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The Best American Nonrequired Reading 2012 Paperback – October 2, 2012


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Editorial Reviews

From Booklist

This quirky collection of fiction and nonfiction shorts, chosen annually by high-school students in California and Michigan, is part of the prestigious Best American series. Mentored by Eggers (McSweeney’s, A Hologram for the King, 2012), the voluntary, extracurricular Best American Nonrequired Reading committee, comprised of bright young minds from dozens of different high schools, meets regularly to read, debate, and compile the country’s best fiction, journalism, essays, comics, tweets, letters, humor pieces, and so on for inclusion in this eclectic anthology. The 2012 edition boasts an introduction written shortly before his death by the legendary Ray Bradbury and cover art by Caldecott-winning author-illustrator Brian Selznick (The Invention of Hugo Cabret, 2007). A veritable time capsule of the past year, this mostly winning edition includes nonfiction ruminations from the front lines of the Occupy movement as well as a transcript of the eulogy written by the sister of Steve Jobs. Fiction contributors include George Saunders and Julie Otsuka. Proceeds from the book benefit youth literacy via 826 National, a network of eight youth tutoring, writing, and publishing centers in eight cities across the country. --Chris Keech

Review

"If you need to fall in love with reading again–or just want a reminder that high school students deserve a lot more than their reading lists give them–then THE BEST AMERICAN NONREQUIRED READING 2012 is the book for you."
-Bust
 
"As a devoted fan of this series (this is the 11th volume), I can report that this year's anthology of 32 selections might be the best yet."
-Elizabeth Taylor, Chicago Tribune
 
An eclectic annual that will leave readers marveling over many of the discoveries...category-defying... All readers will find their own favorites that justify the collection as a whole.”
-Kirkus Reviews
 
"Lively, eclectic and surprising..."
-Minneapolis Star Tribune
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Product Details

  • Series: Best American
  • Paperback: 432 pages
  • Publisher: Mariner Books; 1 edition (October 2, 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0547595964
  • ISBN-13: 978-0547595962
  • Product Dimensions: 5.5 x 1 x 8.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 15.2 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (36 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #177,269 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

3.5 out of 5 stars

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

60 of 67 people found the following review helpful By Nick on October 31, 2012
Format: Paperback
I'm a big fan of this series, but this year's edition was a bit of a let down. Although the non-fiction articles were consistently good (with Jon Ronson's article on "Phoenix Jones" being the highlight), the other elements of the book were rather uneven.

While the 'Best American Front Section' which starts this series is normally entertaining, this year's was boring as it was dominated by material related to the occupy movement; I enjoyed the weird excerpts from the minutes of the General Assembly of Occupy Wall Street though. Some of the short stories were entertaining (particularly Judy Budnitz's 'Tin Man'), but most were over-written and failed to ring true ('The Street of the House of the Sun' by Michael Poore was particularly bad). The graphic short story on "Hortisculpture" was lengthy and dull, and I gave up on it half way though.

All up, while the high standard of the non-fiction articles and some of the short stories make this a worthwhile purchase, it hasn't maintained the excellent standard set by previous editions.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By robert johnston on March 11, 2013
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
Compared to past editions, this one is a mixed bag. The inclusions this year are just not that entertaining. I have to wonder if my interests have changed or did the editorial selecting group change? I don’t know. The past renditions were 4-5 star. This one gets 3.
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20 of 28 people found the following review helpful By Longtime reader on November 24, 2012
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
What a wonderful, diverse collection of stories and snips. Really worth a read. The only issue I had was that the illustrative works and comics really could not be read on the kindle. The font was too small
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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Ned Ludd on February 10, 2013
Format: Paperback
I've read every edition of this series. At first, they showed the great promise for a clever idea - get well-crafted, witty writing that many people simply missed out on into their hands in one convenient volume. The last three years, however, I've had to force myself to read it. Last year's was bad; this year's was abysmal. Louise Erdrich!? Please. I agree with other reviewers that the Occupy front piece showed a serious lack of editorial control. Simply put, don't bother. I know I never will again.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Dan on March 29, 2013
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
Not that interesting. Like reading old news.The stories may have been more relevant when they were first written.I lost interest pretty quickly.
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4 of 6 people found the following review helpful By Analytical Consumer on March 17, 2013
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
Poor selections, poorly written. If this is the best American non-required reading, the country is in more danger than I thought. On a trip to New Zealand, this could not hold my attention for any length of time; the works on Occupy Wall Street were absolutely awful. The price was cheap so nothing really lost except for my time which could have been used to read more engaging and enlightening material.
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By jpopat on March 6, 2013
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
I could not read the comic strips as I have an old Kindle reader and didn't want to go through the numerous steps to change the print size. Besides that, the most of the stories were interesting and varied. I'm not much of a short story reader but I enjoyed this.
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By C. Wilsted on September 23, 2014
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
the best? pretty sad if this is the best. The Phoenix Jones short is a good read but the rest is fairly basic stuff you could find on your average blog. Also as many classrooms require this series, the name becomes a little ironic.
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