08 October 2013
The Best American Essays 2013
Selected and introduced by Cheryl Strayed, the New York Times best-selling author of Wild and the writer of the celebrated column “Dear Sugar,” this collection is a treasure trove of fine writing and thought-provoking essays.
Cheryl Strayed is probably the best choice as this year's guest editor for the Best American Essays collection. Between Wild and Dear Sugar she's in just the right place to sift through the many essays published in the previous year. And this is a very readable collection. Each piece seemed to be chosen to showcase some aspect of personal growth or challenge and I really appreciate how her preferences went into her editorial process. Standout pieces include Alice Munro's "Night", Vanessa Veselka's "Highway of Lost Girls", and Zadie Smith's "Notes on Attunement". There was also the ultra-weird "Keeper of the Flame" - Matthew Vollmer gets some props for the research on that one because I don't think I could have stomached being in the same room with all that Nazi paraphernalia. Ick.