The Best American Nonrequired Reading series is a great collection of writings across genres (poetry, fiction, non-fiction). Each year you never know what you’ll get, but it always contains a bunch of great pieces. So far the collection has been edited by Dave Eggers. The pieces are picked by the students in his 826 program, a non-profit that aims to help kids improve writing skills and help teachers learn ways to inspire their students to love writing. So it’s always a fun read, if nothing other than to see what the youth of America find moving and engrossing these days!
This particular year I was drawn most to the non-fiction articles. One about the current state of affairs in Cuba. Another about a young man who finds out he was kidnapped in the Guatemalan genocide and realizes his family is not his real family. There were a lot of great fiction stories as well. One of my favorites being “The Intrusion’, because I love a good dose of creepy! Overall I think this collection had a more global bent than previous years, taking us to Latin America, eastern Europe and India. It’s always fun to experience different cultures, even if only a little, through reading.
I’m curious to see how 2014 will go. There will be a new editor and I’m wondering if the writings will be selected in the same way, since that’s a big part of why I find these collections so fun and interesting!