Everything Is Far from Here”11. Kristen Iskandrian, “Good with Boys”12. Jocelyn Nicole Johnson, “Control ’13. Matthew Loyns, “The Brother Brujo”14. Dina Nayeri, “A Huge True”15. Tea Obreht, “Items Awaiting Protective Enclosure”16. Ron Rash, “The Baptism”17. Amy Silverberg, “Subarbia!”18. Curtis Sittenfeld, “The Prairie Wife”19. Rivers Solomon, “What Heart I Long to Stop with the Click of a Revolver”20. Esme Weijun Wang, “What Not good Thing It Was”Five-star book.
Sharp and enjoyable collection of essays highlighting how writing about meal doesn't just have independent value, it's also a method to discover a lot of various facets of our world.If such exploration is unacceptable to you (as it appears to be to some reviewers of this book), it might be best to skip this. For others, I recommend checking this out.
I love to cook and I love making meal discoveries, so I had lofty expectations for this book, a collection of articles relating to the culinary industry and trending foods. I came away with some of the amazing annuals is “The Year’s Best Science Fiction”, a amazing collection of short stories and articles in the science fiction realm (I am going somewhere with this, please stay with me here). The compiler of the anthology introduces each story, the author, explains where the article appeared initially and gives a very high level synopsis or the story. It’s a amazing formula that works very well, even if you’re not a science fiction is compilation, however, doesn’t follow that. Instead, there is a table of contents and each article is presented without any introduction at all other than to name the author, name the original publisher and name the article, with no background info at all and no synopsis. It reads a lot more like a novel broken up into disjoint chapters, or a magazine with loosely similar articles. For me, this doesn’t work so well as a collection.Unfortunately, a lot of of the articles focus on people in the culinary industry rather than culinary trends, gadgetry or even cuisines. That’s really of limited interest to most people who might be looking for a collection like this. Meal Network magazine has a column where they highlight a chef’s or restaurateur’s home kitchen and provide a ping list where you can obtain all of the furniture, appliances and gadgets in that kitchen – not useful to the average individual – and a lot of of the articles in this collection are about as relatable. I would have liked to see more about individual restaurants or food-related establishments, dishes and is isn’t a poor book and the collected articles are well written. That said, it’s hard to believe that a lopsided number of amazing articles written relating to the culinary industry specifically deal with individual people.
Unbelievable collection of some of the most compelling meal writing of the year. Helen Rosner’s piece on Anthony Bourdain and Michael Twitty’s piece on visiting his ancestral homeland were two of my favorites from this year’s selections. Amazing picks, Samin!
I have amazing respect for Samin Nosrat. I own her book "Salt Fat Acid Heat" and enjoyed the Netflix series of the same name. She has a lovely outlook on amazing meal and amazing cooking. And she speaks Italian. What more could you ask for?But I opened up this collection and read her introduction. Then I looked over the table of contents. This isn't about food. It's about politics, which happen to be marginally similar to food. When pieces are chosen on the basis of the writer's , race, or orientation, and not on the value or interest of meal or wine or fine dining, then you've lost me. The pieces, according to her own admission, were chosen first on the basis of the identity of the writer, not the quality of the content. Straight, white men need not apply. That's racist, ist. That's st year's collection, edited by Ruth Reichl, was no different. A latest Travel Writing anthology - same thing. I suspect the entire "Best ____ Writing of 20_" series has gone off the woke cliff. I'm done with all of them.
If this is the state of the American short story, the form is doomed. Dig out your old Hemingway, Steinbeck, Faulkner, Welty... books and read those again. Utterly dismayed at the incoherence and total lack of story. Forced myself to hold reading, give it a chance... halfway through I’m done.
Although there are a few interesting travel stories it seems a lot of where selected to advocate, sometimes politically, the editor's point of view. I expected a collection of travel stories maybe not on par with writers like Paul Theroux but not stories with narratives versus border protection, energy production and dissing foreign and domestic leaders. Amazing travel writing affords us escape not lectures about what's supposed to be right or wrong.
