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The Best American Nonrequired Reading 2005…

The Best American Nonrequired Reading 2005 (original 2005; edition 2005)

by Dave Eggers (Editor)

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579525,808 (3.71)8
Title:The Best American Nonrequired Reading 2005
Authors:Dave Eggers (Editor)
Info:Mariner Books (2005), Edition: 2005 ed., 368 pages
Collections:Your library

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The Best American Nonrequired Reading 2005 by Dave Eggers (Editor) (2005)



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Showing 5 of 5
I think I'll just mention the pieces included here that I particularly liked or found interesting (not necessarily the same thing). Ryan Boudinot's short story "Free Burgers for Life," Al Franken's "Tearaway Burkas and Tinplate Menorahs, about a USO tour" and Jeff Gordiner's "The Lost Boys," on the polygamous Mormon sects in the American west are the ones that stand out. ( )
  JBD1 | Jul 29, 2017 |
Like most of the rest of the books in the "nonrequired reading" series, this collection of writing was selected by Dave Eggers and a team of high school students.

I read and was really impressed by a couple of the later volumes in the series -- specifically the 2011 and 2012 editions -- so I figured I'd go back and check out some of the older ones. I have to say, though, that I didn't enjoy this one nearly as much as those other two. That's probably partly my fault, though. The 2011 edition, which was the first one I read, featured some really excellent non-fiction pieces, which impressed me so much that, despite the fact that the next one was a lot more fiction-heavy, I seem to have gotten it thoroughly stuck into my head that this is a great series to go to when you're in the mood for some top-notch journalism. And, going into it in precisely that mood, it was a little hard not to be irrationally disappointed when the first nine pieces in the collection turned out to be short stories.

Not that the fiction was bad. There were a couple of pieces I liked a great deal: Jhumpa Lahiri's "Hell-Heaven" immediately made me decide I needed to read more Jhumpa Lahiri, and George Saunders' "Manifesto" darned near made me cry and, short as it is, would still have made the entire collection worthwhile even if the rest of it had been awful. A lot more of it, though, was stuff that I can recognize as skillful, but that wasn't nearly as much to my taste. Alas, a story about bullfighting is probably never going to appeal to me, no matter how well it's written. And while I am certainly capable of appreciating slice-of-life literary stories about unmotivated characters with pathetic lives, there does seem to be a limit to how many of them I can take in short period of time, and that limit might have been exceeded in just those first nine stories.

Ironically, I found the non-fiction in this one to be weaker, overall, than the fiction. A couple of the pieces actively annoyed me. Specifically, Al Franken's account of doing a USO show, complete with jokes that apparently the troops liked, but which I found deeply unfunny; and Kate Krautkramer's bizarre piece about removing teeth from roadkill for artistic purposes and not wanting to wear a fetal monitor while giving birth because she is just too sensitive a soul for science. I fear I may have sprained something in my face while rolling my eyes at that one.

Anyway. I do still think this is a pretty cool series, and I'm still intending to read more of it, but this one definitely isn't going to go down as my favorite. ( )
  bragan | Jun 3, 2016 |
First, let’s get this out of the way. This collection continues the amazing track record of this series. Great stories and articles.

This year, the collection has one strange aspect – most of the selections are fiction. To me, the real strength of this series is usually the non-fiction. (In fact, the last one I reviewed was saved only by the non-fiction; the fiction choices were not that good.) However, in spite of the fact that well less than half of the 25 selections are non-fiction, the collection is excellent. And that is because of the strength of the fiction pieces – almost every single one stands on its own as a great piece of writing.

Three of the memorable non-fiction pieces: Al Franken writes about his travels with the USO to Afghanistan and Iraq in “Tearaway Burkas and Tinplate Menorahs”. This serves as an excellent reminder that patriotism is firmly entrenched in both political persuasions. “The Lost Boys” by Jeff Gordinier provides insight into a slightly different aspect of the plural marriages occurring in the Arizona Strip – the men and boys who are apparently excommunicated to remove the competition. “They Came Out Like Ants!” by William T. Vollman which explores the history of the Chinese in Calexico and the mysterious underground tunnels within the town.

And each piece of fiction has its own attraction. A few of them stand out (Jessica Anthony’s “The Death of Mustango Salvaje” which relates the story of a successful female matador and the occasion of her final bullfight, J. David Stevens’ “The Joke” which follows the fate of four characters waiting for their joke to finish [as well as the fate of their creator], or Aimee Bender’s “A Tiger Mending” about two sisters – one of which is such an excellent seamstress that she is hired to help mend the tigers) but, even if the quick synopsis of their plots renders them ineffective, each will grip and stop you as you read it.

