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Short Takes: Brief Encounters with Contemporary Nonfiction

3.87  ·  Rating Details ·  213 Ratings  ·  16 Reviews
In the years since the perennially popular In Short and In Brief were published, readers have come to delight in the deft focus of the succinct piece we now call The Short. Extending this trend, Short Takes presents over seventy-five writers whose range and style demonstrate the myriad ways we humans have of telling our truths. Themes develop and speak to or collide with o ...more
Paperback, 400 pages
Published July 17th 2005 by W. W. Norton & Company
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Apr 28, 2016 Amanda rated it really liked it
Although some of the essays were not my cup of tea, I did enjoy a lot of the essays within this book. Usually, I hate books that professors assign unless they're classics, but this book was really something special. It was a collaboration of all of the most amazing creative nonfiction writers of our time, and I really appreciated it as more than just homework.
The best of the anthologies of nonfiction shorties -- which is not a genre I love, but one I have some fondness for. I used it in a 200-level Autobiographical Writing course and my students got a lot out of it. Huge range of work and (for me, teaching at a Tacoma, WA univerity) a delightful emphasis on Northwestern authors. I love that there are more writers from Western WA than from NYC!
Judith Shadford
Oct 15, 2014 Judith Shadford rated it it was amazing
What a marvelous collection of "brief encounters" with a stunning collection of writers and essays. I really think you can't get a better editor than Judith Kitchen. And what was truly breathtaking was how the mini-collections are gathered and then segue into the next little collection: we to I, water flowing throughout the collection, colors, time itself, all circling and expanding, flowing underground and coming down from the sky--water, yes, but the essays themselves.
Thomas Moore
Jun 11, 2014 Thomas Moore rated it really liked it
A really great intro to some fresh voices in nonfiction. The essays in Short Takes range in subject matter and tone; some profane and others profound. But they all have a unique voice.
Jun 14, 2016 Karen marked it as to-read
Satisfying Quick Reads for Short Attention Spans

Short Takes uses the concept of flash fiction and applies it to non-fiction: true stories told with a constraint on length.
May 25, 2013 Kate rated it liked it
Recommends it for: shad fishers, rural dwellers, imps
Recommended to Kate by: a patron
Shelves: essays
"Insofar as my images of North encode a message, an assumption about life, it is that circumstance is fundamentally adversarial; human relations are difficult; resolution (never mind transcendence) is unlikely; and the best one can do is to keep one's own counsel, hold fast while enduring disappointments and defeats, and accept that the highest human goal is to greet fate with dignified composure."

"Take my name from me and make it a verb. Think of me when you run out of money. Remember me when y
Mar 17, 2014 Alison rated it liked it
Shelves: essays, cnf
Ok, apparently I'm never, ever going to be able to finish this book. It's been on my "Currently Reading" shelf for, um, ever. Wish I guess is a sign that it's not exactly been calling out to me. However, I remember at least one great piece by Stuart Dybek, lots of great reading overall, and, several instances where I thought it could serve well as a teaching device. However, I still haven't read all of the book. Someday ...?
Maddy Hayes
Aug 18, 2011 Maddy Hayes rated it it was amazing
There was a great selection of nonfiction in the book. I had to read some of it for school, but I ended up finishing the entire thing. Top six favorites:
Brief History of My Thumb by Lucia Perillo
Capital Realism by Ann Pancake
Confession by Stuart Dybek
The Ghetto Girls' Guide to Dating and Romance by Sonja Livingston
Signs and Wonders by Rebecca McClanahan
Winter Wheat by Anne McDuffie
Sep 13, 2007 Melody rated it liked it
Uneven but absorbing collection of essays. Standouts include Barbara Hurd's 'Moon Snail' which is well worth the price of admission, and made me vow to find more by her, right away. It put me in mind of Annie Dillard at her grittiest. Also noteworthy was Michael Perry's 'The Big Nap'- visionary, quiet, and revelatory. A collection worth picking up.
Jun 09, 2013 Anna rated it liked it
Shelves: own
This is a nice introduction to short nonfiction, if that's a genre you're unfamiliar with. There are some gems and some exceedingly boring pieces. I'd encourage skipping the ones that feel like they drag. Seriously. Few of the stories are over 10 pages; if you're bored in that little time, might as well move on to the next one.
Brad Johnson
Nov 24, 2011 Brad Johnson rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: Anyone who wants a new look at non-fiction.
Recommended to Brad by: Required to read for writing course.
I had to read this book as part of a Creative Non-Fiction class. I wasn't clear as to what "creative non-fiction" is, but I understand now. This book is full of wonderful examples of the genre. I highly recommend giving it a read.
Sonja Livingston
Jan 10, 2010 Sonja Livingston rated it it was amazing
Part of a Kitchen's series of anthologies which showcase diverse approaches to the brief essay. A collections of little gems, a must have for nonfiction teachers and writers, or anyone who loves short nonfiction.
Apr 05, 2010 Joan rated it liked it
What I learned...I prefer longer essays to short ones, in the way I prefer novels(or trilogies or longer) to short stories. It just takes some time to develop ideas to the extent that satisfies me.
Karl W.
Aug 27, 2012 Karl W. rated it it was ok
Shelves: essays
Pretty much a waste of time, although there were a few interesting pieces. Still, a disappointment overall.
Feb 07, 2009 Bekah added it
I learned how great it is to read short bites of creative nonfiction.
Jul 30, 2010 Bill rated it really liked it
Some great stuff and some total crap.
Marie marked it as to-read
Sep 23, 2016
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Traci B marked it as to-read
Aug 28, 2016
Lisa Hayes-Minney
Lisa Hayes-Minney rated it really liked it
Aug 28, 2016
Valerie marked it as to-read
Aug 20, 2016
Meghan McClure
Meghan McClure rated it it was amazing
Aug 17, 2016
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Kevin Thrasher marked it as to-read
Aug 15, 2016
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Aug 11, 2016
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Jul 24, 2016
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