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Touchstone Anthology of Contemporary Creative Nonfiction: Work from 1970 to the Present
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Touchstone Anthology of Contemporary Creative Nonfiction: Work from 1970 to the Present

4.1 of 5 stars 4.10  ·  rating details  ·  313 ratings  ·  34 reviews
From memoir to journalism, personal essays to cultural criticism - this unique, indispensable anthology brings together fifty unforgettable works from all genres of creative nonfiction. Selected by five hundred writers, English professors, and creative writing teachers from across the country, this collection includes only the most highly regarded nonfiction work published ...more
ebook, 576 pages
Published December 11th 2007 by Touchstone (first published 2007)
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I think this is my faborite of the CNF anthologies right now. I love Lex Williford's into.
This is a very strong anthology with many excellent essays, though at first the 'personal memoir' style was strong and had me thinking I would be turned off by overly intimate or sentimental pieces, the quality of writing was so excellent that I could not hold any objection for long. A few pieces fell flat for me, but that's bound to happen in a collection of this size. That said, there are many standouts that I considered particularly masterful, such as Jamaica Kincaid's 'A Small Place' - a sub ...more
Deb (Readerbuzz) Nance
I’ve been reading on this book, a dab at a time, all summer. It was the required reading for my personal essay writing class this summer. I went to look for it at B&N and it wasn’t there. I was happy to find I could download it, immediately, on my Kindle. An excellent use of my Kindle, as I could carry it with me to Utah and read it while waiting for an oil change and even just before I went to sleep. I had no idea the book had 576 pages; on the Kindle, all books feel equally light.

So what
I've been using this anthology for my creative nonfiction workshop this fall, and think it's a good one for pretty diverse classrooms - rather than being overly thematic, it's got a nice range of styles and approaches, and a couple of really instructive essays (incl. DFW's Consider the Lobster, Anne Carson's Glass Essay, and Eula Biss' The Pain Scale). I wish there were an anthology this extensive of less traditionally narrative essays.
I did not finish this book. I read the first 200 pages and then decided to not read anymore. The essays are almost all very well written and are unique in their style. The Torch Song by Charles Bowden stood out for its powerful writing. However, overall the essays have a dark undertone to them. They speak of morbid subjects and a depraved humanity. I found them shocking, mildly entertaining, insightful on occasion but for the most part draining. I do not quite know why we as humanity equate good ...more
Michael B Tager
Let's just say, it's the only textbook I've ever continued reading after the class ended, doggedly finishing it. Not every piece was perfect, but no fewer than two made me cry.
Ivy Kleinbart
Terrific anthology! One after the next, the essays really do showcase some of the best writing I've encountered in this genre!
Christopher Bundy
Solid collection of creative nonfiction that represents what a beautiful and varied form CN can be.
Wide assortment of essays ranging from humorous to tragic. Some were page turners and some were skipped over as either I couldn't relate or were too horrible to grasp. I found humor, spiritual, intellectual, thought-provoking and disturbing messages throughout. I especially enjoyed phrases that portrayed the author's thoughts in an almost tangible manner that brought words on paper to life. I will re-read some of them in a year or so to see if they change meaning.
This anthology seems to have more than its share of good stuff. Which tells you a lot about most anthologies.

Big favorites, by author last name: Biss, Blew, Bowden, Cooper, Cox, Doty, Earley, Hemley, Kooser, Levy, Martin, Purpura, Selzer, Strayed.

A lot others I could have included. Everything in here is worth reading. Great textbook for an essay writing class.
Mary Cartledgehayes
A brilliant collection of recent essays, chosen from nominations by teaching writers. Jo Ann Beard's "The Fourth State of Matter" is gorgeous and wrenching. Also wonderful: Lucy Grealy, Dinty W. Moore (a friend), Naomi Shihab Nye, Sara Levine, and a Barry Lopez essay that made up for the long, slow slog it took me to get through Arctic Dreams.
note to self: read Interstellar by Rebecca McClanahan
Justin Hughes
I did not know what creative non-fiction was until three months ago, and I can happily say it has become one of my favorite genres. This collection is full of great essays, my favorites being "In Search of Marvin Gardens" and "The Fourth State of Matter". Some are long, some are short... all should be read :)
Love collections/anthologies. And am glad to get in more nonfiction. Stand out essays for me were by Charles Bowden, Cheryl Strayed, Anthony Farrington, Philip Lopate, Bill Roorbach, Kelly Grey Carlisle, Eula Bliss, and Lucy Grealy. Powerful pieces and a great array of inspiring work.
David Legault
Solid anthology that covers a wide spectrum of nonfiction, including a bunch of classics and some newer, weird stuff. We used it in the nonfiction workshop, and I would probably use it if I was teaching a nonfiction course myself.
Whoa, read how the editors chose these titles and you'll see why my writing instructor in Denver uses it and why I'm loving it!
Every author has a different strength/approach, usually brilliantly conceived on the page...
Some excellent essays in this volume. The editors asked teachers which essays they like to teach; it would have been nice to have a few comments on what aspects of each essay got them chosen.
This is an excellent collection of personal and creative non-fiction. I not only enjoyed reading these essays, but found in them able teachers of how to better write my own creative nonfiction.
great collection of non-fiction works. favorite stories include: Visitor (by Michael W. Cox) , Burl's (by Bernard Cooper), Mirrorings (Lucy Grealy), & Repeat After Me (David Sedaris)
Grace Linde
Read this for class--lots of good material! Each essay is its own, covering every genre of CNF. If you like true stories with powerful themes, you will enjoy these highly skilled writers.
Colleen S.
Jun 27, 2012 Colleen S. rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: autobiography fans, memoir fans, CNF writers, CNF readers,
One of the best collections of essays I've seen in a long time. Heavy on the narrative selections, but I'll be using this to teach my undergraduate CNF workshop in Fall 2012.
Read most of the pieces in here for my intermediate creative nonfiction class. I enjoyed many of them, and gained a better appreciation for creative nonfiction.
Liz D
This is a really solid collection, with essays that vary a great deal in style, subject matter, and accessibility.
Edward Montalvo
Great selection of Nonfiction essays. What made me pursue a concentration in Nonfiction essays.
Cindy Zelman
Excellent creative nonfiction anthology for a low price. Filled with the best in CNF.
essays and stories, pretty dark subject matter
Wonderful overview of modern CNF!
Apr 05, 2013 Katherine is currently reading it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: non-fiction
Can't wait to dive into this one.
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“We all share a biology and deep drives, and what we have created---civilization, courtesy, decency---is a mesh that comes from those drives and also contains and tames them. Whatever feels good is not necessarily good. But what I learn is whatever is bad is not necessarily alien to me. Or to you.” 2 likes
“The essay is a modest genre. It doesn't mean to change the world. Instead it says: let me tell you what happened to me.” 2 likes
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