Finished August 19
The Best American Essays 2013, edited by Cheryl Strayed, series editor Robert Atwan
This collection of essays has a great variety of topics, and writers from young to old. This year's selection was chosen by Cheryl Strayed from the selections given her by series editor Robert Atwan. The essays were previously published in a variety of literary magazines, both those well-known like The New Yorker, and those less heard of like River Teeth. So this selection highlights not only the writers, but also the magazines that first accepted the pieces included here. This volume includes a Foreword by the series editor, Atwan which tells of how he came to this, but also talks about the sources for the essays, and the selection process. Then we have an introduction by Strayed, which talks of her essay experiences and her selection process. A list of the long list that the twenty-six included here was whittled down from is included at the back of the book, for those who want to read more great essays.
The writers here run from those whose names are familiar, i.e. Alice Munro and Zadie Smith, to those lesser known like Michelle Mirsky and Jon Kerstetter. The topics range from experiences with landlords and fellow tenants to war triage to race to car accidents.
Besides being reflections of real experiences, the other things they all have in common is good writing. Really good writing. After reading a collection like this, I always think that I should read more essays as I enjoy them so much.