Reviews in 200 Words

The Best American Nonrequired Reading Ed. Dave Eggers

In Fiction, Nonfiction on February 10, 2011 at 3:49 am

Everything about nonrequired is pushing it; nonrequired isn’t even really a word–certainly it’s rebellious. And what we’re reading instead of doing something that we’re supposed to be doing, is very telling. The pieces here are important: more important than mainstream and mediocre. More important than breaking news and bestseller. This is back to the roots of writing: poetry for the sake of escape, reporting for the sake of understanding humanity, photography and graphics for the sake of translating the things that words cannot. Somehow, throughout these things that are so different, there is a common sense of drifting–searching, and moving, and rebelling. At the beginning of it all, David Sedaris questions poetry–wonders why we don’t all acknowledge its power; the rest of the collection questions writing and art in general–how is it that we don’t constantly realize how it’s saving our lives? We have more power than ever on the page: super power, magic power, healing power. Rules are broken here–color is put outside of the lines; and in the end, isn’t that what art is all about? The utter lack of requirement?

-Micah Ling


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