Friday Reading: The Best Magazine Essays of 2010

Best American Essays 2010 Table of Contents - Essay Daily

Which were, unfortunately, not quite met. The 2010 collection of "best" essays is not a complete failure. Many of the contributions are excellent, though there are few that I would classify as outstanding (Steven Pinker's "My Genome, Myself" is an honorable exception, though I had already read it twice - in the NY Times when it first appeared, and in the 2010 anthology of Best American Science Writing; James Woods's New Yorker piece on George Orwell, "A Fine Rage", also shines, as does Jane Churchon's exquisite "The Dead Book"). But there were many pieces that simply failed to take off, in that the reader could only observe the writer's passion for his subject, but was never moved to share it ("Brooklyn the Unknowable", "Rediscovering Central Asia", "Gettysburg Regress" all proved too soporific for me to finish). And I remain puzzled as to the reason for including the longest essay in the collection, a 24-page profile of former Washington DC mayor, Marion Barry, whose relevance in 2010 would appear to be non-existent. Retired ophthalmologist John Gamel's beautifully written piece "The Elegant Eyeball" was spoiled for me by being about a decade behind the times as far as available treatments were concerned. I thought Zadie Smith's recent essay collection was astonishing, but "Speaking in Tongues" is not the essay I would have singled out for inclusion here. Fans of David Sedaris will be more delighted than I was by inclusion of his piece "Guy Walks into a Bar Car", but my Sedaris-fatigue is well-documented, so your mileage may vary.

All of this shoptalk in “Best American Essays 2010” can seem a little self-referential, like one of those closed literary communities in which modern poets spend so much of their time writing about other poets.

No one interests us more than ourselves. It's true, I suppose. Writers, writing on writing, then, is my genre and perhaps yours, too. On occasion we're treated to a category killer anthology that captures the best work of the year entitled The Best American Essays. Edited for 2010 by Christopher Hitchens, over one-third of the book's selections are indeed writers, writing on writing. A literary feast for $14.95; what could be more American than that?

The Best American Essays, 2010, edited by Christopher Hitchens. Many of the essays can be found online:

In the end, these 21 essays "defy" rather than "define" the sometimes accused staid genre of the essay--writing that can be too dry and too full of argument. Popular culture thinks even less of the dreaded essay. To tell a student he or she must read one is akin to telling them they've been exposed to the flu -- you get the same turned up lip. But here I have to say, within Hitchens's choices of The Best American Essays 2010, no such trouble exists.

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It’s one of 21 essays reprinted in The Best American Essays 2010, an annual anthology of the finest essays written for American periodicals. Each selection, in its own way, aspires to the standard that Kramer credits Montaigne with setting centuries ago, offering readers “the autobiography of a mind.”

The Best American Essays 2010 by Robert Atwan — …

Dec 24, 2010 · Signs of economic recovery, David Brooks’s picks for the best essays of 2010 and other consumer-focused items from the last 24 hours.

Selected by guest editor Randall Kennedy, a leading intellectual and legal scholar, the wide-ranging pieces in Best African American Essays 2010 comprise a thrilling collection that anyone who wishes to understand the meaning of the new America must own.

The Best American Essays 2010 has 400 ratings and 60 reviews

Here is the superb second edition of the annual anthology devoted to the best nonfiction writing by African American authors—provocative works from an unprecedented and unforgettable year when truth was stranger (and more inspiring) than fiction.

The galvanizing election of Barack Obama was on the minds—and the pages—of authors everywhere. Best African American Essays 2010 features the insights of writers from Juan Williams to Kelefa Sanneh and even Obama himself (his seminal speech on race is included here in its entirety). Ta-Nehisi Coates, in The Nation, proclaims that the president has "redefined blackness for white America," while Adolph Reed, Jr., in The Progressive, calls him a "vacuous opportunist" and Colson Whitehead, in lightheartedly revels in the election of "someone who looked like me . . . slim." The First Lady is considered, too, as Lauren Collins, in The New Yorker, assesses the radical quality of Michelle Obama's very normalcy.

But Best African American Essays 2010 goes beyond the Obamas with brilliant pieces from such journals as The Washington Post and The Atlantic, in which Hua Hsu declares the end of white America in "a new cultural mainstream which prizes diversity above all else"; Henry Louis Gates researches his family tree, adding to the "young discipline" that is Africann American history; and Jelani Cobb dares to defend George W. Bush. There are thoughtful and heartfelt tributes to living legends, including Bill Cosby (and an analysis of his famous "pound cake" speech, which promoted black responsibility, empowerment, and self-esteem), and remembrances of those who have passed, including Miriam Makeba, Isaac Hayes, Eartha Kitt, and Michael Jackson.

Selected by guest editor Randall Kennedy, a leading intellectual and legal scholar, the wide-ranging pieces in Best African American Essays 2010 comprise a thrilling collection that anyone who wishes to understand the meaning of the new America must own.


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Nearly 100 Fantastic Pieces of Journalism - The Atlantic Throughout 2010, I kept my own running list of exceptional nonfiction for the Bestof Journalism newsletter I publish. The result is . A personal essay. What are your favorite non-fiction anthologies? - writing present out of the library and they were all fantastic. I've always liked The BestAmerican Essays series (along with the rest of The Best American Series). 100 Best Nonfiction Books of All Time | Books | The Guardian 100 best nonfiction books: No 69 – Essays by RW Emerson (1841). The Greatest Books: The Best Nonfiction Books - 1 to 50 articles Essays is the title given to a collection of 107 essays written by Michel de Best Nonfiction of 2012 | Kirkus Reviews Park, 2010, etc.) MAGIC HOURS: ESSAYS ON CREATORS AND CREATION. The Best American Essays 2010 by Robert Atwan — Reviews This collection was the first non-fiction collection that I've ever picked up. What I Recommended Books - Stanford University Crafting Great Nonfiction. essayist edits this collection and writes an introductory essay that reflects on the nature, purpose, and craft of the non-fictionessay. The 18 Best Nonfiction Books Of 2016 - BuzzFeed absolutely loved in 2016. (Ranked in no particular order.) 20 Non-fiction Writers Under 40 — New Haven Review greatest piece, she wrote about Toastmasters for The Believer. Notes from No Man's Land (2009) is a book of essays about race and racial Most recently, he published Witz (2010), a novel about an imagined future in Non-fiction | Jenkins' Spoiler-laden Blog on Isaac Asimov pretty much every book by the Good Doctor they could. With this (This is the main reason I included a blog when I redid the site starting in 2010.