Invigorating creative nonfiction—short, but never slight—gathered by the co-editor of In Short and In Brief.
Seventy-seven authors contributed short essays (a few paragraphs to 2,000 words) on various subjects: a drowning in Tucson, hitchhiking, sounds, colors abandoned by the Crayola company, Mexican farm workers, small towns such as Murdo, South Dakota, a scarlet fever epidemic in 1944, an Armenian grandmother watching the Yankees, the Taj Mahal, fishing and sleeping in the woods, gay love in Amsterdam, ugly women, winter, trains, French lessons, the semi-colon, gray whales, jet lag, human cruelty, fatherhood, the ghetto girls' guide to dating and romance, and ritual meals. Themes range from American/Immigration/Settlers through Danger/Violence/Recklessness and Male Identity to War, Water, and Work/Jobs. Readers will encounter "some of the most exciting writers in present-day America." This collection is an excellent resource for young writers. Readers can tackle the essays in sequence or dip at random into this varied pool. As the author notes, "this collection speaks to a self-conscious American identity." Recommended to teachers of writing and their students. KLIATT Codes: SA*Exceptional book, recommended for senior high school students, advanced students, and adults. 2005, Norton, 399p., Ages 15 to adult.