Da Bestest

25 Oct
The ----Short Stories of 1917

The —-Short Stories of 1917

If you can,as I must, set aside the meaningless superlative ‘best, then you will welcome this season of anthologies that affix “BEST” to their annual offerings.Houghton Mifflin (now additionally Houghton Mifflin Harcourt) has been in the best annual anthology game for almost 100 years, first publishing a story annual in 1915. It was the solitary title under that rubric until the 1980’s when an annual essay collection was added, under the guidance of Robert Atwan. I can’t remember when they went crazy but as you can see below they have certainly expanded the product line (at one time there was also a recipe annual as well as one for religious writing Personally, I still wonder why there is no novella anthology).

The ----American Short Stories 2013, edited by Elizabeth Strout

The —-American Short Stories 2013, edited by Elizabeth Strout

Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, known as HMH, since there is a contemporary mandate (or inclination?) to abbreviate everything (and then some)in recent years has added a guest editor in addition to a series editor (Heidi Pitlor)who reads approximately 400-500 entries to its annuals. Despite the seemingly fragile status of short fiction (in the eyes of publishers) HMH’s American Short Story Annual still reigns supreme. For the 2013 annual the inimitable Elizabeth Strout oversees the final 20 odd selections that make the cut from series editor Heidi Pitlor’s incredibly long list. You will find stories by a stellar cast of literary masters such as

DANIEL ALARCON
CHARLES BAXTER
JUNOT DIAZ
BRET ANTHONY JOHNSTON
STEVEN MILLHAUSER
LORRIE MOORE
ALICE MUNRO
ANTONYA NELSON
GEORGE SAUNDERS
JIM SHEPARD
ELIZABETH TALLENT
JOAN WICKERSHAM

As well as some up and comers

The B–t American Essays 2013 by Robert Atwan and Cheryl Strayed

The B–t American Science and Nature Writing 2013 by Siddhartha Mukherjee and Tim Folger

The B–t American Nonrequired Reading 2013 Paperback by Dave Eggers

The B–t American Comics 2013 by Jeff Smith, Jessica Abel and Matt Madden

The B–t American Mystery Stories 2013 by Lisa Scottoline and Otto Penzler

The B–t American Sports Writing 2013 by Glenn Stout and J. R. Moehringer

The B–t American Infographics 2013 by Gareth Cook and David Byrne (Introduction)

The B–t American Travel Writing 2013 by Jason Wilson and Elizabeth Gilbert

The B--t American Magazine Writing Edited by Sid Holt

The B–t American Magazine Writing Edited by Sid Holt

Apparently one publishing house has not cornered the market on superlatively entitled anthologies. There is B–t American Magazine Writing 2013 Edited by Sid Holt for The American Society of Magazine Editors (Columbia University Press)which is a useful and hefty (500 plusd pages)collection of reportage and essay that includes Pamela Colloff, Dexter Filkins, Chris Jones, Charles C. Mann and Roger Angell and much more.

B--t European Fiction 2014 edited by Alexandr Hemon

B–t European Fiction 2014
edited by Alexandr Hemon

A few years ago (2010?) Dalkey Archive had the brilliant idea to spotlight European short fiction collected under the direction of the well-regarded Alexandr Hemon. For some reason that escapes me B–t European Fiction 2014 Preface by Drago Jancar (DAlkey Archive) is already available. With a plethora of mostly (of course) unfamiliar names (which is the point. You can find the line up here

2013 poetry

I leave it to you to figure out why the early champion of literary annuals disregarded poetry but thankfully one did thus we have The B–t American Poetry 2013by David Lehman (Scribner). This year’s lineup features John Ashbery, Louise Gluck, James Tate, and Richard Wilbur, Sherman Alexie, Nin Andrews, Anna Maria Hong, Timothy Donnelly, Mary Ruefle, and Major Jackson.

From Black Sox to Three-Peats by EDITED BY RON RAPOPORT

From Black Sox to Three-Peats by EDITED BY RON RAPOPORT

Being a once and eternal Chicagoan and a sports zombie (how else to explain my hatred for football though I still watch the games?), I naturally gravitated to this special compendium,From Black Sox to Three-Peats: A Century of Chicago’s B–t Sportswriting from the “Tribune,” “Sun-Times,” and Other Newspapers edited by Ron Rapoport(University of Chicago Press). I especially liked the section entitled “Any Team Can have a Bad Century.” You can find the rest of the contents here.

The O. Henry Prize Stories 2013  edited by Laura Furman

The O. Henry Prize Stories 2013 edited by Laura Furman

No respectable assemblage of annuals can be, well uh, respectable with out noting two more yearly anthologies.The O Henry Prize which originated in 1919 included a publication which exists to this day The O. Henry Prize Stories 2013: edited by Laura Furman (Anchor) and juried by Lauren Groff Edith Pearlman, Jim Shepard includes short fiction by Donald Antrim, Andrea Barrett, Ann Beattie, Deborah Eisenberg, Ruth Prawer Jhabvala, Kelly Link, Alice Munro, and Lily Tuck and a dozen other pieces.

The Pushcart Prize XXXVII: B--t of the Small Presses (2013 Edition) edited by Bill Henderson

The Pushcart Prize XXXVII: B–t of the Small Presses (2013 Edition) edited by Bill Henderson

The Pushcart Prize was initiated in 1976 to recognize poetry, short fiction, essays or literary whatnot published the wonderful small journals that populate the literary landscape The Pushcart Prize XXXVII: B–t of the Small Presses (2013 Edition)edited Bill Henderson (Pushcart) .

Currently reading The Orenda by Joseph Boyden (Knopf)

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