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1. Zeitoun (Vintage)
2. The Wild Things (Vintage)
3. You Shall Know Our Velocity
4. What Is the What (Vintage)
5. A Heartbreaking Work of Staggering
6. How We Are Hungry
8. The Wild Things (Hardcover)
9. Teachers Have It Easy: The Big
10. The Best American Nonrequired
11. The Best American Nonrequired
12. One Hundred and Forty Five Stories
13. The Best American Nonrequired
14. It Is Right to Draw Their Fur:
15. You Shall Know Our Velocity
16. Jokes Told in Heaven About Babies
17. The Best American Nonrequired
18. Created in Darkness by Troubled
19. by Dave Eggers Zeitoun First Edition,
20. McSweeney's Issue 21 (Mcsweeney's

1. Zeitoun (Vintage)
by Dave Eggers
Paperback: 368 Pages (2010-06-15)
list price: US$15.95 -- used & new: US$5.99
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0307387941
Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars
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Editorial Review

Product Description
National Bestseller 

A New York Times Notable Book
An O, The Oprah Magazine Terrific Read of the Year
A Huffington Post Best Book of the Year
A New Yorker Favorite Book of the Year
A Chicago Tribune Favorite Nonfiction Book of the Year
A Kansas City Star Best Book of the Year
A San Francisco Chronicle Best Book of the Year
An Entertainment Weekly Best Book of the Decade

The true story of one family, caught between America’s two biggest policy disasters: the war on terror and the response to Hurricane Katrina.
Abdulrahman and Kathy Zeitoun run a house-painting business in New Orleans. In August of 2005, as Hurricane Katrina approaches, Kathy evacuates with their four young children, leaving Zeitoun to watch over the business. In the days following the storm he travels the city by canoe, feeding abandoned animals and helping elderly neighbors. Then, on September 6th, police officers armed with M-16s arrest Zeitoun in his home. Told with eloquence and compassion, Zeitoun is a riveting account of one family’s unthinkable struggle with forces beyond wind and water. ... Read more

Customer Reviews (174)

4-0 out of 5 stars One man's heroic and horiffic tale in the aftermath of a hurricane
One man's fascinating story about Hurricane Katrina's devistating aftermath on the city and the people of New Orleans.

5-0 out of 5 stars Compelling and Outrageous
My husband and I listened to the audio book of this compelling read on the road from Iowa to Virginia.This story is so good that the time just flew!To think that the outrageous treatment of the hero, Zeitoun, happened in The United States of America!I was thoroughly entranced with the descriptions of the city of New Orleans after Hurricane Katrina.The citizens truly were on their own for many many days.It was just a fascinating story!If you get on YouTube after you read it, you can see Zeitoun and his wife being interviewed.It was interesting to see what they really look like.

1-0 out of 5 stars Arab/Muslim/Islam fatigue
One star only. Zeitoun (the book) was a gift intended I suppose to enrage and then to inspire.It failed.The dismal response by those charged with responding to the Katrina calamity was well documented before Zeitoun and I as with most everyone else am duly enraged without need for further provocation.Zeitoun's calculated election to stay behind in the face of warnings (including those from his ship captain brother in Spain)and further in violation of mandatory evacuation orders is merely one more example of mankind's stubborn stupidity challenging the forces of nature.So we challenge the forces of nature, get smacked in the process, and then decry the failure of others to bail us out.The repetitious references to 5X daily prayer, cleansing with dirt in lieu of something cleaner, I don't know - it strikes me as ludicrous in the extreme.Admittedly, although programmed as a Christian, I abandoned childhood programming adopting non-believe status and therefore find all of this religious ritual behavior, including mandated wearing apparel, impossible to understand - particularly when ritual gets in the way of a productive response.So - Zeitoun like most of us is ahard working person with a loving family.He should have evacuated but didn't by choice.He landed in a land of anarchy which is often the condition where government has failed.Thomas Hobbes in the state of war (anarchy): ". . . the life of man, solitary, poor, nasty, brutish and short."
Surprise.Zeitoun (the book) es no muy bueno.

4-0 out of 5 stars Katrina as a Terrorism Parable Reflected Vividly by One Man's Devastating Experience
I was eager to read David Eggers' non-fiction account after coming back from New Orleans last month on the fifth anniversary of Hurricane Katrina. Taking a bus tour through the Lower Ninth Ward, I saw still-overlooked evidence of the devastation as well as some of the more palpable recovery efforts like Brad Pitt's Make It Right foundation. The author is a San Francisco-based writer and publisher who owns a unique combination literacy project and kid-oriented pirate store in the Mission called 826 Valencia, and co-wrote with his wife Vendela Veda, 2009's Away We Go. He was apparently so fascinated by the story of Abdulrahman Zeitoun, the Syrian-American owner of a painting and contracting company in New Orleans, that he convinced the family that he could write an expanded treatment of their traumatizing experience through the costliest natural disaster in American history.

It's a compelling story of how the title character chose to ride out the hurricane in his Uptown home, miraculously survived it, and then rowed through the flooded area in a used canoe to rescue stranded neighbors and feed abandoned pets. Meanwhile, his Louisiana-bred wife Kathy was in Phoenix unaware of her husband's fate. As a devout Muslim, Zeitoun felt he was doing God's work. The sad irony is that the city's increasing toxicity produced a police state where law enforcement officials arrested him for looting his own house. Treated like a terrorist, Zeitoun is placed in a correctional facility, while Kathy can only see the increasingly desperate state of New Orleans through the media. Eggers does a powerful job in evoking the chaos of a war zone. When the author tries to draw out the parable aspect of the story by focusing on the danger of terrorist exploitation, the book starts to feel a bit strained.

Eggers becomes selective with his facts in order to heighten the sense of racist-based conspiracy in his telling. There is no denying that Zeitoun spent a scarifying month in a high-security jail until Kathy was able to find him and pay his $10,000 bond. At the same time, however, two other men, both white, were arrested with him. Besides, Mayor Nagin had ordered a compulsory evacuation of the city within 24 hours of the storm breaking. Consequently, one could see that Zeitoun was actually committing a crime by staying behind despite his good intentions. Still, it's a solid, often mesmerizing read with a story that reflects a crisis larger than any individual character. The author personalizes a tragedy that severely tested a nation's ability to protect itself only to discover that the effort failed. Zeitoun's personal experience is a testament to that sad fact.

5-0 out of 5 stars Every American needs to read this book.
I love the genre of non-narrative fiction and am a big fan of Dave Eggers. "What is the What" is a favorite book and I recommend it to everyone I talk to. Zeitoun tells a very gripping and important story. What happens to Zeitoun illustrates perfectly the old saying, "No good deed goes unpunished." As it unfolds, the story is simply horrifying that any person can be treated the way he and his friends were treated, in any country, especially when they were out helping so many people as best as they knew how. Zeitoun believed he had a God-given mission to do what he could do to find people (and even dogs) in trouble and get help for them or in the case of the dogs, feed them and give them water. He stayed behind to carry out his mission and for this he was arrested, not allowed even one phone call even to his wife to let her know what had happened, and held in extremely uncomfortable cells to say the least. I recommend this book highly to everyone. Reading this book is a life changing event. ... Read more

2. The Wild Things (Vintage)
by Dave Eggers
Paperback: 304 Pages (2010-03-09)
list price: US$14.95 -- used & new: US$5.99
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0307475468
Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars
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Editorial Review

Product Description
Max is a rambunctious eight-year-old whose world is changing around him: His father is absent, his mother is increasingly distracted, and his teenage sister has outgrown  him. Sad and angry, Max dons his wolf suit and makes terrible, ruinous mischief, flooding his sister’s room and driving his mother half-crazy. Convinced his family doesn’t want him anymore, Max flees home, finds a boat and sails away. Arriving on an island, he meets strange and giant creatures who rage and break things,  who trample and scream. These beasts do everything Max feels inside, and so, Max appoints himself their king. Here, on a magnificent adventure with these funny and complex monsters, Max can be the wildest thing of all.
In this visionary adaptation of Maurice Sendak's classic work, Dave Eggers brings an imaginary world vividly to life, telling the story of a lonely boy navigating the emotional journey away from boyhood. ... Read more

Customer Reviews (20)

2-0 out of 5 stars Didn't Do It For Me
I'm a huge Eggers fan but this one just didn't do it for me.I had a hard time feeling any emotional connection to it whatsoever.It's a short read, but still, I would say only die hard Eggers or Wild Things fans should take the time on this one.Otherwise, read one of Eggers excellent other books and read the original kids story and bypass this.

5-0 out of 5 stars The Wild Things
Book arrived in a group shipment.It arrived a day ahead of estimated delivery date.Book was in very good condition.Thank you for you assistance.

4-0 out of 5 stars wild thangs
I bought this book unsure if an advanced 5 year old would like it, we got 1/2 way before she said stop. Great purchase, target reader just not old enough- I loved it. Book in great condition, good ship time!

4-0 out of 5 stars full of adventure
Remember "Where the Wild Things Are" by Maurice Sendak? A boy runs from home and hangs out with gigantic beasts. Dave Eggers took this children's book and turned it first into a movie of the same title and then into a novel called "The Wild Things". It goes into more detail about Max-- he has a teenage sister and a single mother who's dating a very lame man and he's trying to cope with the ups and downs of boyhood.

It's such a quick read. Almost 300 pages, but in going along with Max on his adventure, the reader is carried along by his exuberance and over-excitement. The beasts truly are wild and definitely not the brightest bulbs in the box. But each one of them has their own personality, which brings a sort of reality to them, as if they could exist. Maybe they do...

It's been so long since I've read the picture book by Mr. Sendak that I don't remember the reason why Max ran away in that book, or if he even did (was it a dream?), but it was creative of Mr. Eggers to place him in a stressful, confusing family situation, with a sister with whom he used to be close but is now embarrassed by him and a mother who doesn't have time to pay attention to him because of her job and her new boyfriend. These dynamics give the story a definite foundation and the events logically build to Max sailing away in a small boat.

This new spin on a classic children's book is vivid, lively, and full of adventure. You don't even need to read Mr. Sendak's version in order to get enthralled with this one. It's a very enjoyable read for all ages.

3-0 out of 5 stars All in all, this book left me wanting
Who among us doesn't remember reading "Where the Wild Things Are" as children?Who hasn't roared their terrible roar or gnashed their terrible teeth along with Max?There are so many valuable themes in that book, mainly that as fun as it is to be "wild" it is comforting to be able to come home to people who love you, boundaries and all.Upon hearing that a movie and then a novel was being made from this story, I was excited as there was so much more material to work with than a 37 page picture book conveys.

