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The Best American Essays 2013 Paperback – October 8, 2013
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Strayed, whose best-selling memoir, Wild (2011), was the inaugural title for Oprah’s Book Club 2.0, and whose popular “Dear Sugar” advice columns have been collected in Tiny Beautiful Things (2012), takes the helm of this vibrant annual. In her introduction, she attests to the power source of this flexible literary form: “Behind every good essay there’s an author with a savage desire to know more about what is already known.” Her 26 engrossing selections begin with Poe Ballantine’s potent “Free Rent at the Totalitarian Hotel,” a tale about his struggles to get by in California during the 1987 stock market crash. In “The Exhibit Will Be So Marked,” Ander Monson comes to some surprising conclusions as he considers mixtapes versus mix CDs, the lives and deaths of trees, and the mysterious Paulding Light in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula. Charles Baxter recounts a harrowing limo accident, and Megan Stielstra evokes a blizzard of emotions in her distilled drama of postpartum depression. Also including essays by Alice Munro, Walter Kirn, Zadie Smith, and Dagoberto Gilb, Strayed does this sterling series proud. --Donna Seaman
About the Author
Cheryl Strayed is the author of #1 New York Times bestseller Wild, the New York Times bestseller Tiny Beautiful Things, and the novel Torch. Wild was chosen by Oprah Winfrey as her first selection for Oprah's Book Club 2.0 and optioned for film by Reese Witherspoon's production company, Pacific Standard. Wild was selected as the winner of the Barnes & Noble Discover Award and also received an Indie Choice Award, an Oregon Book Award, a Pacific Northwest Booksellers Award, and a Midwest Booksellers Choice Award. Strayed's writing has appeared in The Best American Essays, the New York Times Magazine, the Washington Post Magazine, Vogue, Allure, The Missouri Review, The Sun, The Rumpus--where she has written the popular "Dear Sugar" column since 2010--and elsewhere. Her books have been translated into twenty-eight languages around the world. She holds an MFA in fiction writing from Syracuse University and a bachelor’s degree from the University of Minnesota. She lives in Portland, Oregon with her husband and their two children.
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The first essay, "Free Rent at the Totalitarian Hotel" by Poe Ballantine, is at once touching, shocking, and poignant.
Alice Munro's "Night" elicits great sympathy for a family caught up in a struggle to acquire their own farm under the supervision of a father who is a bit paranoid and eccentric.
"Sometimes a Romantic Notion," by Richard Schmitt explores the lure of the circus and the propensity to refer to joining the circus, as "running away to join the circus," as if it were a foregone conclusion that just anyone can join the circus.
Vanessa Veselka's "Highway of Lost Girls" deals with vulnerable runaway teenagers hitching rides at truck stops and the terrible things that sometimes happen to them. Ms. Veselka speaks from experience.
I'm looking forward to hearing the rest of the essays. I certainly recommend the book based on the essays we have read.
Most recent customer reviews
Clearly I'm behind in my reading since this is from 2013, though I will admit that it's...Read more