Exclusive: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt announces new 'Best American' guest editors

I’ve always loved Houghton Mifflin’s “Best American” anthologies and find myself dipping in and out of most of them during the course of the year — especially Best American Short Stories, which is flavored differently each year, thanks to the varied guest editors. Here, below, is Houghton’s lineup for 2010. I loved that they tapped Bill Buford (Heat) to edit Best American Travel Writing, and I’m pretty excited about Richard Russo and Lee Child, too.

The Best American Short Stories 2010: Richard Russo

The Best American Essays 2010: Christopher Hitchens

The Best American Comics: Neil Gaiman

The Best American Nonrequired Reading: Dave Eggers (guest introducer: David Sedaris)

The Best American Science and Nature Writing: Freeman Dyson

The Best American Mystery Stories: Lee Child

The Best American Travel Writing: Bill Buford

The Best American Sports Writing 2010: Peter Gammons

The Best American Noir of the Century: Otto Penzler and James Ellroy (this title, a hardcover, won’t be a part of the annual series — it’s a stand-alone)

How about it, Shelf Lifers? which one will you be most interested in?


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  • orville

    Best American Nonrequired Reading? The title alone is fantastic, but with Eggers and Sedaris? I’m there.

    I’ve had many of the others on standing order for my library (I’m the technical services librarian) for many years now, so I can’t wait for them to start trailing in.

    • noam

      the non-required reading series is the best. it’s actually edited by a high school class at 826 valencia, and they do such a good job…

    • Erkan

      Alice Fricke – Great pictures! I loved their urban feel, just right for a New Jersey/New York wniddeg. And they really captured the emotions of the day, how much everyone enjoyed it! Alice

  • jason in mi

    Where’s Best American Poetry?

  • RK

    And I thought they were just a paper company in Scranton.

  • Rob

    Hitchens? Blecch. Thumbs up for the rest, though–can’t wait to read that noir collection.

    • Augusto

      Je1 to myslel i naapsl faplně norme1lně Luke1ši. Neber to hned jako fatok.a0A co se tfdče počtu obe1lek, tak se mi spojilo slovo osm a obe1lky dohromady.a0Zmfdlenfd MdS

  • Erin

    Ummm… Poetry???

  • Josie

    Essay, but Non-Required Reading is a close second, for sure … I have plenty of friends who are going to be psyched at the choice of Neal Gaiman for comics.

  • JP

    Non-Required, short stories and comics

    • Wilguerre

      Cathleen Rittereiser – I had tears in my eyes after looking at these piuecrts. I wasn’t there, but these piuecrts made me feel like I was, they’re so moving. You really captured the joy, and Melissa looked just radiant. I also loved the fun, family group photos. Well done.

  • Justin

    Best American Short Stories will be amazing..Richard Russo is sure to pick some quality stories..I read them every year, can’t wait!!

  • Alexia

    Neil Gaiman for the comics collection!!!

  • Ed

    While I am excited to read some of these (non-required reading, short stories, essays), I must admit that I am a bit let down by the guest editors all being male (and I think white, but not fully sure about that one). I’d like to see a more diverse list, because then we’d might get more diverse literature.

    • Hugh

      Agreed! maybe another series entirely edited by women is in order …though i don’t mean to seperate the one collection into two , it would be interesting to see the different choices they would each make…

    • Lauren

      There’s been a LOT of diversity over the years… Last two editors of Best Stories were Alice Sebold and Salman Rushdie… I think the fact that they didn’t care or notice that it was a year of all white men is more a sign of how open they usually are than anything else — they’re so diverse they don’t even have to worry about it.

  • Kristen

    Eggers and Sedaris, I’m laughing already. On the other hand, Dyson is a heavy weight. Not my usual choice of reading but I may have to check it out.

    • Pedro

      Bryan no, I hate to admit, I’d never heard of them. And it’s got Alex Skolnick (from Testament) on guitar that guy is aeoswme! I’ll have to check them out.The name just came from all the stories being so short (300 words or less is our rule).

  • JJ

    What, no women or blacks were available to be editor? I for one am interested in diversity of opinion. Bleh, you people…

  • TW

    …or Asians, or hispanics

  • MP

    Where’s the Best American Poetry?

    • Jean

      Uneducated or ignorant? I think uesntereitnd is a better word. Can u tell me on top of your head the history of Benin and the type of their government and their internal issues? You need also add the fact that foreign tourists are extincting species in Iran, so they are even less exposed to International issues.Additionally, I think because the state media over reporting the conflict, people tend to ignore it completely (suppose a telemarketer calls you every day to sell you the same product).There’s also a resentment coming from the fact that people think that while poverty is wide spread in Iran, there’s no justification for spending the oil money on Palestinians and Hizballah.There’s a mutual common racist feeling among Arabs and Iranians. Each side think that the other side is inferior (For that matter I have heard Arabs plainly say in their sermon that they are superior to the whole world) . The eaters of lizard and grasshopper is a title that commonly used in Iranian gossip circle to address Arabs. The best way to mobilize all Iranians is to tell them that somebody called Persian Gulf , Arabian Gulf . That also probably plays a role in turning Iranian away from paying more attention to the conflict and the region.Add the Shia-Sunni fight to it and it should be clear why they don’t care that much.The majority of people who need to care, are employees of the ministries of truth (such as memebrs of IRG and their families). They have to participate in the mandatory Two Minutes Hate and Hate Week in 1984 style. So, obviously, they believe in the governmental version of the story.

  • Michael Schiavo

    The Best American Poetry series is completely unrelated/unconnected to the others, like Best American Music Writing. David Lehman started it on his own volition with Scribner in 1988.

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