An eclectic volume introduced by David Sedaris and compiled by Dave Eggers and students of his San Francisco writing center, who don’t leave a stone unturned in their search for nonrequired gems. Cover art by art by Maurice Sendak.
David Sedaris's unflappable inventiveness translates, in the first section of this anthology, to a smattering of pieces with giddiness, daring, and heart. A particular highlight, by Wendy Molyneux, earned his award for "Best American Woman Comedy Piece Written by a Woman" and is guaranteed to set off snorts of delight with each re-read. In the second section, as in previous years, Eggers's picks prove solid and balanced, if expected. Rana Dasgupta's superb article, exploring India's new wealth and subsequent fallout, as well as David Rhode's profound and gripping account of his seven months as a Taliban hostage reflect not only the literary achievements of 2009, but also the horrors and complexities of these current times on. Meanwhile, Tea Obreht's "The Tiger's Wife" and Kurt Vonnegut's "The Nice Little People" embody the ageless miracles of surprise and originality that comprise the human imagination. (Oct.)