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The Best American Short Stories 2010 (The Best American Series (R)) Paperback – Bargain Price, September 28, 2010


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Product Details

  • Series: The Best American Series (R)
  • Paperback: 448 pages
  • Publisher: Mariner Books (September 28, 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0547055323
  • ASIN: B004H8GLVI
  • Product Dimensions: 8.2 x 5.4 x 1.1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (63 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #612,131 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Review

"A short fiction juggernaut." (Wall Street Journal )

About the Author

RICHARD RUSSO is the author of seven novels, a collection of short stories, and numerous screenplays.  He won the Pulitzer Prize for Empire Falls in 2002.
 


HEIDI PITLOR is a former senior editor at Houghton Mifflin Harcourt. Her fiction has been published in Ploughshares, and she is the author of the novel The Birthdays.

Customer Reviews

4.5 out of 5 stars
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See all 63 customer reviews
This is one of the best short story collections I have read.
Nate
Each story's author is profiled and has supplied a few words about their story - how they came about writing it or some other interesting insight about the story.
Mary Lins
I read them out of order and although I was reading another book at the time, I kept coming back to these short stories.
aidel

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

106 of 112 people found the following review helpful By Bonnie Brody TOP 500 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on September 29, 2010
Format: Paperback
The Best American Short Stories 2010 has been edited this year by Richard Russo. The collection contains a wide range of stories selected from some of the most well-known and most obscure magazines and anthologies. The stories, on the whole, are impressive and I was spellbound by many of them. Usually, in a collection of this sort, containing twenty stories, there will be five or less that really speak to me. In this anthology, there were nine.

In the foreword by series editor Heidi Pitlor, she speaks eloquently and poignantly about her belief that "it is indisputable that American literary journals are in danger". She encourages readers to "subscribe to one literary journal, either on paper or online. Buy a short story collection by a young author. We must support our smaller magazines if we are to support our talented new writers." The stories selected for this anthology were all written between January 2009 and January 2010 by American or Canadian authors. Pitlor narrowed her selection to 250 stories and Richard Russo selected the final twenty.

The stories take place in different parts of the world and in different eras. Some are serious and some are laugh out loud funny. What the best ones have in common is that they stop you in your tracks and make you think and feel deeply, long after you have finished reading the story.

My favorite story in this collection is All Boy by Lori Ostlund. Originally published in the New England Review, it is about a precocious, effeminate boy who is a voracious reader. His mother can't see him for who he is and describes him as `all boy' to the other mothers in his school. Harold, eleven years old, is very lonely and has no friends.
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49 of 53 people found the following review helpful By Kreestan on September 30, 2010
Format: Paperback
I am often disappointed by this yearly anthology. I love short fiction, but the pieces selected for Best American tend to be too self-aware and too literary for my taste. The 2010 collection has exceeded my expectations by presenting stories which are, for the most part, vibrant and engaging and without the distractions of heavy-handed philosophy and stylistic tricks.
Richard Russo mentions in his introduction that he once heard Isaac Bashevis Singer say that the purpose of literature is to entertain and to instruct. Generally, the stories in this year's collection fulfill that purpose. I picked up the book to read one story at a time, and more often than not I walked away satisfied by what I had just read. There was very little "let me just muse and ramble about some vague, under-developed philosophical symbol for 20 pages," but a whole lot of STORY. It was deeply refreshing. Even the stories I didn't particularly care for didn't go so far as to feel like a waste of my time.

I didn't expect to enjoy Lauren Groff's "Delicate Edible Birds" when I started it, but it hooked me halfway through and didn't let go. It was creepy and thrilling.

Joshua Ferris has real talent and though I can't say I loved "The Valetudinarian," I am in love with his writing.

Steve Almond's "Donkey Greedy, Donkey Gets Punched" was the first story in the book; it reminded me of Roald Dahl, my favorite writer, and that made me happy.

The forewords of these anthologies always depress me -- short fiction is dying, etc. etc. I'm relieved to see that the collection itself suggests the opposite.
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18 of 20 people found the following review helpful By S. Finefrock VINE VOICE on November 18, 2010
Format: Paperback Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
I have long been a fan of this series of short story collections. Some years, of course are better than others, but all in all the quality level remains very high. This year's version is especially a treat, as its guest editor is Richard Russo, who is one of my favorite authors.

I usually enjoy short story collections by reading them bit by bit, between tasks, when travelling, or when tackling a hefty book just seems too daunting. I will often return to stories that made an impression after the first reading from time to time, kind of like looking at a photograph or listening to a CD. This edition is full of candidates for future review. It's a wide variety of styles and subjects that read well as individual pieces, but also seems to have a good flow when reading cover to cover. The stories take place in numerous locals and include people from across the human spectrum.

In his forward, Russo talks about a reading given by esteemed author Isaac Singer, in which someone from the audience inquired what defines great writing. Singer replied, the good writing entertains and informs. That idea sums up most of the stories in this collection. They pull you in and engage you, then teach you something about life and about yourself.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Nate on May 31, 2011
Format: Paperback
This is one of the best short story collections I have read. I had high hopes for Richard Russo's take on the best American short stories of the year, and I was not disappointed. There were only one or two stories that I had a problem with finishing ("The Netherlands Lives With Water" by Jim Shepard and "Raw Water" by Wells Tower, both originally published in McSweeney's oddly), but this collection is pretty excellent throughout.

My favorite stories:

"Safari" by Jennifer Egan, involves a multitude of characters on a family safari in Africa. The work this story came from, "A Visit From The Goon Squad", won the Pulitzer Prize for Fiction.

"The Valetudinarian" by Joshua Ferris, a terrific and weird sort of comedy focusing on a dying old man in Florida who is given a hooker for his birthday.

"My Last Attempt to Explain What Happened to the Lion Tamer" by Brendan Matthews, a very funny and depreciating story about a lovesick clown explaining his feelings and attitude toward the muscular lion tamer to the new trapeze artist.

"All Boy" by Lori Ostlund, revolves around a young boy who is basically frightened of the world, from his weightlifting father to his babysitter who locked him in the closet.

"The Cowboy Tango" by Maggie Shipstead, a ranch owner falls in love with his female ranch hand, but their relationship is eventually shattered by his awkwardness.
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