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

4.10  ·  Rating Details  ·  353 Ratings  ·  36 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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(showing 1-30 of 866)
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Elizabeth
Jun 04, 2009 Elizabeth rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I think this is my faborite of the CNF anthologies right now. I love Lex Williford's into.
1.1
Jun 27, 2014 1.1 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
...more
Rae
Dec 14, 2008 Rae rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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.
Stefanie
There were several really great essays in this collection, and as an essayist, I got a lot of instruction and ideas for my own nonfiction writing. There were a handful that I didn't much care for, but that's almost always the case when it comes to large collections. I'd definitely recommend for writers and teachers as well as nonfiction readers.

My one gripe is with all anthologies that use a random organizational structure, like alphabetical order. It's probably great for people who like to skip
...more
Courtney
I started reading this years and years ago when I took Creative Writing: Creative Nonfiction as an undergrad. I don't like to leave (good) books unfinished, so I kept this by my bed forever and would pick at it every once in a while. At once point, it was swapped with a friend while I borrowed his copy of The Screwtape Letters.

This collection is absolutely wonderful.

Yes, it's an anthology/textbook/long mess, but it is certainly worth a read, even if you open it at random to choose a story willy-
...more
Abhishek
Jun 19, 2016 Abhishek rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: non-fiction
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
Jan 11, 2015 Michael B Tager rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Aug 05, 2014 Ivy Kleinbart rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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.
Alyssa
Aug 11, 2015 Alyssa rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Favorite anthology.
Cyndi
Feb 21, 2012 Cyndi rated it really liked it
Shelves: school
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.
Ryan
Mar 01, 2008 Ryan rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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.
Daniel
note to self: read Interstellar by Rebecca McClanahan
Justin Hughes
Mar 07, 2014 Justin Hughes rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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 :)
Anittah
Feb 15, 2014 Anittah rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
The canon!
Jennifer
Nov 10, 2011 Jennifer rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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
Jan 01, 2010 David Legault rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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.
Judith
Dec 02, 2008 Judith rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves:
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...
Joan
Sep 03, 2009 Joan rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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.
papasteve
Aug 12, 2009 papasteve rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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.
Kelsey
Mar 20, 2013 Kelsey rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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
May 23, 2013 Grace Linde rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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 it was amazing  ·  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.
Kristina
May 05, 2014 Kristina rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Oct 09, 2013 Liz D rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: essays
This is a really solid collection, with essays that vary a great deal in style, subject matter, and accessibility.
Edward Montalvo
Oct 28, 2013 Edward Montalvo rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Great selection of Nonfiction essays. What made me pursue a concentration in Nonfiction essays.
Cindy Zelman
Jun 06, 2013 Cindy Zelman rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Excellent creative nonfiction anthology for a low price. Filled with the best in CNF.
Nicole
Aug 20, 2009 Nicole rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
essays and stories, pretty dark subject matter
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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
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