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In Short: A Collection of Brief Creative Nonfiction
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In Short: A Collection of Brief Creative Nonfiction

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3.76 of 5 stars 3.76  ·  rating details  ·  139 ratings  ·  14 reviews
Something is going on out there. Almost simultaneously, many of our finest writers are experimenting with a new nonfiction form: brief pieces that are literary and personal rather than informational, complete in themselves, and short—very short. Although the form has not had a name until now, the writers who are atrracted to it include the known—Tim O'Brien, Barry Lopez, T ...more
Paperback, 336 pages
Published July 17th 1996 by W. W. Norton & Company (first published July 1996)
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Jenny (Reading Envy)
I would not recommend reading this volume the way I did - several short pieces in a row without a break. These kinds of very short pieces are better enjoyed when you can read each one multiple times and savor them between other things. It is because of my method that I discovered how carefully the editors assembled the shorts, how one follows another in theme or one small detail that carries over. Brilliant, but I found it hard to connect with some of them. I think when you put a bunch of short ...more
penny
Aug 11, 2008 penny rated it 5 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: emerging writers, readers, everyone
Recommended to penny by: Britt
How do I review a book I enjoyed so much that moments after reading through it once I immediately started back on some of the shorts I really enjoyed and found inspiration from?

what words can I choose to describe a book that proves to me that essays need not be the length of the average New Yorker article to be powerful?

The essays chosen and the order they were laid out (which the editors stress is not the way one needs to read them in) left me with a braid of stories, of thoughts, of words whic
...more
Myles
I'm not so sure about the editors' assertion about there being a mass movement towards the 'short' in non-fiction writing, but they make for excellent reading.

The styles vary as drastically as the quality, like any collection. There are two ways of reading this, one being to flip back and forth, picking and choosing at will in any particular order. That was how I first read this as part of a class, each of us picking several stories over the course of the semester to either read out loud or (for
...more
Abe Brennan
The premise behind this collection is that, for whatever reason, a collective effort at compression in nonfiction has suddenly occurred. The editors note that in some ways this is nothing new (E.B. White, among others, penned short essays decades ago), but they are convinced that a cultural trend is developing, one spurred, at least in part, by the frenetic advances of our technological age and their effect on our attention spans. This trend, they claim, results in writers producing various snip ...more
Mellodi Parks
In short, (ha that wasn't intentional at first, but I am leaving it there.) I loved every one of these essays. It shows the true form of how these types of works are written and also why these writers are indeed good a what they do.
Steven
Most of the authors delivered true artistry with their short nonfiction work in this collection. The choice of words and story architecture had to be perfect in order to render a story in a limited number of words.
James
As is to be expected with collections of any genre of litersture there is quite a diverse spread of stories, diverse in style, subject and my appreciation.

There are some genuinely beautiful pieces as the stories wend there way alongh a loosely contrived journey.

I started reading this with the misconception that it would be simple, what with it being a book of short writings. It is quite an intense read as ideas, cultures, observations and emotions are thrown at you at a quite dizzying pace.

It wa
...more
Demisty Bellinger
Dec 04, 2008 Demisty Bellinger rated it 4 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: Folks who want to read nonfic, but don't want to read a memoir
Recommended to Demisty by: Creative nonfiction professor
Creative nonfiction's answer to flash fiction (or short-shorts or whatever you want to call them). There are some big names here, like Maxine Kumin, Tobias Wolff, Michael Ondaatje, Joy Harjo, Henry Louis Gates, Jr., Rita Dove, Sherman Alexie, and many more. And these are really short selections! The longest piece is probably around five pages. It'll make a great bathroom reader.
Jolie
Oct 02, 2012 Jolie rated it 4 of 5 stars
Shelves: 2012
There are quite a few gems in this collection of short (less than 2,000 words) essays that cover a wide variety of topics from top notch writers. Highly recommended, for both the lovely writing and the insight they provide. Thanks, Christopher! :)
Titus Hjelm
I'm fascinated by the genre, but somehow this collection didn't quite carry it to the end. Might be my dislike of nature writing, but also perhaps shorts should be enjoyed in limited quantities. Just a thought...
Nicole
Was looking for nonfiction to use with my regular-level high school students. I wasn't able to find anything useful in here so far. I'm looking for something of high interest, am this is disappointing so far.
Hannah Jane
I gave this 5 stars because of Pico Iyer's "In Praise of the Humble Comma," which is hands down the best essay I have ever read.

I also greatly enjoyed the rest of it as well.
Eleanor
Beautiful language, but it was hard to discern the point of some essays.
Bill
These are excellent, short essays. Impressive.
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