The Best American Short Stories 2012 [NOOK Book]

Overview

The Best American Series®
First, Best, and Best-Selling

The Best American series is the premier annual showcase for the country’s finest short fiction and nonfiction. Each volume’s series editor selects notable works from hundreds of magazines, journals, and websites. A special guest editor, a leading ...

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The Best American Short Stories 2012

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Overview

The Best American Series®
First, Best, and Best-Selling

The Best American series is the premier annual showcase for the country’s finest short fiction and nonfiction. Each volume’s series editor selects notable works from hundreds of magazines, journals, and websites. A special guest editor, a leading writer in the field, then chooses the best twenty or so pieces to publish. This unique system has made the Best American series the most respected — and most popular — of its kind.

The Best American Short Stories 2012 includes

Nathan Englander, Mary Gaitskill, Roxane Gay, Jennifer Haigh,
Steven Millhauser, Alice Munro, Lawrence Osborne, Eric Puchner,
George Saunders, Kate Walbert, and others

 

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Editorial Reviews

From Barnes & Noble

Since 1978, Houghton Mifflin Harcourt's Best American Short Stories annuals have been sharing the crème de la crème of U.S. short fiction. Each year, its guest editors mine hundreds of magazines and websites to find the most notable selections. This year's roster of authors includes Alice Munro, Mary Gaitskill, Steven Millhauser, Jennifer Haigh, George Saunders, Nathan Englander, Roxane Gay, Lawrence Osborne, Kate Walbert, and Eric Puchner. A trade paperback and NOOK Book original; a trustworthy choice.

From the Publisher

"The best short storiees are small only when measured by the number of pages. Editor Tom Perrotta, best known for his novels Election and Little Children assembles a stellar collection of 20 stories that create their own worlds in 20 pages or less."
-USA TODAY
Kirkus Reviews
A typically strong selection, though this year's offerings are less international in setting and more often realistic than in some recent years. As a popular novelist with a creative writing, graduate school pedigree, Perrotta (Little Children, 2004, etc.) proclaims his preference for "stories written in plain, artful language about ordinary people. I'm wary of narrative experiments and excessive stylistic virtuosity, suspicious of writing that feels exclusive or elitist." Thus, he has applied those principles to his selections in serving as this year's editor. In addition to the stories themselves, one of the highlights of the annual is the explanation by each writer of the genesis of the selected story, and it's interesting how so many of these had an autobiographical seed and are filled with detail rooted in the writer's experience. Not that any of these stories is straight memoir, but one of the most powerful, "Diem Perdidi" by Julie Otsuka, elicits this explanation from its award-winning author: "Writing it, I suppose, was my way of keeping my mother with me in the world, a way of being with her even as she was slipping away," and such context deepens the resonance of a formally inspired narrative in which most of the sentences begin "She remembers..." and the main other character, whom the protagonist doesn't necessarily remember, is "you." Writes Otsuka, "She remembers that she is forgetting. She remembers less and less every day." The anthology mixes selections from perennials such as Alice Munro (who could well be "the single writer who looms over this year's collection--over the art of the short story as it's practiced in America right now," according to Perrotta), Nathan Englander, Mary Gaitskill and George Saunders (the most experimental of the lot), with others who have yet to become as well-known and are published in smaller literary magazines. A selection that should please readers who love the traditional pleasures of storytelling, through voices that are thoroughly contemporary.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780547377186
  • Publisher: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt
  • Publication date: 10/2/2012
  • Series: Best American Short Stories Series
  • Sold by: Barnes & Noble
  • Format: eBook
  • Pages: 384
  • Sales rank: 153,181
  • File size: 562 KB

Meet the Author

Tom Perrotta

TOM PERROTTA is the author of six works of fiction, most recently The Leftovers, published to wide acclaim in September 2011.  His novels Election and Little Children were made into award-winning movies.
HEIDI PITLOR is a former senior editor at Houghton Mifflin Harcourt and has been the series editor for The Best American Short Stories since 2007. She is the author of The Birthdays and a forthcoming novel titled The Daylight Marriage.

Biography

That Tom Perrotta struggled into his early 30s to find success should come as no surprise to fans of his work. A Yale grad, Perrotta studied writing under Thomas Berger and Tobias Wolff before moving on to teach creative writing at Yale and Harvard. It was during this period that he began work on the stories that would comprise his first release, Bad Haircut. He had finished two more novels (including Election, which would prove to be his breakthrough book) before Bad Haircut was finally picked up by a publisher in 1994.

It wasn't until a chance introduction with a screenwriter that Perrotta finally moved into the public eye. The result of that encounter was the publication of Election (1998), which was made into the much-beloved film starring Matthew Broderick and Reese Witherspoon. At last, Perrotta was able to call himself a working novelist.

The theme of ordinary people trapped in lives they never imagined runs throughout Perrotta's novels. Success for his characters is always just out of reach, and the world is always just outside of their control. Characters that seem destined for success serve as foils to the true protagonists, constant reminders of the unfairness of life.

Which is not to say that Perrotta's novels are depressing. On the contrary, his razor-sharp observations of the human condition are often side-splittingly funny, and the compassion he exhibits in his writing makes even the most ostensibly unlikable characters sympathetic. Perotta does not create caricatures; his novels work because he has a basic understanding that life is complex, and everyone has a story if you take the time to listen.

Good To Know

Some fun factoids from our interview with Perrotta:

"My mother is Albanian."

"I don't eat eggs."

"My dog lived to the ripe old age of 18."

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    1. Hometown:
      Belmont, Massachusetts
    1. Date of Birth:
      August 13, 1961
    2. Place of Birth:
      Summit, New Jersey
    1. Education:
      B.A. in English, Yale University, 1983; M.A. in English/Creative Writing, Syracuse University, 1988
    2. Website:

Customer Reviews

Average Rating 3
( 13 )
Rating Distribution

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(3)

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Sort by: Showing all of 13 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted January 1, 2013

    Creative authors

    Interesting stories, a little wacky but I liked them all.

    4 out of 4 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted January 20, 2013

    Not every story will be your favorite but at the end you be glad

    Not every story will be your favorite but at the end you be glad you read them. Something for everyone along the way.

    3 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted March 29, 2013

    more from this reviewer

    A fine compilation

    Due partially to e-publishing, the short stort is re-gaining its place of prestige and this compilation is a great way to read some of the best stories by some of the most talented writers in the country.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted November 3, 2012

    very disappointed...i will return to re-reading the classics, if this is the best our modern writers can do.

    a waste of my time :(

    1 out of 9 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted October 2, 2012

    Balls

    1 out of 12 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted January 6, 2014

    While the stories may have been written well, I found the actual

    While the stories may have been written well, I found the actual stories these authors were trying to tell to be uninteresting and in many cases boring.  It was often a struggle to get through them.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted January 15, 2013

    wow - so dissapointing

    not sure how many i need to read to conclude this book isn't worth it but i'm now 0-3 with each story becoming progressively worse. This is why i hate buying books electronically.

    0 out of 6 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted September 30, 2013

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted February 18, 2013

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted March 29, 2013

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted February 1, 2013

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted February 19, 2013

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted November 7, 2012

    No text was provided for this review.

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