I have a copy of every volume in this series, all the method back to the first one from 1991, and I have never read a more depressing collection of articles. It seems as if the guest editor was trying to create sure that readers shared his obvious hatred of all thing sporting (ironic, since he is a sportswriter). We have 1) multiple articles on concussions in football 2) a high school football player who died on the field from a cause that is most likely not similar to football, but football is blamed anyway 3) two articles on women who are obsessed with running, to a degree where it is possible it has taken over their lives and even may have ruined their relationships 4) a long and detailed article on the funeral preparations for Muhammad Ali (including far too much on the embalming process) and 5) a long anti-NFL screed, tying in politics, protests and patriotism, all from a single perspective.Of course, what modern sports writing collection would be complete without multiple anti-Trump articles, the height of current sports ry few of the articles included celebrate sports in any way. Almost the only positive story was Steve Rushin's love letter to his the preface, the series editor mentioned that of the 25 articles in this collection, 15 were included, not from the list from the series editor, but included at the request of the guest editor. If fact, for the first time I can recall, the series editor specifically encouraged readers to seek out and read articles listed in the Notable Sports Writing of 2017 appendix.Hopefully, next year's edition will be back to the previous standards.
I really enjoyed reading “The Best American Sports Writing of 2018.” I’ve read a lot of of the other of these anthologies over the years and I’ve enjoyed all of them. As some of the reviews have pointed out this is not your usual bunch of sports stories. Did you just wish some pieces of some star of the year in baseball or football or whatever then this year’s collection is not your cup of tea. But if you love what sports is all about , including it’s darker sides then I highly recommend this. These stories feel more like America today . From the burial of Muhammad Ali, written with an awesome eye to detail, to a short beautifully written piece called Still Running, along with the wonderful darkside of football piece,”The Concussion Diaries” and the heartbreaking real dovetail of the intersection of youth soccer and a mass shooting, “Cheers from a soccer field far from Las Vegas”, These are pieces that reflect where we are in America right now with sports .They have been selected with amazing care as the forward describes. Give this a shot. if you’ve read this far, you’ll probably like thiscollection.
JR did a fabulous job of curating a collection of stories, not just about sports, but about the human condition(s) and challenges. I love the fact that my life is enriched by the education I obtain from these reads.
Overall a amazing read. The writing, as in all these series, is phenomenal and makes me wish to write. The majority of these stories are engaging and exciting. As with all these books there is something for everyone.
My husband teases me about watching televised “junk sports” (e.g., surfing, skiing, present jumping, etc.), but I have fun watching and reading about all sorts of competitive sports. So of course I enjoyed reading THE BEST AMERICAN SPORTS WRITING 2017. This is the 27th book in the series, but my first. I’m very late to the party, but better late than never!The series has easy selection criteria: (1) high-quality sports writing with “literary merit; (2) column-length or longer stories; and (3) stories originally published in the calendar year covered. This 2017 edition includes the best sportswriting published in 2016, as selected by guest editor Howard Bryant. An appendix lists the best writing of 2016 as selected by series editor Glenn ree selections that I particularly enjoyed are: (1) John Branch’s Fresh York Times essay about the highly unusual early life of Golden State Fighters Coach Steve Kerr, “Why Steve Kerr Sees Life Beyond the Court”; (2) John Colapinto’s Vanity Fair essay about Boye Brogeland’s exposure of cheaters at the very highest level of competition contract bridge, “Some Very Dirty Tricks”; and Wright Thompson’s ESPN: The Magazine article (very depressing) about how Tiger Woods’ decline began well before Elin chased him out if the house, “The Secret History of Tiger r a complete list of the included stories, check out the accompanying “Look Inside This Book” feature.
The globe of the sport fans involvement has much changed since the first edition of these fine tombs was published in 1991. Each fresh edition continues to raise the standards set by it's predecessor and informs us of why we foreigners need The Best American Sports Writing to stay educated and abreast of sport, the American way.
I buy this anthology almost every year. I understand that the editors choice reflects the editor but this was the first one that seems to discount the quality of the stories for the inherent political social cultural emphasis of the works. These are not particularly well written stories. These are not particularly compelling stories. These stories have one or two clear overlapping agendas which are obvious and sadly bend the word “best” into something with a very different, very 2018 meaning. What should be an anthology about writing is in fact about something else entirely. I hope next year’s edition is less about persons and personalities and more about amazing writing.