I read this book without having seen the movie.However, I'm a big Dave Eggers fan so I figured I'd like this book, that it would make me laugh.I have to say I was somewhat disappointed.There were some funny and endearing parts, but all in all the book felt a bit dry and forced.I felt like there were plenty of missed opportunities in this book.I had the feeling that each Wild Thing was supposed to stand for something, some emotion or part of a psyche, but this was never fully explored.And the book ended so abruptly.Part of what kept me reading once Max got to the island was that I wanted to find out what happened once he finally got home, if he had learned from his experience and how he would behave around his family upon his return, and that was basically non-existent.I also got confused with how Max was written.The parts that describe how his brain works in kid-mode were great and very insightful, but then there'd be thought processes of Max's that seemed WAY above his age and much too logical when compared to his earlier thought processes in kid-mode.It also seemed ridiculous how long Max appeared to not only survive, but have boundless energy and lose no cognitive abilities without eating or allowing himself to take off his wolf suit long enough to go to the bathroom.

I knew going into this book that Dave Eggers had been ASKED to write this book to flesh out the movie, and I knew that a project an author was asked to do may not convey the same tone in writing as a project the author has decided on his own to do and worked on passionately.Perhaps it was this different tone that put me off.

All in all, this book left me wanting.There were too many elements that were under-developed or only half explained.
... Read more

3. You Shall Know Our Velocity
by Dave Eggers
Paperback: 368 Pages (2003-07-01)
list price: US$15.00 -- used & new: US$4.82
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 1400033543
Average Customer Review: 3.5 out of 5 stars
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Editorial Review

Product Description
In his first novel, Dave Eggers has written a moving and hilarious tale of two friends who fly around the world trying to give away a lot of money and free themselves from a profound loss.It reminds us once again what an important, necessary talent Dave Eggers is. ... Read more

Customer Reviews (134)

5-0 out of 5 stars Loved this book.
Through this novel, Eggers was able to convey such rage, passion, humor, and sadness that it floored me.One of my favorite books.

5-0 out of 5 stars Dave Eggers has fully sealed his position as my most favorite author with this one.
(Because I tend to rattle on, I have a feeling this will be long, so I apologize in advance.)

Before anything else, I should start this review with a disclaimer - I love Dave Eggers' writing. And with that, it's no surprise how much I enjoyed this book. If anyone asked me to rank all the Eggers books I've read, this would easily top the list.

From the first page until you reach the end, he'll have you laughing despite the characters' circumstances. The protagonist, Will, has decided to travel the world in a week with his buddy, Hand. Their trip takes place months after their best friend, Jack dies and months before Will and his mom dies. No, these aren't spoilers because Eggers supplies you this information at the very beginning. Which I found unusual, actually. But anyway.

Their plan is ridiculous and impossible. Which is to say I never really expected them to go through with it (but a part of me hoped for the best). Will has about $30,000 to get rid of and he wants to do it by giving it away to people from obscure countries, particularly in Africa. The brotherly (but sometimes, not-so) bond between Will and Hand is reminiscent of that of Dave and his younger brother, Toph in "A Heartbreaking Work of Staggering Genius". Their ignorance and earnest foolishness is evident in their many conversations which brings me to this. Dave Eggers is so good at writing dialogues and making them interesting. Some of the conversations take up to three pages and they're emotionally tedious at times, but not boring. Never boring.

Also, I think I should mention that the whole time I was reading this, I was imagining Hand in my head as James Franco (particularly, as his character in "Pineapple Express". It seems so fitting!). This book--with its awesome depiction of friendship between two very tormented boys (they don't seem like men to me) and its exciting narration of an almost world adventure--is one of the best I've read. Ever. It's funny, exciting, depressing, exhausting, and well worth your time.

3-0 out of 5 stars Odd
The highly original "You Shall Know Our Velocity" is written in first person and was Eggers' first novel.It's about two boyhood friends that want to give away about 30K in a week.Instead of writing a check to a charity, they decide to take a trip to multiple international destinations and hand out the money to strangers they meet along the way.Why?That's not immediately obvious, which is part of the draw to keep reading.

My first impression was that this would be a fun fictional travelogue, but fun is not what Eggers had in mind.The two characters, both 27 years old, recently lost a close childhood friend in an accident.That fact drives the story as they try to deal with their grief.Throughout the book, the protagonist has conversations in his head with their dead friend.Actually he has these internal conversations with many others too.We're often aware of his thoughts, but the reasons aren't always clear.

One thing about the book that I found odd was the fact that the first thing they do when arriving in a new country was rent a car.Who goes aboard and rents a car?That had me wondering what Eggers was conveying.Was renting a car meant to be ironic since their friend died in a car accident?Or by renting a car was Eggers implying that these two were typical Americans that had never travelled outside the auto-centric US?I'm still not sure of the significance of the rental cars, or if there is any significance.This car-renting issue was just one of many that kept me wondering why?

While reading this book wasn't always enjoyable (though at times it was), I'll spend days attempting to decode the characters' various actions.Dave Eggers' style is unique and he obviously has talent.This book, though, was odd.

2-0 out of 5 stars Kerouac Redux
Dave Eggers first novel after the explosion of "A Heartbreaking Work of Staggering Genius" is a rambling, long winded story of two friends traveling around the world to give away a large sum of money left to them by a dead friend.

Eggers is a talented writer, of that there is no doubt. However, his ambition seems to outweigh his abilities, perhaps success came too fast for him to develop his craft. Either way, "YSHKOV!" is probably about more than the story, although the themes are lost somewhere in the narrative. These two friends travel, encounter people, give some money to them, talk amongst themselves, and sometimes even philosophize about how worthy they are to eat a piece of pizza.

What Eggers specializes in is the self-awareness of young men, feeling that life is something more than surface...but they have a hard time figuring out just what that meaning is. They feel different, they are intelligent and articulate but ultimately aimless and wandering the world without any ambition.

The diasffected young male has been a staple of literature for decades, but now, there is more emotion to these characters than previous hereoes, like Salinger's and Kerouac's. Today's young man reaches 30 and is suddenly slapped in the face by the reality of life, and it stings. The problem, is that Eggers' heroes speak esoterically of the meaning of everything but focus on nothing of real importance.

In short, Eggers bites off more than he can chew. He sounds smart, but it's misplaced intelligence, it's a focus on aspects of life that true intellectuals see as minor parts of the major whole. It's these mundane aspects he spends most of his time writing about and it's unfortunate.

Thankfully, he grew as a writer much later, "What is the What" is evidence of a man who has seen more of the world at large and all the other people who inhabit it. People who can't take the time to wonder about how worthy one must be to eat a pizza becuase they're too busy trying to survive...and that is the bigger picture he misses in this novel.

3-0 out of 5 stars Worth a read, but not a classic...
"You Shall Know Our Velocity" certainly tells an interesting story--two friends embark on a weeklong trip with a mission: travel the globe to give away money. Even though the plot is sometimes hard to follow, this novel is more accessible than Eggers' memoir, "A Heartbreaking Work of Staggering Genius," and is definitely worth a read. ... Read more

4. What Is the What (Vintage)
by Dave Eggers
Paperback: 560 Pages (2007-10-09)
list price: US$15.95 -- used & new: US$7.00
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0307385906
Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars
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Product Description

New York Times Notable Book
New York Times Bestseller

What Is the What
is the epic novel based on the life of Valentino Achak Deng who,along with thousands of other children —the so-called Lost Boys—was forced to leavehis village in Sudan at the age of seven and trek hundreds of miles by foot, pursuedby militias, government bombers, and wild animals, crossing the deserts of threecountries to find freedom. When he finally is resettled in the United States, hefinds a life full of promise, but also heartache and myriad new challenges. Moving,suspenseful, and unexpectedly funny, What Is the What is an astonishing novel thatilluminates the lives of millions through one extraordinary man.

... Read more

Customer Reviews (215)

1-0 out of 5 stars WHAT is the POINT?
Not that I don't sympathize with the subject matter but this book is long, tedious, full of profanity,and extremely embellished. It made me want to die. Do not read it. Find something else on the subject. Might I suggest watching "God Grew Tired of Us"? You'll get the point without contemplating death and it is a wonderful film all about the Lost Boys.

4-0 out of 5 stars A Lost Boy's Search for Home and Humanity
Categorized as fiction/biography, acknowledging that lives are partially imagined, this book enters a new frontier as a novelized memoir.Written by the skilled and unconventional writer, Dave Eggers, we are transported between war torn Sudan and the stifling inefficiency of inner-city Atlanta as Valentino Achak Deng, tells the story of his life in a first person narrative that covers a great deal of personal detail with the detachment of an observer.As Valentino strives to survive and reconnect with a parochial identity, he is challenged to broaden his sense of self.While the book begins with a simplistic portrayal of life in Sudan, Arab against Dinka, the perspective broadens to reveal how individuals are shuttled around the planet as powerful forces fight to control resources, especially in the winner takes all category of oil.While Valentino's fate was especially trying, or perhaps not, since he did survive the civil war, we are forced to confront our own sense of being lost and how economic and political currents constantly put us in unfamiliar places.

5-0 out of 5 stars Best book I've ever read!
I always look for books that are well written (to me, its more important that the topic of the book- a good writer can make ANY topic interesting)and Dave Eggers is an unbelievably talented writer. This book is heartbreaking (yes, i even cried at one point- around page 354)and a testament to the human spirit and will to live. It has kept my interest the whole way through (which is hard to do since I get bored easily). Valentino Deng is an inspiration. This book is a must read.

5-0 out of 5 stars human face of war
It is easy to become numb to headlines about tragic events. Compassion fatigue. This book is an antidote. I felt connected to Achak from the first page to the last. My life path has not required so much running, averting death and disillusionment at every turn, but his story reminded me how infinitely blessed I am. I loved learning about my own culture from his point of view. I loved howthe story unfolds. Unsung heroes....may your song be sung.

5-0 out of 5 stars He was saved for a reason!
What is the What is a narrative tale of the life of Valentino Achak Deng.It recounts the history of the Sudanese war and describes the conflict between the North and the South, the government of Sudan, the rebels, the Dinka people, the Arabs and the muraheleen, the SPLA, as well as the NGOs and world organizations that sought to help. More importantly it tells the journey and the painfully descriptive stories of Achak and many other Lost Boys in their attempt at survival and escape from a genocide that destroyed their homes, and killed their loved ones before their own eyes.

This horrible tale is amazing and stunningly written.This survival story of devastation and evil in its rarest form, is told through the eyes of a young man whose emotions and character reflect that of friendship, love, hope, and faith.At every turn it seems that the world, God, or both must be against Achak, and even he himself on occasion had questioned his fate and God's plan, accepting defeat and choosing to die.It is one harrowing tale after the next how he escapes iminent death from fire, bullets, tanks, land mines, the machete, lions, crocodiles, vultures, drowning, disease, starvation exhaustion, car crashes and even 9-11 plan crashes. However, despite the thousands that perished around him everyday, Achak continued to live.There must have been a reason he was chosen to survive such and appalling and horrific ordeal, and Achak sought to realize this and achieve his purpose.

