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The Best American Short Stories 1999

(The Best American Short Stories)

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3.92  ·  Rating details ·  757 ratings  ·  60 reviews
Rookie of the Year


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Paperback, 448 pages
Published October 29th 1999 by Mariner Books (first published October 1st 1999)
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3.92  · 
Rating details
 ·  757 ratings  ·  60 reviews


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Jen
Aug 10, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: short-freebie
This was one of the stories Levar Burton read on his LB Reads podcast.

I really enjoyed this one. The character and those around him were described so realistically I felt like I was there on the train with The Professor. Having commuted via train for a good portion of my career, I completely get "knowing" those on the train and platform that take the same train. I would recognize certain people and if they weren't there one day, it felt like the day was "off" somehow.

Which was captured perfectl
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Giddy Girlie
May 06, 2008 rated it really liked it
In a lot of the reviews it said that THIS is the book to own of all the current collections, and I have to say that I agree. Not that I have read the rest, but this collection is fascinating. Several times I found myself yelling at the book to stop withholding the next part of the story! 30 pages is too short! What happens next?! Needless to say, I have some new authors to hunt down.

Plus, this book was a thrift store find for me, and it has special significance because it's inscribed with beauti
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Margie
Jan 29, 2009 rated it really liked it
Shelves: collections, series
Definitely among my favorites from this series. I think Tan's choices give a more distinct flavor to this collection - I repeatedly found myself thinking, "Yep, this is something Amy Tan would choose." I liked that. I mean, what's the point of having a celebrity author as guest editor if they're not going to impose their taste?
...and the stories are good, too, natch.
Nancy
Apr 06, 2019 rated it really liked it
This short story by George Harrar had a bit of a Twilight Zone vibe- Walter, a staid man who craves routine, has his train commute schedule upended to his dismay and doesn't know what to make of it. While plausible explanations are given, the reader needs to decide was the story edging into magical realism, or was it simply odd coincidences that led Walter down a different (and possibly better) path?
Bonnie
Mar 22, 2018 rated it liked it
The everyday of life can be habitual and ordinary. Get up. Go to work. Buy food. Go home. Sleep. At the end of the week meet with friends to blow off steam. Begin again.

When something changes within the ordinary it can both throw us off and also create an adventure.

Paraphrasing what Levar Burton asks at the beginning of this reading: What do you do when something changes/upsets within your routine?
Karlan
Mar 21, 2018 rated it liked it
Shelves: levar-burton
Interesting and sneaky. I'm not sure I really liked to protagonist or his attitude toward the woman in the story. As always, LeVar is a great reader.
David Blaylock
Mar 20, 2018 rated it it was ok
OK, but not great.
Hester Rathbone
Feb 29, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: home
I love love LOVE the Best American Short Stories collections. I keep one in my car at all times. It's so much easier to keep that in the car instead of any book that I'd have to read front to back. I can just pick this up, read a story over lunch, and then put it down again.
I loved several of the stories in here - "The Piano Tuner" by Tim Gautreaux, "Mrs. Dutta Writes a Letter" by Chitra Divakaruni, and "The 5:22" by George Harrar. It's always so wonderful to see how each edition varies from on
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Clark
Jul 29, 2008 rated it it was ok
For a collection of the best american short stories of an entire year, this was pretty pathetic. There were a few bright lights, several pretty decent stories, and an awful lot of terrible stories. Best stories: "The Hermit's Story", "The Sun, the Moon, the Stars", "Marry the One Who Gets There First", "Live Life King-Sized", "The Uncharted Heart".

Worst story by far: "Mrs. Dutta Writes a Letter". What an incredibly unthoughtful, tepid and prosaic work of fiction.
Chrysten Lofton
Apr 12, 2018 rated it liked it
3.0⭐ “Often he listened to his short wave, and the crackling sound of far-off voices seemed to him as if coming from a large immigrant family living on the other side of the thin walls.”
**Spoilers**


I’m on the 22nd episode of LeVar Burton Reads, and gifted with “The 5:22” by George Harrar.

Stephen King said, “I think reality is thin, you know, thin as lake ice after a thaw, and we fill our lives with noise and light and motion to hide that thinness from ourselves.” I love when writers take on
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Ryan
Aug 11, 2017 rated it liked it
Probably a few more stinkers than usual, and I didn't always vibe with Amy Tan's love of the uncanny or fairy-tale-like, but on the whole, plenty to enjoy here. In particular, I was pleased to be so completely won over by Jhumpa Lahiri, whom I'd been avoiding after reading a very tedious story of hers some years ago. "Interpreter of Maladies" was the arguably the best of the set.

Favorites in rough order of preference:
* Jhumpa Lahiri - "Interpreter of Maladies"
* Alice Munro - "Save the Reaper"
* N
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Gregory
Jul 11, 2018 rated it it was ok
Amy Tan uses her opportunity as guest editor to write her autobiography, which isn't surprising considering the rest of her work centers almost entirely on her. Tan's egotism notwithstanding, this might be the worst of the series. It is so evidently an effect of Tan's own proclivities it makes 1999 look bad as a year for short stories, of which I am certain it was not. Junot Diaz's "The Sun, the Moon, the Stars" and Tim Gautreaux's "The Piano Tuner" are the only efforts from this collection I en ...more
Mark
Jun 21, 2018 rated it it was ok
Perhaps I'm a bit too dense to understand what the author was trying to convey. Maybe it was about how anything in your life can change, and nothing is for certain? So, if that were the case, then sure this does the job, but honestly it doesn't make for a great story. Hearing about a guys train commute is just plain dull..LeVar does a great job as always, but this is another strikeout for me on the LeVar Burton Reads Podcast.
Brenda
May 22, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Excellent collection. Diverse, interesting stories. My favorites were: The Sun, The Moon, The Stars by Junot Diaz, Live Life King-Sized by Hester Kaplan, Save the Reaper by Alice Munro, The Rest of Her Life by Steve Yarbrough.