This series, for a dozens of reasons, cultural, political, societal, has continued a downward spiral. Having read, and own, every problem dating back to 1978 this has to be the worst to date. Only three or four stories of the twenty have any emotion or cause the reader to wish to turn the page. I understand that technological advances are altering society, but is astonishing that stories based around twitter feeds, cellphones and blogs actually constitute writing- why not just surf the Internet and save the money. It also is distressing that every story revolves around people/personal issues, why not more diversity?; not just the authors represented. Maybe from a frog's perspective? Los Angeles, Boys Go to Jupiter, The Art of Losing, and especially Control , which is excellent, as I can relate being a university professor myself. Other than those listed, most of the other stories can be skipped. I think I'll continue to move backward in time and buy the older editions where the tale was actually entertaining.
I was so satisfied when I saw the references to MFK Fisher in the forward to this book. Her writings honed my love of meal writing. Some of the articles are truly about food, and life, as she wrote. A lot of more search ways to inject politics and negativity into the subject. Hoping for better in 2019.
For a lot of years there was an annual meal writing anthology edited by Holly Hughes, called Best Meal Writing 2017. They were lovely volumes that steadily reflected one person's choices. I haven't see the 2018 volume, so I wonder whether they have been anwhile, the Best American XXXXX Writing annual anthology series lacked one on meal writing. They had travel writing, fiction, sports writing, poetry, science and nature writing, essays, and more, with a series editor providing a huge set of choices for a celebrity editor of the year to choose among. Now they have added meal writing to their successful formula, and the book lives up to the reputation of Ruth Reichl and of the other writing touches everything, from meal to social problems to private memories to technology. Ruth Reichl has place together an eclectic set of (mainly) longer pieces that mostly touch on something besides the meal being described. So if you were expecting a bunch of articles going into interesting detail about some meal or cuisine, or a bunch of behind-the-scenes-at-a-restaurant articles, you'll need to widen your view to have fun this anthology.But if you're willing to follow Reichl there are some fine rewards here. How did NBA squads all begin furnishing their players with pre-game PBJ sandwiches? Why is the sudden attention to female chefs mildly insulting? And so on. Plus several outstanding travel-to-taste-a-new-cuisine pieces in the traditional mould, and a piece by a man who retraces John McPhee's steps when the latter was researching and writing his book on ep an begin mind and enjoy. Insist that every piece be an in-depth consideration of some meal item and you'll be disappointed. I prefer to enjoy.
I want that this once amazing series would go back to focusing on the joy around meal and beverages, people, and places. This used to be a nice escape, a possibility to read about interesting chefs, special restaurants and food, an opportunity to laugh and smile. Those opportunities are few and far between in the 2019 edition (much like 2018, which I also returned). "The Best American Meal Writing" has turned into a series of pet causes and political agendas. After buying the recent edition and thumbing through it latest night, I returned it this morning, using "other" for my reason. There are plenty of things to be depressed about these days (COVID-19, nasty politics, etc.), and I certainly don't wish to immerse in negativity when it comes to one of my favorite topics/escapes on our troubled planet. Please return to sharing the joys of food, beer, wine etc., the people who create them special, and well-crafted word pictures of locations that take us away on a unique journey. Bring back something we can have fun in 2020, and maybe you will sell more books and victory back some of your former fans.
Lack of topic matter, incoherent themes and crippling boredom are show in a majority of these shorts chosen as The Best American Short Stories. Suffer a head injury, obtain marooned on a desert plateau, became psychotic and you too can have fun this collection of crap mislabeled as The Best. As sure as the sun will rise in predictable fashion Doerr knows better prose than this sorry mess represents and Doerr's representation was the reason for the purchase. We have all heard the cliche, "a fool and his money..." You got it I am the fool who parted. In my defense I had no fair warning. You do. Please feel free to purchase if you have fun scrambled rambles spiced with schizophrenia. Alas I digress and give this collection far too much credit. Recommendation: Avoid as a reasonable person should also shy from the rabid.