Ackak eventually emigrated to the United States and worked to receive an education. The money made from What is What was used to start an organization and school back in his home village in southern Sudan.This organization and the school continues to grow despite the unstable political environment there. This story shows the very worst and best of humanity and the unparalleled story of how one person can make a difference and change the world.No one who reads this novel, will remain untouched or unchanged.
... Read more

5. A Heartbreaking Work of Staggering Genius
by Dave Eggers
Paperback: 485 Pages (2001-02-13)
list price: US$15.00 -- used & new: US$3.99
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0375725784
Average Customer Review: 3.5 out of 5 stars
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Editorial Review

Product Description
National Bestseller 

The literary sensation of the year, a book that redefines both family and narrative for the twenty-first century. A Heartbreaking Work of Staggering Genius is the moving memoir of a college senior who, in the space of five weeks, loses both of his parents to cancer and inherits his eight-year-old brother.Here is an exhilarating debut that manages to be simultaneously hilarious and wildly inventive as well as a deeply heartfelt story of the love that holds a family together.

A Heartbreaking Work of Staggering Genius is an instant classic that will be read in paperback for decades to come.The Vintage edition includes a new appendix by the author.Amazon.com Review
Dave Eggers is a terrifically talented writer; don't hold hiscleverness against him. What to make of a book called AHeartbreaking Work of Staggering Genius: Based on a True Story? For starters, there's a good bit of staggering genius before you evenget to the true story, including a preface, a list of "Rulesand Suggestions for Enjoyment of This Book," and a 20-pageacknowledgements section complete with special mail-in offer, flowchart of the book's themes, and a lovely pen-and-ink drawing of astapler (helpfully labeled "Here is a drawing of a stapler:").

But on to the true story. At the age of 22, Eggers became both anorphan and a "single mother" when his parents died within five monthsof one another of unrelated cancers. In the ensuing sibling divisionof labor, Dave is appointed unofficial guardian of his 8-year-oldbrother, Christopher. The two live together in semi-squalor, decayingfood and sports equipment scattered about, while Eggers worriesobsessively about child-welfare authorities, molesting babysitters,and his own health. His child-rearing strategy swings between makinghis brother's upbringing manically fun and performing bizarredevelopmental experiments on him. (Case in point: his idea of suitablebedtime reading is John Hersey's Hiroshima.)

The book is also, perhaps less successfully, about being young and hip and out to conquer the world (in an ironic, media-savvy, Gen-X way, naturally). In the early '90s, Eggers was one of the founders of the very funny Might Magazine, and he spends a fair amount of time here on Might, the hipster culture of San Francisco's South Park, and his own efforts to get on to MTV's Real World. This sort of thing doesn't age very well--but then, Eggers knows that. There's no criticism you can come up with that he hasn't put into A.H.W.O.S.G. already. "The book thereafter is kind of uneven," he tells us regarding the contents after page 109, and while that's true, it's still uneven in a way that is funny and heartfelt and interesting.

All this self-consciousness could have become unbearably arch. It's a testament to Eggers's skill as a writer--and to the heartbreaking particulars of his story--that it doesn't. Currently the editor of the footnote-and-marginalia-intensive journal McSweeney's (the last issue featured an entire story by David Foster Wallace printed tinily on its spine), Eggers comes from the most media-saturated generation in history--so much so that he can't feel an emotion without the sense that it's already been felt for him. What may seem like postmodern noodling is really just Eggers writing about pain in the only honest way available to him. Oddly enough, the effect is one of complete sincerity, and--especially in its concluding pages--this memoir as metafiction is affecting beyond all rational explanation. --Mary Park ... Read more

Customer Reviews (948)

5-0 out of 5 stars Life is what happens when you are busy making other plans
Such as been the speed with which the 21st century has pulled away from the 20th, I was taken aback at how much time has passed since A Heartbreaking Work of Staggering Genius was published and when I sat down to read it, which would be now.I had acquired the hardcover and had been meaning to get to it any day and suddenly, 10 years had passed.So, reading it later rather than sooner, the question begs, is it still the upstart surprise that it was when it debuted before anyone was really familiar with the Eggers style?Can a book that was so full of its present times (the heady 1990s) still offer immediacy?Yes and yes.I hold great affection for it because:

(1) It is a dazzling performance that plows up memoir and cultural commentary.The author uses perspective, setting, dialogue and irony, loads of irony, to tell of one family's tragedy and fumbling recovery, as well as the state of middle-class suburban life and hopes, and what it was like to be young and otherwise invincible in the "it" city and the "it" decade, doing an "it" thing.

(2)When it was written a decade ago, the memoir form had caught fire; ten years on, it seems as if it is the only genre in which anyone writes anymore.In his introduction Eggers worries that he's joining the crowd, but he needn't worry.His is a unique story still worth telling.He, his older brother and sister, and their much younger little brother lost both parents to cancer within weeks of one another, when the author was still in college.Going from the relative comfort of life in an affluent suburb of Chicago and college life to becoming a parent to the elementary school aged brother is a remarkable balancing act.

(3)In the time that has passed, it has morphed from topical riffing on 1990's zeitgeist to powerful historical statement of that time.It potently preserves the energy and zeitgeist of the San Francisco Bay area, a generation and the classic passages of 20-somethings.It is a very American story.

5-0 out of 5 stars A great book
This book was recommended to me by my mom, whose brother (my uncle) introduced it to her. I think the best thing about the book is that he deals with an obviously tragic part of his life with such great humor. This book is a memoir that takes place over 5 years. Dave Eggers is about 22 years old when his parents die within a couple of months of each other, both of cancer. His sister is in law school and his brother is working in politics, so Dave is left to take care of their 9-year-old brother. What ensues is what you would expect to happen when you have a slacker-ish 20-something raise a child. They move around a lot, but Toph (the boy) adjusts quite well wherever they are. Dave is always paranoid that something will happen to him and orphan Toph, but everything is fine. This book is one for anyone who wants to read a tragic story, but confronted with great humor.

4-0 out of 5 stars A Heartbreaking Work of Staggering Genius in 400 pages
For me reading Dave Eggers' autobiography was a rollercoaster ride. He was twenty-something at the time, I am not. So at times I wanted to scream-- you are so full of it. Get over it; move on.But after having a talk with a twenty-something, I realized he speaks the way twenty-somethings speak and the way I spoke when I was twenty. Add to the self absorbtion of a twenty-something the fact that he lost both of his parents in five weeks and became the "parent" of his nine year old brother, the reader begins to understand the angst he feels, the unresolved feelings of the loss of his parents and the responsibility with which he suddenly found himself. The way he handles this responsibility is sheer genius.Who of us hasn't decided that our children would be raised in the opposit way we were?

Much of what is happening in the book sneaks up on you.Suddenly you find yourself googling Dave Eggers to find out how much of what he says is true.And you find that it is more than true, that he actually down plays his "staggering genius."

As my book club decided, Dave Eggers could be the new Holden Caufield.The worry, the feeling of being an outcast, the loss, the struggle not to conform to society, the intelligence and quick wit are all here in this book.It is longer, of course, but that just gives Eggers more time to reel the reader in by his clever phrasing, sarcasim and glorious use of language.

He tells you not to read the introduction and has it printed in point 2 font, but don't skip it.

There is a beauty in this book for everyone, but if you are older, be patient, you were there once, too.

5-0 out of 5 stars Fabulous
To readers: please read this.It is one of the few books out there that lives up to its title.

To Amazon: PLEASE publish this in Kindle format.

5-0 out of 5 stars A truly great novel
This novel has everything, I laughed, I cried, I recommended it to all of my family members, until, they have said, "Yes, we will read him", and two of my sons read the book and they also loved it.

How he learns to relate to his younger brother, Toph, whom he now has to raise as his closest surviving kin, is a story unto itself.The author is not that much older than his brother and is almost forced to grow up overnight.

The vignettes about his mom were intense, and I had to pause after reading these and reflect upon them, about what is really important in our lives and what is not.For those who cry out that this may be maudlin, no, it's life in all it's tragic parts. ... Read more

6. How We Are Hungry
by Dave Eggers
Paperback: 224 Pages (2005-10-11)
list price: US$15.00 -- used & new: US$7.23
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 1400095565
Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars
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Editorial Review

Product Description


"What It Means When a Crowd in a Faraway Nation Takes a Soldier RepresentingYour Own Nation, Shoots Him, Drags Him from His Vehicle and Then Mutilates Him inthe Dust"

"The Only Meaning of the Oil-Wet Water"

"On Wanting to Have Three WallsUp Before She Gets Home"

"Climbing to the Window, Pretending to Dance"

"She Waits,Seething, Blooming"


"Your Mother and I"


"Notes for a Story ofa Man Who Will Not Die Alone"

"About the Man Who Began Flying After Meeting Her"

"Up the Mountain Coming Down Slowly"

"After I Was Thrown in the River and BeforeI Drowned"

... Read more

Customer Reviews (34)

1-0 out of 5 stars Dave Eggers Writes Books For People Who Mainly Watch Movies and Television
If you have an average intellect and loved The Garden State, this is the book for you!

Stop calling it literature. All of you.

4-0 out of 5 stars Classic Dave Eggers
Great book -- Eggers always dips into the ethereal and it's a masterpiece every time.

5-0 out of 5 stars Excellent Book
Dave Eggers is one of the best authors of our time, and I believe his work has potential to enter the canon of literature that will be read for many generations. It is poignant, funny and extremely well-written. His word choice is fascinating.

5-0 out of 5 stars Comparison
This is an excellent collection of short stories.Compare lethal injection with stoning.Imagine a love relationship.The relationshipmakes everything brighter, more clear.It confers a sort of emancipation.

In one of the stories Rita is in Tanzania with a large purple backpack.She was supposed to travel with her sister Gwen, but Gwen became pregnant.Rita feels that she has always been tormented by Gwen's thoughtfulness.She is one of five paying hikers in the climbing party among numerous porters.She climbs to the top and descends successfully.

4-0 out of 5 stars Very human and subtly beautiful
Dave Eggers has a way of capturing the most simplistically beautiful moments of human existence and conveying them masterfully and subtly through his writing, so that when you read his work you feel elated and inspired without knowing exactly why, much as when these simple, beautiful moments occur in life. When we get caught up in a moment of emotion, when we lose control and overcome our social inhibitions and truly experience the beauty of life - these moments, these feelings are at the core of Eggers's work. The stories in this book capture different moments such as these, and while if read one at a time and apart from each other they convey somewhat anecdotal experiences, together they form a beautiful painting of life in all its purest moments. After closing this book, I felt as if I gained something. On the downside, however, a few of the stories really aren't worth much on their own, particularly the first in the collection, "Another," which may turn new readers away. I'm not sure if I would be as dissatisfied with it if it appeared later in the collection, however, because after reading a number of these stories you begin to gain a feeling for the picture each collectively convey, whether they work alone or not. On the other hand, some of the stories do work apart from the others, particularly "Up the Mountain Coming Down Slowly," "Climbing to the Window, Pretending to Dance" and "Quiet." In other words, I can appreciate the aforementioned stories as works in and of themselves, while others, "Another" and "What It Means..." for example, I can only truly appreciate as less significant parts of the collection as an entirety, ones that I am glad are there but would not particularly miss if they were left out. Taken together, the stories have a definite flow to them, and reading this book is truly a worthwhile experience - though some parts seem insignificant or anecdotal at first, together they form something very human and subtly beautiful. ... Read more

Paperback: 64 Pages (2005)

Isbn: 0141023082
Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars
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Customer Reviews (2)

4-0 out of 5 stars Not the same as "How the Water Feels to the Fishes."
This is a great little book. I lucked out and got it for ten bucks on here not long ago, and that's about what it's worth. It's a great read, but probably nothing you can't live without if you're not as obsessed with Eggers as I am. If you are, then wait and get this when you can find it cheaper. It's not the same book as "How the Water Feels to the Fishes" like a previous review stated. It shares only two stories with that collection (though they have slightly different titles), one of which has a slightly different ending.

