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The Best American Short Stories 2010 by…

The Best American Short Stories 2010 (2010)

by Richard Russo (Editor & Introduction), Heidi Pitlor (Series Editor)

Other authors: Steve Almond (Contributor), Marlin Barton (Contributor), Charles Baxter (Contributor), Jennifer Egan (Contributor), Danielle Evans (Contributor)15 more, Joshua Ferris (Contributor), Lauren Groff (Contributor), Wayne Harrison (Contributor), James Lasdun (Contributor), Rebecca Makkai (Contributor), Brendan Mathews (Contributor), Jill McCorkle (Contributor), Kevin Moffett (Contributor), Téa Obreht (Contributor), Lori Ostlund (Contributor), Ron Rash (Contributor), Karen Russell (Contributor), Jim Shepard (Contributor), Maggie Shipstead (Contributor), Wells Tower (Contributor)

Series: The Best American Short Stories (2010), Best American (2010)

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320652,026 (3.68)3



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Showing 1-5 of 6 (next | show all)
Very disappointing. I read this, hoping to find some new authors to explore. I only liked two stories in this collection: one was an excerpt from a book I've already read; the other is by an author who seemingly hasn't published anything else. The rest just weren't engaging. Or fully formed. Too bad. ( )
  LauraCerone | May 26, 2016 |
Another excellent collection! (And this year's Foreword is well worth reading.) So now it's time for everyone's favorite game - which did you like most? For me, Lauren Groff's "Delicate Edible Birds" was in a class by itself, a perfect story. Looking forward to her books.

My other favorites were Steve Almond's "Donkey Greedy, Donkey Gets Punched," Marlin Barton's "Into Silence," Lori Ostlund's "All Boy," Ron Rash's "The Ascent," Jim Shepherd's "The Netherlands Lives Under Water" and Maggie Shipstead's "The Cowboy Tango," reminiscent of Proulx. (Someone publish a book by this writer!)

I was also impressed by Egan, Ferris and Obrecht, rising stars I hadn't read before.

Sorry to pick on anyone, but I didn't like Brendan Matthews's "Lion Tamer" story, which I think is being overpraised. It's cute but gimmicky and has no character development, just types. You know how it will play out from the first page. I was also disappointed in Charles Baxter's story, though I normally love Baxter, and I thought Wells Tower's story was an empty exercise, and I've read much better stories by him.

Anyone have any tips from the backlist of further recommended stories? I'm eager to try more. ( )
  patronus11 | Mar 31, 2013 |
One of my favorite annual publications is the Best American Series, edited by Heidi Pitlor. In addition to fiction, the series also includes the best comics, essays, mystery stories, non-required reading, science and nature, sports, and travel. Each volume has a different guest editor, and the 2010 editor was Richard Russo, one of my favorite authors.

In his magnificent introduction, Russo discusses the purpose of literature. He writes, “The writer’s real job is not to court the affection of readers but to force them to confront hard truths” (xv). Furthermore, the artist “desires to show people a good time” and “comes to us bearing a gift he hopes will please us.” The writer “starts out making the thing for himself, perhaps, but at some point …realizes he [or she] wants to share it, which is why [an author] spends long hours reshaping the thing, lovingly honing its details in the hopes it will please us, that it will be a gift worth the giving and the receiving” (xv).

He goes on to say that writers and readers understand “how wonderful it is to lose the “self” in a story so that … for a time, the reader’s life, troubles … none of it matters” (xv).

These twenty stories fulfill that mission splendidly. The finest magazines publishing fiction today are well represented: The New Yorker, The Atlantic, Tin House, The Paris Review, and Ploughshares among others.

Some well-known authors, but just as many gems by new and young writers have found their way into this prestigious collection. Charles Baxter, author of Feast of Love, Jennifer Egan, author of the critically acclaimed Visit from the Goon Squad, Jill McCorkle, who write, Going Away Shoes, and Téa Obrecht, who wrote The Tiger’s Wife. Most of the authors in the volume teach at some of the finest writing programs in America today.

