The Best American Nonrequired Reading 2017

Editor: Sarah Vowell (introduction) Type: Fiction, non-fiction, short stories, essays, comics, poetry, memoir Published: 2017 I read it: November 2017 If 2016 was the volume that felt like a last big inhale before American politics crashed down at the end of that year, then this year’s BANR collection is the painful exhale, reading like a…

Guns

Author: Stephen King Type: Non-fiction, essay (Kindle single) Published: 2013 I read it: August 2017 (re-read) Throughout my re-reading adventure of The Dark Tower series, I kept thinking back to this essay that Stephen King released in the spring following the Sandy Hook school shooting in Newtown, Connecticut. I had remembered that part of King’s goal…

The Best American Nonrequired Reading 2003

Author: Dave Eggers (series editor), Zadie Smith (introduction) Type: Fiction, non-fiction, short stories, essays, comics, humor (anthology) Published: 2003 I read it: May 2017 2003. The first year of the Iraq war. The release year of a bunch of my favorite albums before I turned more noticeably into new tastes. A full decade before my first…

A Pen Warmed-Up in Hell

Author: Mark Twain Editor: Frederick Anderson Type: Non-fiction, essays Full title: A Pen Warmed-Up in Hell: Mark Twain in Protest Published: 1870-1907 (original essays); 1979 (this collection) I read it: December 2016 In the Introduction, editor Frederick Anderson offers nuggets of Twain outtakes that set the tone for the book. And even in these earliest…

Headstrong

Author: Rachel Swaby Type: Non-fiction, essays Full title: Headstrong: 52 Women Who Changed Science—and the World Published: 2015 I read it: December 2016 Rachel Swaby opens her book by telling about her inspiration for it—the obituary of Yvonne Brill. Published in 2013, the article started off listing Brill’s success as a mother and wife, as…

The Good Men Project

Editors: James Houghton, Larry Bean, and Tom Matlack Type: Non-fiction, essays Full title: The Good Men Project: Real Stories from the Front Lines of Modern Manhood Published: 2009 I read it: December 2015 I knew this book was a right place, right time scenario for me when the opening story was set in the city…