This collection is mostly humorous, and quite a bit of it is meta-fiction. If you like that sort of thing, or are a fan of Eggers at all, get this book when you can find it for a reasonable price.

4-0 out of 5 stars People, people, people...
This is a great little collection of short short stories by Mr. Eggers. But please, people, don't drop so much money on this little imported book (two used copies, as of the time of this review, are going for $50 and $70 U.S.). Take a gander at "One Hundred And Forty Five Stories In A Small Box". This book here is Mr. Eggers addition to that little boxed set of little short stories, and it's a heck of a lot cheaper. Even if you're a completist, you should head on over to AmazonUK. You can probably find this used for a lot less money, even after you add on the cost for shipping. Just looking out for my fellow reader. You're welcome. ... Read more

8. The Wild Things (Hardcover)
by Dave Eggers (Author)
Unknown Binding: Pages (2009)
-- used & new: US$8.58
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: B002UD25OO
Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars
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Customer Reviews (2)

5-0 out of 5 stars What it's like to be a boy
When you're grown up and you look back on all the goofy stuff you did as a kid and recall the vast amount of trouble you got in, trips to the principal's office, timeouts, and the huge number of "go out and play"s you endured it all seems so cute and pleasant. But that's not how it was. Time sands off the rough edges and you forget what it really felt like.
In The Wild Things, Dave took me back. Being a little boy is hard. So many brilliant schemes, plans, capers and with each one that blows up in your face you carry more worry that this time you'll really get in trouble.
The craziest thing is that being an adult isn't all that different, is it?
Thanks Dave.

5-0 out of 5 stars Adventure
This was a great book. I am not familiar with the children's book, so my review is in no way comparing the two. I thought this book was so much fun and very absorbing. It is very simple and the writing style is easy to follow and enjoy. The characters are all very fun and the lessons are important. This is a fantastic book for both adults and children. ... Read more

9. Teachers Have It Easy: The Big Sacrifices and Small Salaries of America's Teachers
by Daniel Moulthrop, Ninive Clements Calegari, Dave Eggers
Paperback: 368 Pages (2006-09-05)
list price: US$16.95 -- used & new: US$6.99
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 1595581286
Average Customer Review: 3.5 out of 5 stars
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Product Description
The bestselling call to action for improving the working lives of public school teachers—and improving our classrooms along the way.

Since its initial publication and multiple reprints in hardcover in 2005, Teachers Have It Easy has attracted the attention of teachers nationwide, appearing on the New York Times extended bestseller list, C-SPAN, and NPR's Marketplace, in addition to receiving strong reviews nationwide. Now available for the first time in paperback, this groundbreaking book examines how bad policy makes teachers' lives miserable.

Many teachers today must work two or more jobs to survive; they cannot afford to buy homes or raise families. Interweaving teachers' voices from across the country with hard-hitting facts and figures, this book is a clear-eyed view of the harsh realities of public school teaching, without chicken-soup-for-the-soul success stories.

With a look at the problems of recruitment and retention, the myths of short workdays and endless summer vacations, the realities of the work week, and shocking examples of how society views America's teachers, Teachers Have It Easy explores the best ways to improve public education and transform our schools. ... Read more

Customer Reviews (31)

2-0 out of 5 stars Misleading and did not address major issues
This book does a disservice since it has lumped all the worst of the teaching districts and then pulled out the worst stories.Not all teachers are paid so poorly or have such discipline issues, but the book makes it sound that that's the case.Also, some of the job comparisons are unfair - the sales rep for example.Sales are ALWAYS paid well...that's what pays the bills and that's a for-profit company...not a fair comparison.How about a comparison to a class-room trainer for the government or a non-profit...teachers then look pretty darn good...don't work 12 months, better pensions, more autonomy, more rewarding...doesn't sound so depressing does it?

The other issue that the book did not properly address: why aren't teachers' unions not correcting these "wrongs"?Isn't that what an organized union where u pay dues is supposed to do?If things are so bad, and I'm not saying they are, why aren't teachers asking for these reforms...you've got a voice with the unions, you've got a powerful lobby, and hold the power of the September strike.So why isn't that being done?I know at our school the teachers can't make more than a certain amount of copies, they can't do data entry, they can't have lunchroom or recess "duty" and pay less than $50/month for family insurance coverage and retire early with a comfortable, and guaranteed pension.These are battles and benefits won by the unions, benefits that have been all but eliminated from the business world for decades now. So why aren't the teachers raising these issues to the unions?The book doesn't answer that and that's the white elephant in the room

1-0 out of 5 stars Pathetic & Pro-Teachers Union
Its AMAZING how many errors there are in this book regarding grammar.
Anyhow, this book is a total lie. Teachers get 3 months off in the summer, get an average of THREE days off per month, make OVER $47K a year, they get PENSIONS and they do NOT have to pay for health care.

5-0 out of 5 stars Spectacular Book!
Everyone should read this!People often wonder why teachers get so frustrated over not being treated professionally or paid professionally.Whether you agree or disagree that teachers are being disenfranchised, read this book.It brings to light and explains the frustration that so many teachers across the country feel.

Man, is this book depressing. While the book's primary focus is on the many problems facing teachers as a group which are revealed through a collection of short stories, it aptly addresses the bureaucratic issues that plague high schools across the country. Right when you start to feel totally depressed about your career choice as a teacher, the book (thankfully) sites examples of schools and school systems that are committed to providing greater opportunity and pay for its best teachers. Every teacher will see a part of themselves and their struggles in these stories.

3-0 out of 5 stars Preaching to the Choir
The authors of Teachers Have It Easy promise that it won't be a chicken-soup-for-the-soul book, and they sure deliver on that promise. I found the book on the whole to be depressing and discouraging. First of all because, as a teacher I am already aware of the difficulties and sacrifices inherent in the job. Second of all because the book offers very little in the way of hope or practical advice.

Don't get me wrong: I'm not looking for more chicken-soup stories. I find them to be depressing as well, because they tend to gloss over the real difficulties this job entails. They reinforce the perception that teaching is a "special" job in which teachers find their fulfillment in that tiny breakthrough that comes along once every three years.

I am a fifteen year veteran who has had my share of breakthoughs and made my share of connections. I have twice been selected by former students for inclusion in Who's Who Among American High School Teachers; I have been selected as Teacher of the Year; I am respected by my peers, the community, and even most of my students. And yet I would leave the profession tomorrow if I could. The reason has very little to do with money, which seems to be the main thrust of this book. I teach in Michigan, which has consistently ranked near the top in the nation for teachers' salaries coupled with cost of living. My community is the headquarters of two major corporations (one a chemical producer; one a silicon products producer), and my district is one of the best in the state, so the job is better paid than most teaching positions. I earn just under $80 000, but mine is the only income for our family of four. Once the house payment and the two vehicle payments are made (my rust bucket died for the last time last spring, forcing us into a second car payment), there isn't a lot left over. Thankfully we aren't carrying any other debt; however we are not able to put anything aside for our kids' college education and we are putting very little aside for retirement.

Nevertheless, living simply doesn't bother me. The insurance is decent. The vacation schedule is great. The summers are relaxing (yes, we do spend some of the summer on school tasks, but it's much more relaxed). However, the reason I would leave this job in a heartbeat has everything to do with lack of balance and lack of control. It may sound trite, but I think most people don't realize how inconvenient it is to not be able to go to the bathroom whenever you need to. Or how dangerous. Two years ago a colleague of mine was hospitalized for complications due to an enlarged bladder. His doctor told him it was typical of the teaching profession that the bladder gets stretched too much because we have to hold on so long. Lunch lasts 35 minutes and comes at 10:30 am. Teaching is seven straight hours of being on top of my game, every day. I can't have a bad day. I can't step out and decompress for fifteen minutes. Then there is the work load. I easily work 60-70 hours per week. I am constantly telling friends and even my own family that I can't do things with them in the evenings or on the weekends because of the grading and planning I have to do. In order to maintain a modicum of balance between family life and school life I have sacrificed my health. I do not have time to do anything to stay in shape, even though I know that helps relieve stress and restore mental balance. Finally there are the stresses and onerous limitations put on us by the school system itself, a system which constantly increases its expectations of us while decreasing our contact time with students by pulling them out of classes for a myriad of questionable reasons. A system whose restrictions on what I am able to do in my class send the clear message that it does not trust my professional judgement. A system reinventing itself along the lines of a for-profit business, even though that runs contrary to its very nature. A system which continually restricts my freedom in the classroom by implementing common assessments because it is afraid of the parents who might complain that their child received a poor grade from one teacher but might have received a better grade from another teacher. Even the higher-than-average salary turns out to be my jailor rather than my liberator, for it means that at this point in my career I cannot leave my district without taking a cut in pay which I would probably never recoup. Even if I could find a district that would offer me more money, how would my principal respond to that? There would be nothing my district could do to keep me other than to beg. It would simply, sadly have to let me go. Then there is my philosophical concern that the true meaning of education--a search for truth--has been abandoned as our culture has abandoned a belief in truth and has been replaced with a system of test preparation and training for careers in the math and science fields.

Most of these complaints were covered in the book, and are real, valid, debilitating complaints. Yet I am still not fully satisfied with the book. It leaves the impression that any other field is more rewarding (financially and emotionally/spiritually) than teaching. I found the chapter on "A Day in the Life" to be particularly misleading. The teacher example chosen was also a department head, giving him a set of pressures and responsibilities that the majority of teachers do not have. His counterpart was also given an atypical job. Not every non-teacher is a sales rep who can stop off at Best Buy because his vehicle is also his office, or have a $60 lunch paid for by the company. Plus the sales rep is single while the teacher has a family, so of course the sales rep has more time and more disposable income. But even the sales rep job isn't all it's cracked up to be. I have an in-law who does this work and complains that the company constantly increases the size of her region, making it more and more difficult to do her job well. However, I'd have to agree that even an office worker stuck in a soulless, windowless cubicle at least is able to go to the bathroom whenever he needs to.

