Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Best of the Best of the Best of...

Every year, come about this time, a new crop of "The Best of --" anthologies arrive. I remember when "The Best American Short Stories" started all this, back in the late Seventies. Since then, the selection of "The Best of --" has grown to include a great variety of writing. Each has, besides a "Series Editor" who oversees the selection process, a new guest editor each year who makes a final selection and writes an introduction. (This year's guest editor of "The Best American Short Stories" is Salman Rushdie!) Every year I collect the latest volume of stories and "The Best American Essays,"in hardcover, though the paperbacks are the more popular format. Herewith some, but by no means all, of the 2008 batch:

The Best American Science and Nature Writing, edited this year by Jerome Groopman, M. D., of Harvard Medical School and The New Yorker.

The Best American Comics, edited this year by the delightful Lynda Barry.

The Best American Travel Writing, edited by a personal hero of mine, that glorious gut with an attitude, Anthony Bourdain.

The Best American Spiritual Writing, with an introduction this year by Jimmy Carter.

The Best Buddhist Writing, comes from Melvin McLeod and the editors of the Shambhala Sun.

Dave Eggers, for the more irreverent reader, created The Best American Non Required Reading, this year with an introduction by Judy Blume.

There are also 2008 editions on Food Writing, Mystery Stories, True Crime Reporting...

Something, quite literally, for everyone.

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