Each year, high school students from San Francisco's 826 Valencia tutoring center gather their favorite pieces of that year's journalism, fiction, poetry, and graphica that they read outside of their assigned school curriculum. What follows is an eclectic and diverse collection of work that has been sought out by some of today's most inquisitive and independent young minds. I remember stumbling upon the series in 2001 when I was in high school and the quiet revolution it inspired in my reading habits. It's a great gift to any high school student ready to read out of bounds, but it's not just kids stuff; topics in this edition are equally compelling for adults, ranging from the history of museum dioramas to the Ferguson riots to stand-up comedy classes.
In a small but comfortable conference room, in a publishing house in San Francisco, a group of high school students met weekly over the past year to read literary magazines, chapbooks, graphic novels, and countless articles. They had some good times. There was a whiteboard in the conference room, and often cartoons were drawn on this whiteboard. The cartoons were of varying quality. By the end of the year, with the help of a similar committee of high school students in Ann Arbor, and their guest editor, Rachel Kushner, they selected the contents of this anthology. The Best American Nonrequired Reading 2016 features stories about Bulgarian spaceships, psychedelic mushroom therapy, and a cyclorama in Iowa. If you don’t know what a cyclorama is, you aren’t alone. Read on to find out.
The Best American Nonrequired Reading 2016 includes N. R. KLEINFIELD, ANNA KOVATCHEVA, DAN HOY, ANTHONY MARRA, MICHAEL POLLAN, MARILYNNE ROBINSON, DANA SPIOTTA, ADRIAN TOMINE, INARA VERZEMNIEKS and others
Rachel Kushner, guest editor, is the author of The Flamethrowers, which was a finalist for the 2013 National Book Award and one of the New York Times’s top five novels of 2013. Kushner’s debut novel, Telex from Cuba, was a finalist for the 2008 National Book Award, a winner of the California Book Award, and a New York Times bestseller and Notable Book.
About the Author
RACHEL KUSHNER is the author of The Flamethrowers, which was a finalist for the 2013 National Book Award, the 2014 Folio Prize, and the James Tait Black Prize, longlisted for the 2014 Baileys Women’s Prize for Fiction, and a New York Times Top Five Novel of 2013. Kushner’s debut novel, Telex from Cuba, was a finalist for the 2008 National Book Award and the Dayton Literary Peace Prize, winner of the California Book Award, and a New York Times bestseller and Notable Book.
826 NATIONAL is a family of seven nonprofit organizations dedicated to helping underserved students, ages six through eighteen, with their creative and expository writing skills. They're located in San Francisco.
“An eclectic collection chosen by a committee of San Francisco area high school students and brimming with wonderful short stories, journalism, interviews and poetry.”—TAMPA BAY TIMES
"A wealth of strong material makes The Best American Nonrequired Reading 2016 valuable reading."—POPMATTERS
"What they have given us is a gift.... One wonders how the world might be different if works in Best American Nonrequired Reading were indeed required." —USA TODAY
“A wide-ranging collection of civic-minded, literary, entertaining reads.” —BOOKLIST