The advantage of this series comes in the form of exposure to the reader of many new and established writers in a wide variety of styles.

As an example, my favorite story from the collection is “The Cousins,” by Charles Baxter. Baxter received the Award of Merit for the Short Story by the American Academy of Arts and Letters in 2007. In the story, Brantford is the ne’er-do-well younger cousin of Benjamin, or “Bunny” as Brantford calls him. Like all of Baxter’s work, the prose is sparkling and wonderfully phrased. Benjamin, the narrator, travels from party to party and from one relative’s house to another. He engages people in conversations which usually end badly. He approaches a “famous poet” but cannot ask him about his play. Benjamin pontificates about Yeats and Eliot, and the poet interrupts him with a vulgar insult as if from an “Old Testament style prophet” (49). This conflict between writer and reader hangs like a shadow over Benjamin.

The volume concludes with a handy list of U.S. and Canadian magazines publishing short stories. This annual series is a real treasure for anyone who loves the art of the short story. 5 stars

--Jim, 5/19/12 ( )
  rmckeown | May 19, 2012 |
Most of the stories in this anthology are ones I felt like I'd already read, even the stories that were new to me. By and large they are well-written but predictable and not terribly likeable or engaging stories. The exceptions perhaps are the Wells Tower story which closes the collection, because it contains some wonderfully unexpected turns of phrase, and Danielle Evans's story, which, while good, is not by a wide margin the best of the stories in her debut collection, though I suppose it's possible that it's the best of those that were published in magazines. Otherwise, it functions more or less as a monument to all the reasons why people are constantly proclaiming the death of the art form. ( )
  upstairsgirl | Jul 5, 2011 |
The latest issues of this long running collection of short stories does not disappoint.

Lots of ironic and unsuspecting endings in this year's collection, lots of talented authors who know how to write stories that suck you in.

The quote of the entire book is in the story, "Further Interpretations of Real-Life Events" by Kevin Moffett.

"Talent realizes its limitations and gives up while incompetence keeps plugging away..."

I love it, because it is so true.

An interesting note is that a couple of the stories this year are about climate change in the near future and how it affects people.

If you love short stories or if you would like a sampling of great stories, this is the book. Also interesting is that there is a little bio on each author and the author says a little something about their story.

I rate the book 3.5 stars out of 4. I've bought it every year since the mid 1980's and I've loved them all. ( )
  YogiABB | Dec 26, 2010 |
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» Add other authors

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Russo, RichardEditor & Introductionprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Pitlor, HeidiSeries Editormain authorall editionsconfirmed
Almond, SteveContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Barton, MarlinContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Baxter, CharlesContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Egan, JenniferContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Evans, DanielleContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Ferris, JoshuaContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Groff, LaurenContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Harrison, WayneContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Lasdun, JamesContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Makkai, RebeccaContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Mathews, BrendanContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
McCorkle, JillContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Moffett, KevinContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Obreht, TéaContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Ostlund, LoriContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Rash, RonContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Russell, KarenContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Shepard, JimContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Shipstead, MaggieContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Tower, WellsContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0547055323, Paperback)

Edited by the award-winning, best-selling author Richard Russo, this year’s collection boasts a satisfying “chorus of twenty stories that are by turns playful, ironic, somber, and meditative” (Wall Street Journal). With the masterful Russo picking the best of the best, America’s oldest and best-selling story anthology is sure to be of “enduring quality” (Chicago Tribune) this year.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:05:18 -0400)

Edited by the award-winning, best-selling author Richard Russo, this year's collection boasts a satisfying "chorus of twenty stories that are by turns playful, ironic, somber, and meditative" (Wall Street Journal). With the masterful Russo picking the best of the best, America's oldest and best-selling story anthology is sure to be of "enduring quality" (Chicago Tribune) this year.… (more)

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