Best American Nonrequired Reading 2003, The

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

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