As for the other ex-teachers, I'd like to have some follow up. I'd especially like to know more about the man who got back into real estate, even though he'd hated it earlier. Does he still hate it, or has he now left real estate for something else? An increased wage and increased freedom of time do not guarantee satisfaction.

Teaching desperately wants to be taken seriously as a profession in the technical sense, yet I have my doubts about its claim to professionalism. I wouldn't want my doctor or my lawyer showing up for work the way many of my colleagues dress. We lack the self-oversight structure that other professions have (e.g. the AMA, APA, ABA). Our so-called continuing education is a joke: pay $600 out of your own pocket for a one week summer course about Microsoft Windows and get three graduate credits. As far as earning the status as a profession, I think teaching still has a ways to go.

Finally, I was looking for some hope in the book, but it never came. The chapter on other districts' creative salary restructuring isn't really inspirational or hopeful, because salary is only one issue among many, and I'd argue it's not even the main issue. Plus, the solutions to the salary question usually entail sacrificing in the other problem area: work load and stress. After nearly 300 pages of being reminded how difficult this job is and how much I'd like to leave it, it would have been helpful to have a chapter assisting teachers who want to leave. How can our skills translate to the private sector? How do we go about marketing ourselves for a career change? Without this kind of chapter the book left me where it found me: clinging by my fingernails to the edge of a cliff, only with an increased sense of how sharp the rocks are below and how futile it is to keep holding on. ... Read more

10. The Best American Nonrequired Reading 2003 (The Best American Series)
Paperback: 368 Pages (2003-10-10)
list price: US$13.00 -- used & new: US$1.09
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0618246967
Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars
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Editorial Review

Product Description
Since its inception in 1915, the Best American series has become the premier annual showcase for the country's finest short fiction and nonfiction. For each volume, the very best pieces are selected by an editor who is widely recognized as a leading writer in his or her field, making the Best American series the most respected -- and most popular -- of its kind.
Dave Eggers, who will be editing The Best American Nonrequired Reading annually, has once again chosen the best and least-expected fiction, nonfiction, satire, investigative reporting, alternative comics, and more from publications large, small, and on-line -- The Onion, The New Yorker, Shout, Time, Zoetrope, Tin House, Nerve.com,and McSweeney's, to name just a few. Read on for "Some of the best literature you haven't been reading . . . And it's fantastic. All of it." (St. Petersburg Times).

Lynda Barry
Jonathan Safran Foer
Lisa Gabriele
Andrea Lee
J. T. Leroy
ZZ Packer
David Sedaris ... Read more

Customer Reviews (12)

1-0 out of 5 stars 99%Waste; 1% epiphany
Lured by the Title and the name 'Dave Eggers', I borrowed the audio version of this from my local library. 'Just by chance' I listened first to the story "Things we knew when the house caught fire" by David Drury.
At the end of the 37 minutes, my friend's and my jaws were on the floor.
A truly astounding work. Transcendent. I then attempted to listen to all the other pieces. Yeeeeeech; complete waste of time. For the life of me, would like to know the backstory of this occurrence; how did this come to be?
Cutting to the chase, you decide. Buy a used copy just for the one 'story of a lifetime' and share it with all you know;what a gift it is.

5-0 out of 5 stars Mostly the stories are about survival
Sherman Alexie writes of Sacagawea, the Shoshone who accompanied Lewis and Clark.She died of some mysterious illness when she was only in her twenties.Lynda Barry's entry is in the nature of a graphic short story.She covers the interesting subject of the peculiar scent of each person's house.

Ryan Boudinot writes of having a costume as Hitler for a school harvest carnival.First he created trouble on the school bus.His fourth grade teacher was amused and disturbed.Another student dressed as Anne Frank.The teacher elected to have a discussion about the Second World War.The girl playing Anne Frank saw her popularity soar.Davy, the boy character of the story, decided not to be Hitler that evening.He and his father found a Frankenstein mask.

Mark Bowden writes of the tyrant, Saddam Hussein.In his sixties, he cannot appear to age since his power is based on fear.He swims, he dyes his hair.His desk is immaculate.He reads voraciously which is a good thing since he is fed lies.His passion is Arabic history and military history.People have reported it is plesant to sit and talk to Saddam.As people age, the area of making choices is reduced.A tyrant has the narrowest field of all.Power shuts the tyrant off from the world.Saddam's clan was known to be violent and clever.Saddam committed his crimes publicly, cloaking them in patriotism.Things started with ego and ambition and became a political movement.The conflict in Iraq was a conflict in mentalities, between the city and the village.The backbone of politics is in the city.In the city politics is a matter of law, not blood.Saddam was a man of the village, of tribal loyalty.His favorite movies were THE GODFATHER and THE OLD MAN AND THE SEA.The invasion of Kuwait in 1990 was a military miscalculation.Mark Bowden explains that cruelty is the tyrant's art.

Judy Budnitz in "Visiting Hours," describes visiting her brother Ezra in the hospital after he suffered a concussion causing short term memory loss.She tells her parents she is danger of being suspended from school because she has taken time-off to visit her brother.The family dynamics appear to be conflict-ridden and mysterious.The brother suffers a new injury to remain in the hospital.

David Drury states in a piece that a suburb is a delicate thing.A family whose house burns down inherited the house from an aunt.The blended family did not really fit into the neighborhood.Family members did not tend the lawn, and Christmas decorations were taken from the yards of the other houses.The children did not have the approved kinds of bicycles and they were shunned by the other children.

Tribute bands are a maligned sector of the rock and roll scene claims Chuck Klosterman in "The Pretenders."Being derivative is not simple.Fans already exist for the tribute band.You don't have to beg your friends to come to watch you play.

This selection of material by Dave Eggers and his advisory group of mostly high school students is quite good.The idea of having annual volumes for different kinds of writing is great.

4-0 out of 5 stars Eclectic assortment...
I bought this for a plane ride and I loved it. The fact that it mixes so many different genres is great. There are so many pieces in this collection that I never would have been exposed to had I not purchased this book, and I'm thankful I did.

Without getting into specific essays, I enjoyed almost everything featured in this book. It is a diverse group of readings, and I'd recommend it to anyone that wants to broaden his or her horizons but doesn't know how to do it. You'll feel enriched after reading this.

5-0 out of 5 stars Very fun read
This eclectic collection of writing was loaned to me by a friend who thought it would be right up my alley.She was right!I had never heard of the series and am now seeking out the other years of "Nonrequired Reading."Every selection is different, so you are bound to love something in here.Several entries had me giggling delightedly.Others had me crying.Most I just enjoyed without any sloppy emotionalism.Definitely recommended.

1-0 out of 5 stars Unmitigated Failure
They should retitle this volume: "Nonrequired Reading, Where Literature Comes To Die"Why anyone would want to waste their time with pretentious drivel like this is beyond me.This is the most needless collection of mish-mash I have ever seen put together. ... Read more

11. The Best American Nonrequired Reading 2005
Paperback: 368 Pages (2005-10-05)
list price: US$14.00 -- used & new: US$0.48
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0618570489
Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars
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Editorial Review

Product Description

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

The Best American series has been the premier annual showcase for the country's finest short fiction and nonfiction since 1915. For each volume, the very best pieces are selected by a leading writer in the field, making the Best American series the most respected--and most popular--of its kind.

The Best American Nonrequired Reading 2005 includes

Daniel Alarcón • Aimee Bender •Dan Chaon •Daniel Clowes •Tish Durkin •Stephen Elliott • Al Franken • Jhumpa Lahiri •Rattawut Lapcharoensap • Anders Nilsen • Georges Saunders • William T. Vollmann • and others

Dave Eggers, editor, is the author of A Heartbreaking Work of Staggering Genius, You Shall Know Our Velocity!, and How We Are Hungry, and the editor of McSweeney's. He is the founder of 826 Valencia, a San Francisco writing lab for young people.

Beck, guest introducer, whose single "Loser" was instantly labeled an anthem for the slacker generation, is also known for his Grammy Award-winning albums Odelay and Mutations.
... Read more

Customer Reviews (5)

2-0 out of 5 stars Not required -- and you should consider that a blessing
Reading Dave Egger's ingratiating and irritatingly self-flattering Foreword to this volume (why is it, even when he's talking about others, that Dave Eggers is always talking about himself?), one hopes desperately that he is being ironic when he says that the pieces in the anthology were selected by a group of high-school students. Unfortunately, he appears to have been telling the truth. This is arguably the worst of the Best American Nonrequired Reading series, though the competition is pretty stiff. Maybe 2005 was just a lousy year for writing. Maybe we shouldn't be expected to pay full price to read stories and essays that appealed to high-school students. Maybe Dave Eggers really can't tell decent writing from drivel. Or maybe all three.

I would save exactly two pieces from this book: Aimee Bender's "Tiger Mending" and Stephanie Dickinson's "A Lynching in Stereoscope," both of which are marvelous. The rest of the book ranges from decidedly not marvelous to aggravating, self-referential, and banal. When you get to the last four pieces (Jonathan Tel's "The Myth of the Frequent Flier," Douglas Trevor's "Girls I Know," William T. Vollman's "They Came Out Like Ants," and Lauren Weedman's "Diary of a Journal Reader"), you realize you're deep in the Swamp of Complacencies that is the province of graduate-writing programs and of writers like Eggers and the McSweeney crowd: too clever by half, damn impressed with themselves and, at base, utterly uninterested in readers. Writing, for them, is an essentially masturbatory act that precludes an other.

I'd put Beck's Introduction, as superficial and trivial a piece of writing as you'll ever find, into the same category. It is apparently included in BANR 2005 solely for the "cool factor" bona fides that someone like Beck could provide in 2005 and not because Beck has a single intelligent or interesting observation to make about writing. Plus, Beck was about to feature Eggers on his next album, so hey: One hand washes the other, high up there in the Hiposphere. And that seems to be Eggers all over: so doggone determined to be "alternative" that he becomes, numbingly, the same as everything else.

5-0 out of 5 stars Best Non-required reading
The book arrived in a timely manner and was just as advertised.I also really enjoyed reading it.

5-0 out of 5 stars A Delightful Series
I love most of the "Best American" series, but I eagerly look forward to the "Nonrequired Reading" title. This volume is one of the best, with wonderful, quirky, hard to find stories that range all over the place. Selected by high schoolers, it gives me hope for the future that this is what our youth find of interest.

5-0 out of 5 stars the best
The fourth edition of David Eggers Best American Nonrequired Reading is an impressive collection of twenty four of the year's finest fiction, essays, and memoirs.Culled from a mountain of publications and assembled by a group of teenagers at Eggers' 826 Valencia; a non-profit writing lab, drop-in tutoring center and the Bay Area's only independent pirate supply shop, this collection is a refreshing approach to modern American literature.
Covering a huge spread of interests and emotions Best American has everything from William T. Vollmann's (The Came Out Like Ants!) search for subterranean Chinese casinos and opium dens hidden under the streets of Mexicali since the nineteenth century to the almost familiar lives of Douglas Trevor (Girls I Know) and Ryan Boudinot (Free Burgers For Life).Completely devoid of clichés and tired literary devices every page of the genre-less Best American will have you awaiting next year's collection.

