Thursday, February 22, 2007

Required Non-Required Reading

This week I've been visiting colleges with my younger daughter, a high school junior (yes, that does make me feel old - oldish anyway). We visited three schools in Connecticut and NYU in New York City. We lucked out and had a sunny and relatively warm late-winter day in Manhattan yesterday. It was fun walking around the city, eating at an Italian restaurant in Greenwich Village, and then attending an afternoon information session and a walking tour of NYU's city-integrated non-campus. We liked it a lot, though naturally there are pros and cons (including private school sticker shock: an estimated annual cost of $45,000).

Of course we visited the main bookstore, which was nice but not quite as big as I expected. Serendipity struck and I bought a book I hadn't seen before, The Best American Nonrequired Reading 2006, edited by Dave Eggers, with an introduction by Simpsons creator Matt Groening. What a great find! It's a collection of short stories, nonfiction pieces, unusual comics (including one called "Pyongyang: A Journey in North Korea" - yes, travel comics), blog excerpts, and even some lists. These include "Best American Fake Headlines" from The Onion, of which my favorites are "Evangelical scientists refute gravity with new 'Intelligent Falling' Theory" and "Philandering String Theorist Can Explain Everything"). A lot of it is very funny and irreverent, but some of the stories and nonfiction pieces as well as the excerpts from the blog A Soldier's Thoughts are very serious indeed. I've bought some other titles in the "Best American" series over the years, but I had never seen this one, which started in 2002. Now required!

No comments: