11 October 2012

Best American Non-required Reading 2012

Getting back into the Best American Project groove.  I don't always read the Non-required collection.  Sometimes the pieces just don't resonate with me.  The 2012 volume - it has an introduction by Ray Bradbury.  Likely the last piece he finished before his death (he passed away two weeks after it was turned in).  So I had to buy it and read it.

This collection didn't seem as light-hearted as previous NR's that I read. The "Front Section" bits are usually more light-hearted, in my opinion, with funny Internet lists and in this collection many of them are about the Occupy Movement (manifestos, minutes, essays) or have an undercurrent of exasperation underneath them (Alexie, Diaz, Ragsdale).

The short-story/essay section is amazing. Just amazing. Short fiction from Louise Erdrich, Julie Otsuka (wow, just wow), and Jess Walter. Essays from Olivia Hamilton/Robin Levi/Ayelet Waldman (makes me mad), Jon Ronson (who knew there were actual people dressed up as superheroes?), John Jeremiah Sullivan, and Wesley Yang.

I got a little sniffy over the transcription of a eulogy given at Steve Jobs's funeral by his sister, Mona. And I'm not a Jobs acolyte - she said such beautiful things.

Finally, there was one essay that just grabbed me.  It was such a courageous act of memoir and confession.  Jose Antonio Vargas wrote "Outlaw", a short memoir detailing his life as an undocumented child immigrant, sent here by his mother to join his grandparents for the chance at a good education, and his decision to tell his story.  I hope Vargas gains his citizenship. If you need evidence why the Dream Act should be passed then you need to read this essay.

Current book-in-progress: The Best American Science and Nature Writing 2012
Current knitted item: Shrug - further along on the second sleeve!
Current movie obsession: The Avengers (is Joss Wheedon's commentary kinda obnoxious?)
Current iTunes loop: Imagine Dragons - again, love them

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