Book 35: The Best American Essays (2015) edited by Ariel Levy

This book has a fairly transparent title; it is indeed an anthology of essays from 2015, compiled for quality. They’re all quite good, some better than others. Though it’s certainly not a book I’d have picked up at random, it was a good one!

I was assigned this book for my CNF workshop, and luckily it was quite the pleasant read.Our assignment was broken up over a couple of weeks, so I started it before book 33, but I’ve just now finished it up. If you’re keeping up with me on Goodreads you’ve probably noticed that my currently reading shelf is a mess, and it’ll probably be that way for quite a while!  

I’m a huge fan of nonfiction, as I’ve mentioned here a handful of times, and though I usually go for memoirs I quite enjoyed several of these essays. Topics ranged from childhood, love, marriage and children, life and death, countercultures, near death experiences, and more.

A few of my favorite essays are as follows;
Tiffany Briere’s “Vision”
Meghan Daum’s “Difference Maker”
Malcolm Gladwell’s “The Crooked Ladder”
Margo Jefferson’s “Scene’s from Negroland”
Tim Kreide’s “A Man and His Cat”
David Sedaris’ “Stepping Out”
Zadie Smith’s “Find Your Beach
Cheryl Strayed’s “My Uniform”
Kelly Sundberg’s “It Will Look Like a Sunset”

I enjoyed most of the essays, even a few more than are listed above (some weren’t as public as the NYT, Guernica, etc. articles were, and some I didn’t feel quite as drawn to for various reasons). There were only a handful of essays here that I found to be lackluster, though most of them were probably just not to my taste.

There’s definitely a handful of essays here with feminist themes, but the whole book isn’t centered around it, so don’t get your hopes too high. I thoroughly enjoyed the majority of them, and if you’re into CNF it’s worth the price and time.

The Best American Essays 2015

I give this book a 9/10.

Happy reading,


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