5-0 out of 5 stars Best Nonrequired Reading So Far
I'm a fan of short stories and essays in general because I tend to finish a good 60 to 70% of the ones I start.Contrast that to novels and non-fiction monographs, where, secondary to undertreated ADHD and a busy schedule, I probably complete less than 10% of books I start.That's okay, I like accumulating books with bookmarks a third of the way in.An unfinished book is like a totem, a sacred symbol of potential wisdom, something to anticipate.But still, there is something satisfying and confidence boosting about reading something completely in one sitting.

I like this series, the adolescents we are told do the selections must have a keen eye for talent.Unlike other reviewers, I was not bothered by some of the overlap, in particular multiple stories about sibling rivalry.It's a pretty big theme in the lives of most people with siblings, and its effects resonate in multiple realms of our relationships and interactions.Perhaps it's closer to the surface for the Bay area teenagers who made these selections.That's fine.Personally, I'm glad they didn't throw out any of these stories in the name of variety and balance.Oh, by the way, have you gotten into Sudoku yet?You really should.

I particularly enjoyed Molly McNett's work, I hope we'll hear more from her, as well as the contributions by Franken, Saunders, Vollmann, Dickinson, and Boudinot.Big fan, big fan.So far, 2005 is the best edition of this series.
... Read more

12. One Hundred and Forty Five Stories in a Small Box: Hard to Admit and Harder to Escape, How the Water Feels to the Fishes, and Minor Robberies
by Dave Eggers, Sarah Manguso, Deb Olin Unferth
Hardcover: 300 Pages (2007-09-20)
list price: US$25.00 -- used & new: US$15.02
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 193241682X
Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars
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Editorial Review

Product Description

In the grand tradition of Neapolitan ice cream, ZZ Top, and Cerberus, the tri-headed guardian of Hades, this set combines individual, short fiction collections by three talented practitioners of the short-short form. Manguso’s Hard to Admit and Harder to Escape is a series of crystalline recollections of her childhood misadventures; Eggers’ How the Water Feels to the Fishes brings a deadpan absurdism to the intimacy and vision of his earlier work; and Unferth’s rollicking Minor Robberies unleashes a horde of off-kilter characters and their indelible misadventures. Each author’s work comes in its own hardcover, foil-stamped volume, and the three volumes are housed in an elegant slipcase.
... Read more

Customer Reviews (9)

3-0 out of 5 stars okay
no what is the what, or the others... but nice little pieces by one of the best alive.

2-0 out of 5 stars 3 stars-DE, 2-SM, 1-DOU: trio of talesters' short-shorts fall short of high expectations based on their bigger, better books
As a huge fan of short stories, and someone who thoroughly enjoyed both Manguso's (The Two Kinds of Decay) and Eggers' (A Heartbreaking Work of Staggering Genius) memoirs, I had high expectations for these One Hundred and Forty Five Stories in a Small Box. The 6.5"x 5.0"x 0.5" volumes are lovely, but the ultra-short stories are mostly disappointing.

Of Deb Olin Unferth's (the thickest of the three, with the longest stories), I liked only two: Frank Lloyd Wright and Minute Lives of Great Composers, and abhorred one, the absolutely sick "Sickos." The style of many of them is much like this excerpt from page 94 of Twice, "Did both letters have to come from the bank? Or could one come from him? If one did come from him, would two come from him? Or if nothing came from him, would nothing come twice before something? How long is nothing? Is it this long? Is it this long?" And she uses the word "or" more than any author I've ever read. What's up with that? Although I disliked her stories the most, I put her novel Vacation, published in September, on my reading list, hoping that as with the other two writers, I'll find that she does "bigger" better. Couldn't be worse.

Sarah Manguso's middle-sized book contained the shortest stories, each one under a page in length. Most are mini-anecdote snippets of her life (Brownies, science class, piano lessons). Only one, Sickness, refers to the long debilitating illness that makes up most of her wonderful memoir, The Two Kinds of Decay. They are little different than childhood stories one might hear from a friend.

Dave Eggers' title story, How the Water Feels to the Fishes, is excellent. The surprising Alberto is also pretty good. But his collection, the smallest of the three, can probably best be described as a mixed bag. The first story, Once a Year, and the fourth, She Needs a New Journal, are only two sentences long. The second, Runaway, is so familiar that I suspect it came straight from his memoir. And although his are the most varied in length and content, they rarely rise above so-so.

In summary, skip this esthetically pleasing but unimpressively written set for their memoirs (in the case of Eggers and Manguso). Or, do as I should have, check them out (at least How the Water Feels to the Fishes and Hard to Admit and Harder to Escape, available separately) from your local library. Better: The Two Kinds of Decay by Sarah Manguso (my rating - five stars), A Heartbreaking Work of Staggering Genius by Dave Eggers (my rating - four stars), or New Sudden Fiction: Short-Short Stories from America and Beyond edited by Robert Shapard and James Thomas (my rating - four stars).

5-0 out of 5 stars Wish There Were More
I enjoy the increasingly popular and demanding form of the short-short and flash and wish there were more collections like these. Deb Olin Unferth's "Minor Robberies" is, far and away, the strongest book of the bunch, and it's this collection I'm focusing on and awarding 5 stars. The other two have their merits, but having read Manguso and Egger's other work, I don't think the flash is their forte.

Deb Olin Unferth's pieces are strange, cubist, experimental, funny, frightening. Some of them aren't stories at all, but assemblages of mercurial thought. Others evince the clear influence of Diane Williams and Lydia Davis, among others, but that's not a bad thing. The best of the bunch, in my opinion, are the more narrative-oriented stories, such as The Container, Soap, Managing, and---my favorite---Juan the Cell Phone Salesman.

I award the box five stars for Unferth's book alone. It'll be a collection I return to every now and then in the future.

5-0 out of 5 stars Unferth's Minor Robberies
Unferth's Minor Robberies is a rare treat: at times metafictional, at times formally experimental, at times just plain wacky, these short-short stories delight without becoming glib. Standout stories include "Sickos" which features a "very vaguely, very religious" sex worker, "Give Them the Bag" a funny and strangely heart-breaking tale of sisters traveling together, and "Single Percent" a mathematical analysis of romantic commitment. Bring this lovely book with you everywhere so you can catch a story whenever you have a few minutes.

5-0 out of 5 stars tiny wonders
These stories are small, sharp, lovely, and giving. Read Deb Olin Unferth's "To Be Honest". Then read it again. And again.Each time it expands, contracts, twists into a tiny ball, then grows giant. This is an amazing trio of booksin the prettiest of mcsweeney's packages. the perfect present (who isn't psyched for dave eggers in their stocking) if there are still any left. i bought 3. ... Read more

13. The Best American Nonrequired Reading 2008
Paperback: 400 Pages (2008-10-08)
list price: US$14.00 -- used & new: US$1.32
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 061890283X
Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars
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Editorial Review

Product Description

"This great volume highlights the very best of this year’s fiction, nonfiction, alternative comics, screenplays, blogs, and more” (OK!). Compiled by Dave Eggers and students of his San Francisco writing center, it is thoroughly “entertaining and thought-provoking reading” (Library Journal).

... Read more

Customer Reviews (5)

5-0 out of 5 stars Best Edition of The Best American Non-Required Reading Series
I have been following this collection of the "Best American" series since it's inception.Though I have enjoyed every edition of the "Best American Non-Required Reading" series, I must say that this is the best edition ever published.

Unlike past editions, this collection includeded a large amount of non-fiction articles...but like past issues, these pieces are written so beautifully, they might as well be poetry

The articles, essays and short stories featured in this collection are so powerful, humoruous and heartfelt, that I found myself taking a deep breath, issuing a little chuckle and producing a sorrowful sigh before preparing to read the next piece.

I've been telling all my friends and family about this book!

3-0 out of 5 stars Disappointing
Having purchased the last few editions of TBANRR I was looking forward to the 2008 edition. Unfortunately this collection is uneven and disappointing. The selection of non-fiction isn't particularly imaginative - a long article from The New Yorker is hardly their best - and the selection of amusing Facebook groups is fun if utterly disposable. Compared to previous years this is a lacklustre addition to an otherwise excellent series. Here's hoping 2009 edition will be better.

4-0 out of 5 stars Another great year of non-required reading
I have been reading this particular series for the past four years.This year like every other is a great success.

3-0 out of 5 stars Meh.
I just don't think it's that good. The only things that have struck me so far have been the essay about Argentina's White Train and Paul Watson's mission to save marine life. The fiction is forgettable because it doesn't provoke dialogue or even thought like the two previously-mentioned pieces do.

My recommendation if you are looking for serials similar to The Best American is Pushcart. The work they showcase is original and cerebral in a way that this never seems to achieve. Section I of Nonrequired Reading is a cheap hodge-podge ranging from Best Facebook Groups to Best American Things for Sale. It even features a bulleted list of "Best" excerpts from Kurt Vonnegut's novels!

5-0 out of 5 stars Sheer pleasure
Once again this series, always the star of the "Best American" anthologies, delivers the goods. Here is just a selection of the delights it offers this year:

A hilarious introduction by Judy Blume
Best American police blotter items from Kensington, California
Best American facebook groups
Best American NY Times headlines from 1907 ("Man pours molten lead into own ear - believed to have been reading Hamlet"; "President's quiet Sunday: He goes to church, Greets neighbors, Has shot only rabbits"; "Have you a fetich? Most of us have")
Best American: last sentences of books, Ron Paul facts, champion showdog names, Kurt Vonnegut writings, diary of a young girl, diary of the living dead.

Pieces by Marjorie Celona, J. Malcolm Garcia, Andrew Sean Greer, Helon Habila, Raffi Khatchadourian, Stephen King, Emily Raboteau, George Saunders, Jake Swearingen, Patrick Tobin, Laura van den Berg, Gene Weingarten, Laurie Weeks, and Malerie Willens

an excerpt from Paul Hornschemeier's graphic novel, "The Three Paradoxes"
an illustrated story by Rutu Modan: "Queen of the Scottish Fairies"

When I say that this anthology "delivers the goods", what I mean is - of the seven pieces I've read thus far, each has been fascinating, well-written, and not something I would otherwise have come across. (Other than one piece from each of The New Yorker, The new York Times, and The Washington Post, the selection is deliberately weighted to represent non-mainstream publications, such as The Paris Review, The Kenyon Review, The Virginia Quarterly Review, Zoetrope).

J. Malcolm Garcia's "The White Train", about the cartoneros of Buenos Aires (people who, following the economic collapse of 2001, have been forced to make a living from recycling cardboard and paper) and George Saunder's portrait, "Bill Clinton, Public Citizen" (a fascinating account of the Clinton Foundation's work throughout the developing world) -- these two pieces alone are so good, they make it worth the price of admission.