One of the best of collections of one of the best series you will ever read. ( )
  figre | May 31, 2010 |
It’s not often I delve into a short story collection. Why is it so many of them are depressing or just plain sad or pathetic? Woo-hoo! Fun! (Not.) So I might’ve skimmed about half of these. If there’s too much of a main character being pathetic... or characters doing drugs... or the main character is named Pranab or Sanjeet... I’m going to skim. But if some of the stories are little wacky or exciting or funny then I’ll give it a shot. This collection had about half in that scenario. Two were by George Saunders who I’ve always enjoyed. (I’ve read two collections of his short stories before. And without skimming.) One of these stories was really a recollection from Al Franken about entertaining troops in Iraq. That was both funny and interesting. Love him or hate him, his piece is good. And the story about people in a joke waiting around for the joke to actually be told was fun. Mm-hm. I guess I enjoy a short story if it’s off the beaten path of sad people and their pathetic lives. Cheer up! ( )
  woodge | Nov 20, 2009 |
This book of 24 short stories was only partially satisfying. I started it last year, and then set it down stuck on one of the last stories, and just now picked it up to finish it.

I guess I liked about half the stories. Some of the ones that still stir a memory definitely had an impact, but there were others that were just annoying.

The second story, The Death of Mustang Salvaje, was memorable, about a female bullfighter and her struggles with this eminently male sport.

Tiger Mending was short and sweet, as was Manifesto. Free Burgers for Life was interesting but annoying. A Lynching in Stereoscope was very good - two interwoven tales told in parallel.

The Lost Boys was an essay about polygamists in the west and what happens to the boys who are expelled from the groups to improve the ratio of old men to young girls.

Lastly I found the Myth of the Frequent Flier to be interesting, and also Diary of a Journal Reader.

The story that I got stuck on and just forced myself to pick up and finish was They Came Out Like Ants! It was about searching for tunnels where Chinese workers lived and hid in Mexicali. ( )
  LisaMorr | Nov 23, 2008 |
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» Add other authors

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Eggers, DaveEditorprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Alarcón, DanielContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Anthony, JessicaContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
BeckIntroductionsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Bender, AimeeContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Boudinot, RyanContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Chaon, DanContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Dermont, AmberContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Dickinson, StephanieContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Durkin, TishContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Elliott, StephenContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Franken, AlContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Gordinier, JeffContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Krautkramer, KateContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Lahiri, JhumpaContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Lapcharoensap, RattawutContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
McNett, MollyContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Nilsen, AndersContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Saunders, GeorgeContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Sayers, JoeContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Stevens, J. DavidContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Tel, JonathanContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Trevor, DouglasContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Vollmann, William T.Contributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Weedman, LaurenContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
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This LT work is for copies of The Best American Nonrequired Reading 2005 only. Please do not combine it with copies from other years, or with copies that cannot be distinguished by year. There are separate LT works for each year's edition. Thank you.
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0618570489, Paperback)

The Best American Series First, Best, and Best-Selling

The Best American series has been the premier annual showcase for the country's finest short fiction and nonfiction since 1915. For each volume, the very best pieces are selected by a leading writer in the field, making the Best American series the most respected--and most popular--of its kind.

The Best American Nonrequired Reading 2005 includes

Daniel Alarcón • Aimee Bender • Dan Chaon • Daniel Clowes • Tish Durkin • Stephen Elliott • Al Franken • Jhumpa Lahiri • Rattawut Lapcharoensap • Anders Nilsen • Georges Saunders • William T. Vollmann • and others

Dave Eggers, editor, is the author of A Heartbreaking Work of Staggering Genius, You Shall Know Our Velocity!, and How We Are Hungry, and the editor of McSweeney's. He is the founder of 826 Valencia, a San Francisco writing lab for young people.

Beck, guest introducer, whose single "Loser" was instantly labeled an anthem for the slacker generation, is also known for his Grammy Award-winning albums Odelay and Mutations.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:12:57 -0400)

(see all 2 descriptions)

Presents the finest literature from mainstream and alternative American periodicals, including both fiction and nonfiction dealing with a broad spectrum of subjects from magazines from the "New Yorker" and "Rolling Stone" to "Zoetrope."

(summary from another edition)

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