This collection also features Melissa Hardy, Jhumpa Lahiri, Lorrie Moore, and Annie Proulx, to name a few.

I look forward to reading more in this series.
LiteraryMania
I enjoyed this short from the Levar Burton Reads podcast and of course, Levar's narration was wonderful, as always. It was surreal and entertaining, but as other reviewers have mentioned, it's almost too understated. I felt like the author could have made it a little more impactful, but while I did enjoy reading it, I'd forgotten just about everything about it only a week later.
Sophie
Aug 13, 2018 rated it it was amazing
I enjoyed this collection so much more than the 1998 selections by Garrison Kiellor. It is difficult to pick a favorite. "The Uncharted Heart" by Melissa Hardy stands out and "The Best Girlfriend You Never Had" by Pam Houston did too.

Now on to the 2000 Best American Short Stories. Fingers crossed it will be as good as this one.
Eva Ebert
Mar 31, 2018 rated it liked it
From the LeVar Burton Reads podcast.
The middle bit, in which everything starts to disappear works very well, but I got to say that the ending felt too neat for my taste.
Kelly
Apr 03, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Every time I relisten to this book, I learn something else about myself, my life, the people around me.
Shelly
Dec 23, 2018 rated it really liked it
Great little story about routines, everyday strangers and what could happen if you change things up just a bit.
Peter Crockett
May 21, 2017 rated it it was ok
Really uneven collection. Quite enjoyed a few; many left me with nothing.
Kerynne T
Mar 30, 2018 rated it really liked it
It's a semi simplistic yet eye opening tale about seeing things you may miss if you never bother to take the time to look up.
Rune
Mar 27, 2018 rated it it was ok
It kind of feels like an episode of the twilight zone. It reminds us that life is changeable and that we need to not take it for granted.
Jessie
Mar 21, 2018 rated it it was amazing
This great little story was read on one of LeVar Burton‘s podcasts. It had an Alfred Hitchcock vibe.
Emily
May 31, 2018 rated it really liked it
Delightful.
M.M.J. Gregory
Nov 30, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favorites
Captivating and thought provoking, just as a short story should be.
John Stinebaugh
Sep 23, 2018 rated it really liked it
Is it a daily frustration or the dynamics of fate?
Suzanne
I only read 7 out of the 21 stories but there are another 6-7 I would like to read.

My favorites, and authors I would like to check out are...
- Marry the One Who Gets There First by Pam Houston (from 'Other Voices', really liked style of writing, definitely see what else she has written) **** */*

- Ms. Dutta Writes a Letter by Chitra Dinakaruni (published in 'The Atlantic Monthly', good story, check out other stories/books) ***

- The 5:22 by George Harrar (published in 'Story', check out other st
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Jerry
Jul 09, 2016 rated it really liked it
Amy Tan was the “pro” editor of this collection, and in the introduction she says she tended toward short stories with a bare amount of fantasy in them. Those stories, in my opinion, are the best in the book, starting with Rick Bass’s The Hermit’s Story, about walking under a frozen lake to avoid the cold in Canada’s winter.

Stephen Dobyns’s Kansas is another standout, which I can’t really describe without spoiling the effect.

Nathan Englander’s The Tumblers involves a small Jewish community tryin
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Ariel
Mar 15, 2008 rated it really liked it
Shelves: short-stories
Noteworthy/memorable:

The Hermit's Story is one of those "man's relationship with nature" stories that manages to maintain a convincing tone of wonder and suspense throughout the story.

The Sun, The Moon, The Stars is one of my favorite stories and my first introduction to Junot Diaz. The style is raw and real, and the plot so typically human.

The 5:22 is simple, feel-good short fiction that builds character well and then shakes it up wonderfully.

The Best Girlfriend You Never Had is a rambling sto
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Jaine
Jul 01, 2011 rated it really liked it
One of my favorite short stories is featured in this collection: "The Sun, The Moon, The Stars" by Junot Diaz.

By far, TSTMTS is my favorite Diaz short story. In fact, I read it aloud to myself occasionally (just read it aloud a few nights ago). Whenever I re-read this story, I'm in heaven and I feel like I'm spoiling myself. I used to carry around a copy of the story with me for a while.

I think (don't quote me) Diaz said that after he finished writing TSTMTS that he was shaking.

God, the writin
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Amy Tan (Chinese: 譚恩美; pinyin: Tán Ēnměi; born February 19, 1952) is an American writer whose works explore mother-daughter relationships and what it means to grow up as a first generation Asian American. In 1993, Tan's adaptation of her most popular fiction work, The Joy Luck Club, became a commercially successful film.

She has written several other books, including The Kitchen God's Wife, The Hun
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