Aaron's Reviews > The Best American Nonrequired Reading 2010

The Best American Nonrequired Reading 2010 by Dave Eggers
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Jun 28, 11

Read from June 18 to 24, 2011

Another year, another great BANR. It's hard to review this kind of thing as a whole volume, because for me at least every year some articles are good and others don't quite cut it. Here are some of my favorite stories from this volume, and a bit about each:

"Like I Was Jesus" by Rachel Aviv
- At first I thought this was going to be a cynical take on an overly evangelistic organization, but Aviv shone a humanistic light on leaders of what I first perceived to be a cult-like offshoot of Christian fundamentalism. It defied my expectations, which I liked.

"Capital Gains" by Rana Dasgupta
- It's hard to summarize the entire colonial legacy of India and connect current events to deep-seeded roots in a relatively short article, but Dasgupta paints a pretty decent picture of the incredible amount of wealth and power the rich minority elite possess in a burgeoning world power.

"Ideas" by Patricia Pron
- Children in a small community start going missing one by one, inexplicably drawn away from their homes by a growing number of their fleeing peers. Pron channels philosophic adolescence into broad reaching topics to ponder, namely that adults view children more conceptually than pragmatically.

"Tent City USA" by George Saunders
- Great piece on a tent city in Fresno, CA. At first I was thrown by the third person narration, but it works as a great literary device in this piece about being an outsider among those on the very outside of society. Look this up on GQ for some pictures that compliment the story.

"Freedom" by Amy Waldman
- An international prison doesn't know what to do with convicts that are being released but denied entrance to any country on the planet, and so an island dubiously dubbed "Freedom" is created. Social experiment gone horribly wrong, valid solution to a complex problem or perhaps a little of both? Waldman succinctly weaves a tale of being free within the confines of larger systems.
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