What this series manages to do, reliably, is to track down material that may be a little off the beaten path, but that is compulsively readable, and that expands the reader's horizons in the most enjoyable way possible. Starting each piece is like biting into an exotically flavored Dove bar - unfamiliar at first, but totally delicious.

This anthology rocks! ... Read more

14. It Is Right to Draw Their Fur: Animal Renderings by Dave Eggers
by Dave Eggers
Hardcover: 200 Pages (2010-10-01)
list price: US$42.00 -- used & new: US$25.84
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 1934781983
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Editorial Review

Amazon.com Review

Product Description

In time to coincide with a gallery show in San Francisco, this is Dave Eggers's first collection of drawings. Most of these works are of unusual mammals, most often accompanied by slogans with ancient, heroic, or just plain odd overtones. This full-color package will be a combination of 26 large-sized prints and an accompanying booklet.

This book echoes questions posed by Eggers in McSweeney's Issue 27: What is the line between a doodle, a cartoon, a gag, and a work of fine art? Does it seem, sometimes, that the artist is defacing his or her own work by adding text? Is loose draftsmanship appealing, in that it’s intimate and disarming? Is absurdity more appealing when it comes across as humble?

A Look Inside It Is Right to Draw Their Fur
(Click on Images to Enlarge)

... Read more

15. You Shall Know Our Velocity
by Dave Eggers
Hardcover: 352 Pages (2003-02-27)
list price: US$35.10 -- used & new: US$19.99
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0241142288
Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars
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Editorial Review

Product Description
Will and Hand, two young Americans, decide to travel around the world handing over large amounts of money to those who need it. This trip will, they hope, be an answer to the overwhelming grief they feel after their friend's death. But, as they soon find out, nothing is quite so simple. ... Read more

Customer Reviews (2)

5-0 out of 5 stars Inspiring, Gripping, Melancholy - A novel you will always remember
You Shall Know Our Velocity by Dave Eggers is a wholly brilliant work of fiction.The concept itself is ingenius; two friends travel around the globe (not quite fully around as planned) to give away roughly $32,000 to people who need it.How he comes into the money, I'll leave that for the readers.Some of the ways they distribute the money are pretty entertaining, like trying to tape a wad of cash to a goat (obviously wanting the owner to find it) with a note that says "Here I Am - Rock You Like a Hurricane", just pure reading entertainment.The trip doesn't quite go as planned, they cannot hit all the destinations they want (mainly Cairo) and have some trouble because they can't enter countries which require visas, but the journey and the events are incredible- The writing is truly a joy to read.There is also more to this book than I've described, it really is filled with melancholy undertones that will move you.Will and Hand are the two friends who take the journey, the real purpose of the trip is for them to escape, to just get away for a week- because their other best friend has died six months prior- they often reminisce about their friend Jack and his life, Will is really tortured by the loss of Jack and this continuously resurfaces.The story is very touching, and at the same time hilarious in spots, definitely not one to miss out on.This is one of the best novels I've read in a long time, and I read everything.

5-0 out of 5 stars Great Novel
You Shall Know Our Velocity is a story about humanity more than it is a story about the world. Readers quickly get to know and relate to the characters, even before knowing their stories. Written with Egger's wonderfully fluid way of weaving a story and a person together. Incredibly enjoyable to read and travel through. ... Read more

16. Jokes Told in Heaven About Babies
by Lucy Thomas, Dave Eggers
Paperback: 32 Pages (2003-08-01)
list price: US$8.00 -- used & new: US$3.50
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 193241603X
Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars
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Product Description
Lucy Thomas was one of the McSweeney’s Internet Tendency’smost popular contributors. Injuries incurred while installingdrywall forced her into semi-retirement. She is now recuperatingin Newfoundland, while studying shipbuilding.

This book collects her work from the website, along withmany new pieces, and a series of line drawings of an abandonedpier. ... Read more

Customer Reviews (4)

5-0 out of 5 stars Inspired, surreal, funny, strangely profound
I found this tiny book in an independent bookstore in Seattle. I read the entire book while standing there. I was immediately and completely enchanted. These stories are impossible to describe, predict, or categorize. They remind me a bit of Brautigan, but without his self-conscious style. I love this little book. Is Lucy Thomas Dave Eggers? I wish she or he would write more.

5-0 out of 5 stars aww! super cute!
This is an intimate collection of (short short)stories by Dave Eggers under the pseudonym Lucy Thomas. The first story "People Should not Laugh at Savings" made me laugh and laugh. It was charming and I was not disappointed with the rest of the book. Because it is not disappointing. It is refreshing. Also, an enlightening way to spend (oh my god) eight dollars.

5-0 out of 5 stars I hasten to differ
[...] This work, written by Lucy Thomas (if she really exists) is lucid surrealism, delicate and provocative with hidden strength. One could consider it 'boring' and 'pointless' if one also didn't care for Japanese poetry, or the prose poems of James Tate and Ron Padgett-the sorts of artists who maintain the gorgeously skewed vision to consider subjects like, for example, the happiness of the employees at 'my' post office, the small, artificial hand of a boy that was never replaced even when he became a man, why one should never laugh at discounts-points of view that gently jar your world. If you are a writer, and you wish to release the taut bindings that inhibit one's imagination, this might be, to mix the old metaphors, your cup of tea. If you aren't, and still would care for the ultimate grown up stocking stuff, here's a book for you.

1-0 out of 5 stars Utterly Horrible and Miniscule Collection of Prose
I knew this book was small when I ordered it, but because it is published by McSweeney's, I expected a big payoff. Uh...not. Of the 36 pages in this little book (counted title page, copyright page, and filler pages), 7 of them are filled with simple drawings of the same pier from different angles. And, I eventually figured out what they had to do with the text: NOTHING!

And the text...Awful, boring, pointless, disjointed...whatever. I'd say more if there was enough content in this book to even warrant further exposition.

Don't, I REPEAT DO NOT, waste your $8.00 on this book - I already did that for you.


A Guide to my Book Rating System:

1 star = The wood pulp would have been better utilized as toilet paper.
2 stars = Don't bother, clean your bathroom instead.
3 stars = Wasn't a waste of time, but it was time wasted.
4 stars = Good book, but not life altering.
5 stars = This book changed my world in at least some small way. ... Read more

17. The Best American Nonrequired Reading 2006
Hardcover: 400 Pages (2006-10-11)
list price: US$28.00 -- used & new: US$14.25
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0618570500
Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars
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Editorial Review

Product Description

From Dave Eggers: For this year’s edition of The Best American Nonrequired Reading, we wanted to expand the scope of the book to include shorter pieces, and fragments of stories, and transcripts, screenplays, television scripts -- lots of things that we hadn’t included before. Our publisher readily agreed, and so you’ll see that this year’s edition is far more eclectic in form than previous editions. Along the way to making the book, we also came across a variety of things that didn’t fit neatly anywhere, but which we felt should be included, so we conceived the front section, which is a loose Best American roundup of notable words and sentences from 2005. It is, like this book in general, obviously and completely incomplete, but might be interesting nevertheless.
... Read more

Customer Reviews (14)

4-0 out of 5 stars Best of the Best of...
Whenever I read a Best of Series book, only a few stories/essays grab me, and this is the eclectic nature of anthologies. In Best-of books all writing is high quality, but what interests the writer and me is hit and miss.

Yet I found almost seventy percent of BNR 2006 excellent. The graphic entries all great, I've read Delisle's Pyongyang, it is up there with Spiegelman's Maus, but the other two I had never heard of and found both very provocative - Joe Sacco & Gipi. The Best American Excerpt from a Military Blog is a tearjerker, and the Chuck Norris Facts as well as the Onion headlines are funny. My prose favorites came from Tom Downey, The Lincoln Group, Julia Sweeney, and Vonnegut. On the questionable end, I'm glad to have the opportunity to read the 26 pages of the Iraqi Constitution, but..., it does not make very compelling reading. And perhaps too many of the essays or excerpts made a one-sided statement about our involvement in the Middle East. This is fascinating stuff, and though Tom Downey's 'The Insurgent's Tale' perhaps is the most provocative piece of the bunch, it also made me wonder why the book as a whole seemed unable to come down a little harder, or examine, both sides. I somehow felt the author gave the insurgent a pass at times.

Four and a half stars.

4-0 out of 5 stars Good Collection
A good collection of quick, often hilarious short pieces from some well-known (and some less-well-known) authors.It is of undeniably Eggers-ian dimensions, and worth the price of admissions for DFW's "Kenyon Commencement Speech" alone.

4-0 out of 5 stars Can't Really Complain
This is the first edition of Nonrequired Reading that I've read, but it won't be the last.I really enjoyed it.The only problem is the reading is so varied.There were a couple stories I skimmed over because the topic didn't really interest me, but the really good stories made up for it.There were two graphic short stories, which I really enjoyed.I teach middle school and flirted with the idea of sharing them with my students, but in the end felt the subject matter was too mature for them.Most of the reading would be more appropriate for college-level reading.There was one article in which scientists wrote about what that thought was real, but could not prove.That had to be my favorite because it really blew my mind.Also, a great article on Dubai, a place I'll probably never get to visit, but wish I could.

Great reading.Since I own it, I can see myself picking it up again in a few years and rereading.One of the reviewers said this was their least favorite edition.If that is true, I can't wait to read the others because, to me, this edition was pretty solid.

5-0 out of 5 stars Find new and interesting authors - expand your horizons
This is a great book for those who wish to be exposed to new contemporary authors.I especially enjoyed the story on Dubai by George Saunders, "The New Mecca".If you've never read about Dubai (or even if you have), it's a real treat to hear more about the Fantasyland of the Middle East...

5-0 out of 5 stars Different brand of humor, but its the kind I like!
I first became a Dave Eggers fan after getting into McSweeney's thanks to an NPR review. I'm actually not retirement age, listening to NPR, but a 20 year old college student. This book is great because I can read it in short spurts, like before class starts, and not really lose the focus of an intense novel. Also, the stories in this edition are truly riveting- the tale of a "freedom fighter", a future "Body Works" corpse- and yet some just make your face light up- the best fake headlines, courtesy of The Onion, random first lines of books. Overall, this is random, but a great cross section of pop culture. Weird? yes. Nonrequired? It's so good, it should be required. ... Read more

18. Created in Darkness by Troubled Americans: The Best of McSweeney's Humor Category
Paperback: 272 Pages (2005-06-14)
list price: US$12.95 -- used & new: US$2.50
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 1400076854
Average Customer Review: 3.5 out of 5 stars
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Editorial Review

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Now more than ever, Americans are troubled by questions. As sweaty modernity thrustsitself upon us, the veil of ignorance that cloaked our nation hangs in tatters, tatteredtatters. Our "funny bones" are neither fun nor bony. Glum is the new giddy, and theold giddy wasn't too giddy to begin with.


