It's right there in the books' titles: BEST. So you can't go wrong with any of these newly collected short stories and essays. A formidable institution in the book world, The Best American Short Stories anthology has been published annually since 1978—meaning, it's probably older than you are. And you may have heard a little something about this year's Pulitzer Prize-winning guest editor, some writer named Jennifer Egan, who whote A Visit from the Goon Squad? We think she's quite qualified to select the best short stories published in magazines in 2013. And, hey, maybe some of our own phenomenal NYC-inspired short stories will make it into next year's book? Fingers crossed. Similarly, The Best American Essays has been around since 1986, and brilliant guest editor John Jeremiah Sullivan has curated a selection of rich, witty and thought-provoking pieces from writers like Zadie Smith (NW), Vivian Gornick (The Men in My Life) and James Wood (How Fiction Works).
You can catch the editors and contributors at two upcoming events: The essay anthology launches Friday, October 17, at BookCourt and, as part of this year's Selected Shorts' programming, the short story collection will celebrate with Egan and author T.C. Boyle at Symphony Space on Wednesday, November 19. But before the festivities, get acquainted with some of the included works, which are very handily available online. Go forth and be brainy.
"Strange Beads" by Wendy Brenner, from Oxford American
"The Devil's Bait" by Leslie Jamison, from Harper's Magazine
"Dear Friend, From My Life I Write to You in Your Life" by Yiyun Li, from A Public Space
"The Breeze" by Joshua Ferris, from The New Yorker
"This Is Not a Love Song" by Brendan Mathews, from Virginia Quarterly Review
"Mastiff" by Joyce Carol Oates, from The New Yorker