What can be done to stop this relentlessmarch of drabbery? Nothing. But perhaps this book can be used to dull the pain. Includedherein:


The Ten Worst Films of All Time, as Reviewed by Ezra Pound over ItalianRadio


Unused Audio Commentary by Howard Zinn and Noam Chomsky, Recorded Summer 2002,for The Lord of the Rings: Fellowship of the Ring DVD (Platinum Series Extended Edition),Part One.


How Important Moments in My Life Would Have Been Different If I Was Shotin the Stomach


My Beard, Reviewed


Circumstances under Which I Would Have Sex withSome of My Fellow Jurors


Words That Would Make Nice Names for Babies, If It Weren'tfor Their Unsuitable Meanings


As a Porn Movie Titler, I May Lack Promise


IneffectiveWays to Subdue a Jaguar


Eleven Lunch Meats I Have Invented


Four Things I WouldHave Said to Sylvia Plath if I Had Been Her Boyfriend


And much, much more, including20 brilliant new lists . . .


Amazon.com Review
Created in Darkness by Troubled Americans: The Best of McSweeney's, Humor Category, a collection from the clever young writers that bring us the McSweeney's literary journal and Web site, and co-edited by their leader, Dave Eggers, is funny from the first page. And by "first page," we mean the table contents. Of course not every essay, list, and swatch of dialogue are created equal, but the collection has many tasty morsels that are well worth a read, a read to friends, and then a re-read, after a decent interval has elapsed.

Most appealing in the book's starting lineup is J.M. Tyree's "On the Implausibility of the Death Star's Trash Compactor." Humorous as well as thought-provoking, this essay makes the perfect amuse bouche for what is arguably the collection's main course of hilarity, "Fire: the Next Sharp Stick?", "Candle Party," and "Unused Audio Commentary by Howard Zinn and Noam Chomsky, Recorded Summer 2002, for the Lord of the Rings: Fellowship of the Ring DVD (Platinum Series Extended Version), Part One," all to be found in the early middle. Though a familiarity with candle parties, Howard Zinn, sharp sticks, and other topics satirized in this book is helpful, it's not necessarily required for understanding the jokes. The biggest risk here is binge-reading, as you may exchange audible laughter for the feeling that you are being force-fed an ice cream sundae. If you pace yourself--say no more than four to six pieces at a time--you should have the energy for the final third, including the funny list marathon at the end. Or save a few portions for later when you are really starving for a good laugh. --Leah Weathersby ... Read more

Customer Reviews (19)

1-0 out of 5 stars Not Much Here
Not much here.I didn't understand most of it.The parts I understood, I didn't like.

5-0 out of 5 stars ...strong feelings that parts were written just for me...
Maybe it hints at my age or "demographic", but I was profoundly influenced and thoroughly troubled by this prose.Chomsky on Middle Earth? Cobra recruiting? The death star trash compactor?It's like it was written just for me!

As a mere imitiation of the original idea, I may try to continue the Star Wars essay concept by creating a marketing analysis on the faulty business model of itinerant Jawa scavengers on Tatooine.It's bugged me for a while, but come on, who starts a family business in the desert looking to collect errant droids?It's the desert! Desert+robot bounty=Return on Investment?Clearly there are much more successful droid scavenger companies out there with a lot less hassle.Amortizing a sandcrawler?The mileage is terrible not to mention the poor fit and finish.Attacks by Tusken raiders?The raiders know where the action is, so why not avoid the unhealthy competition?Sure this work suits the Jawa's disposition, but it's probably safer for them to be a lumberjack, drug dealer, work at Disney, or even be a magician's assistant by far!

Clearly an issue of location, seasonality, and optimization of the Jawa's service industry model.

This book is outstanding.

1-0 out of 5 stars And the Oscar for 'Spot-On Review' goes to...
...Eric J. Baur "Internet Consumer" (for which, see below on the reviews page).

Holy mother of comedy, Batman!Could a 'humor' anthology be any less humorous?I'll position myself slightly to the left(?) of Baur and say, I thought there was more than just one worthy entry in this volume, but no more than half a handful.And by 'worthy', I don't mean in the sense that they were laugh-out-loud funny, but that they prompted a giggle or two -- moments of almost ecstatic relief in an otherwise completely dreary reading experience.

On the other hand, I'll position myself slightly to the right(?) of Baur and say, much as I, too, despise new-SNL, I'd rather be forced -- Clockwork Orange-style -- to watch new-SNL skit after unending skit -- than be forced to read more Egger picks from the McSweeney's humor archives.

Suggestions for future CiDbTA readers (those with copy in hand): 1. read 'chapter' headings (pausing to chuckle occasionally); 2. skip chapter content; 3. deaccession CiDbTA, by any means necessary, from private collection; 4. never speak of this again.

4-0 out of 5 stars Great doorknob
I bought this book thinking it would make a good bookstop. Doorknob. Showstopper. Whatever.
I was quite disappointed. This book is not suitable for any kind of portmanteau. It makes you think, however. I had at least three, not, four thoughts while, before, instead and after reading it. For that, I will be inmensely grateful.

4-0 out of 5 stars Hm.My rating stars may be tainted.
I was so extremely bored by the stories, that the time I got to the lists I was almost falling off of my couch laughing.I loved the lists.Loved.But I must be honest and wonder if this was a true literary effort, or a study regarding the effects of different types of comedy on vaguely intelligent human beings.

If the latter is the case, myself and my boyfriend were tearing the book out of each others hand to giggle endlessly over the absurdity of the contents. ... Read more

19. by Dave Eggers Zeitoun First Edition, First Printing edition
Hardcover: Pages (2009)
-- used & new: US$18.90
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: B0030KRHOO
Average Customer Review: 3.0 out of 5 stars
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Customer Reviews (2)

5-0 out of 5 stars Fast Shipping, great quality, amazing book!
This book is an amazing book about the struggles in post-Katrina New Orleans. It is shocking, inspiring, and even at some points, disgusting. I recommend it to everyone.

1-0 out of 5 stars ridculous on so many levels it boggles the mind
This abominably written book is so lost in space it boggles the mind.All leftist tropes are on full peacock display. All American's racist against Islam (except all those gay Americans who just love Islam):Check , Horrible and evil military: Check, Poor working mother who works two jobs just so she can afford health insurance (doesn't bother to mention that leaves someone else to raise her son (great priorities oh loving mother) The Author is so busy trying to paint his picture (all supposedly steeped in a real life drama)he makes sure little inconvenience stay out of the picture as in Homosexuals are NOT welcome in Muslim society, Muslim's are NOT allowed to convert to other religions and other pretty significant items regarding Islam.He just repeats the phrase that Islam loves all. (and by the way did I tell you American's are Evil and Hate All Muslim's for no reason.)This book is a joke and so poorly written it is a chore to get through. A Big waste of time ... Read more

20. McSweeney's Issue 21 (Mcsweeney's Quarterly Concern)
Paperback: 256 Pages (2006-10-09)
list price: US$16.00 -- used & new: US$5.98
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 1932416617
Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars
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Editorial Review

Product Description

McSweeney’s began in 1998 as a literary journal that published only works rejected from other magazines. Today, it attracts work from some of the finest writers in the country, including David Foster Wallace, Ann Cummins, Rick Moody, and William T. Vollmann. McSweeney's Issue 21 includes work by Roddy Doyle and Stephen Elliott, as well as the triumphant return of Arthur Bradford. There's also new stories (written by secretive and heretofore unknown authors) of beauty and acuity. Determined to find new voices, publish work of gifted but underappreciated writers, and push the literary form forward at all times, McSweeney's Issue 21 proves McSweeney's continued commitment to excellence.
... Read more

Customer Reviews (3)

3-0 out of 5 stars YOU ARE DOOMED. DESPAIR!!
I only read half of the stories in this book and couldn't bear to carry on. Because, my, this is a bloody depressing book! I like McSweeney's, I think it's got a lot going for it but bloody hell, this volume, let's have a little humour! Maybe because it's Sunday night but I'd like something that's not so bloody serious and sober minded!

The first story is by Chloe Hooper called "The Tall Man" and is about the doomed and miserable lives of Aborigines on a remote Aussie island. They're all alcoholics, wife beaters, and generally get abused by the police all the live long day. One of them is beaten to death by a police officer in jail and the police officer gets off. That's the whole story!

The next one is a damn boring Literary story about "modern" love so I won't bother.

Roddy Doyle's story is about dead babies. Rajesh Parameswaran's story is about a simpleton Indian immigrant who decides to become a doctor. He maims a patient and, its implied, kills his wife in the end (who by the way had inoperable ovarian cancer).

Miranda July's story is about a middle aged woman whos in love with Prince William and is taunted by a younger more attractive sister who calls her and tells her all about her varied sexual encounters, taking pleasure in the fact that her dumpy older sis can't get laid. In the end the older sister wishes for a giant earthquake to cover her in rubble.

A. Nathan West's "The Balloon" is the last story I could read in this book and is about an elderly man who loses his wife and is shouted at by his middle aged siblings who think about his upcoming death.

You see what I mean? How utterly miserable the stories in this book are! Read individually they'd probably be fine but lined up in a row like this, it's like being kicked in the balls repeatedly, and, because it's Literary, being told to like it! Urgh, I'm going to read something that's perhaps a bit more balanced and not filled with despair and morbidity all the time. Actually there was one story that had some humour to balance the pathos called "Snakebite" by Arthur Bradford but it was too little too late. And the letters sent to Ray Charles add nothing to the book, they could be added or taken away it doesn't matter.

And also, the design of the quarterlys is usually good. This one's cover looks like it was drawn by a 5 year old and is just an ordinary paperback. Very dull.

Update: I finished the book months after putting it down and despite a number of poor stories there were a couple of gems. Greg Ames' "I Feel Free" is about a man who tries internet dating and winds up with a batty woman and her even weirder ex-boyfriend living with him. The story is funny and well written with a great ending that makes you want to read more of Ames' work.

Joyce Carol Oates writes about Sam Clemens aka Mark Twain in his twilight years. He's 70 years old, having trouble writing his latest book "The Mysterious Stranger" about Satan in 16th century Austria, and is haunted by his daughter Susy who died very young. He begins a correspondence with other young girls whom he calls "Angelfish". One of these correspondences goes badly for the young girl and an increasingly ill Clemens. This is the best story of the collection and asks me once again why I've not read a Joyce Carol Oates book. Well written, interesting story, great characterisation of Clemens (though not having a great depth of understanding about the man can't say how accurate it is) and despite being the lengthiest story at 43 pages, it's the quickest read as it's so good. Pick up the book for this story.

5-0 out of 5 stars Love it so far
This is an excellent collection of short stories.Anyone who enjoys this form of literature should enjoy this collection.

5-0 out of 5 stars Another A+ from McSweeney's
From cover to cover (and especially with the special wraparound flap), this issue is a sparkling example of why McSweeney's is a gem in the literary world.In particular, I appreciated the random letters in their original form written to The Late Great Ray Charles.

And if you've never read a McSweeney's Quarterly Concern, treat yourself and buy this issue.You'll be addicted after reading it and spend all your beer money for more McSweeney's. ... Read more

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