Today Amazon shares with set of books – “Best American” Series 2011. The “Best American” series is the premier annual showcase for the country’s finest short fiction and nonfiction. Today only, the 2011 anthologies of short stories, science & nature writing, essays, “nonrequired reading,” mystery stories, travel writing, and sports writing are just $1.99 each. Here are short description of each book in the collection with some reviews on them.
The Best American Short Stories 2011 includes:
Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, Megan Mayhew Bergman, Jennifer Egan, Nathan Englander, Allegra Goodman, Ehud Havazelet, Rebecca Makkai, Steven Millhauser, George Saunders, Mark Slouka, and others.
“I am a big fan of short fiction, and I am always looking for opportunities to read a good short story or two. In the years gone by, when I was not as busy with my work, I’d probably read a story or two a week, mostly in the New Yorker or some similar magazine with a literary bend. Recently, though, I’ve drifted away from those publications and don’t get a chance to read short stories as often as usual. I still make a point of going through the “Best American Short Stories” collections at the end of each year. They keep me abreast of what has been written lately, but each year’s edition can swing widely in terms of the quality of writing. I felt that in recent years stories, incredibly literary and well-written as they were, have become stale and too workshop-like. Fortunately, after reading this year’s collection I have a renewed sense of optimism about American short story. In my opinion, this is perhaps the best collection in three to four years and well worth reading.
The first few stories in this collection did not really impress me all that much. The American authors still seem to be more obsessed with the inner states of the protagonists minds, interpersonal relationships, and overall moods and sentiments than they are with the plot development and a delivery of just good old storytelling. However, the quality of the stories picked up and soon enough I was reading stories that had a lot of emotional impact and had you thinking and coming back to them for days after I finished reading them. A few of the stories that stood out for me were Nathan Englander’s “Free Fruits for Young Widows,” Ricardo Nuila’s “Dog Bites,” and George Sunders’ “Escape From Spiderhead.” Many others took chances with the narrative style, plot twists, and the points of view. They were as interesting and provocative as they were well written. Overall, I am really happy with this year’s choices and hope to see many such good stories in the upcoming edition of this collection.” –Dr. Bojan Tunguz
The Best American Mystery Stories 2011 includes:
Lawrence Block, Brendan DuBois, Loren D. Estleman, Beth Ann Fennelly and Tom Franklin, Ed Gorman, Richard Lange, S. J. Rozan, Mickey Spillane and Max Allan Collins, and others
“Ranging from homespun to lush and tropical, this year’s crop of 20 stories offers a variety of tastes and textures.
But exotic doesn’t always mean compelling. Charles McCarry’s “The End of the String,” set in Africa, lumbers like an elephant toward a conclusion as momentous as a mouse. “Diamond Alley,” Dennis McFadden’s quiet tale of small-town teens confronting the murder of a popular classmate, packs a far greater punch. Family stories are equally powerful. In Christopher Merkner’s chilling “Last Cottage,” a young couple tries to outlast a neighbor determined to oust them from their waterfront home. Across cultures, mothers protect. In Richard Lange’s “Baby Killer,” Blanca struggles with an acting-out granddaughter. And although embarrassed by her profession, a Chinese mother helps her detective daughter in S.J. Rozan’s “Chin Yong-Yun Takes a Case.” An absentee father’s return challenges a wife who’s moved on in Joe R. Lansdale’s “The Stars Are Falling.” But Chris F. Holm shows in “The Hitter” that sometimes the greatest threat is to the dads themselves. Families don’t always grow through birth or marriage, as Beth Ann Fennelly and Tom Franklin reveal in “What His Hands Had Been Waiting For.” And of course, some families are just plain toxic, as Lawrence Block’s “Clean Slate” and Loren D. Estleman’s “Sometimes a Hyena” aptly demonstrate. But nasty behavior isn’t just a family affair. Eric Barnes shows teenagers wreaking havoc for no particular reason in his slow-moving “Something Pretty, Something Beautiful.” And in “A Long Time Dead,” Mickey Spillane and Max Allan Collins show that evil can turn up where it’s least expected.
It has its highs and lows, but the best of Coben’s Best is really first-rate.” — Kirkus
The Best American Science and Nature Writing 2011 includes:
Atul Gawande, Jonathan Franzen, Deborah Blum, Malcolm Gladwell, Oliver Sacks, Jon Mooallem, Jon Cohen, Luke Dittrich, and others
“I’ve been reading this series for more than ten years. It has consistently been the single best way for the harried resident of the 21st century to come up to speed on what is going on in the crazy, achingly beautiful, wonderful world of well done science. This issue….it is simply the best ever. You want thrills and chills? Occasionally like to read something scary enough to give you a tingling spine and goosebumps? Do you enjoy having your mind subjected to a scientifc Shock and Awe campaign from time to time? Are you the type that has been known to lapse into a nirvana like state when exposed to repeated “Eureka!” moments, pummeled into bliss by overdoses of intoxicating insights? Well, then. If your answer is yes to any or all of the above questions, drop that trashy beach novel, toss that overly serious mono-topic non-fiction tome that you’re dutifully, with all the determination of a nuclear powered icebreaker, forging through, and buy this book. Buy it yesterday, and enjoy it for many tomorrows.
I’m not going to list each story’s theme. But here’s what you can expect: the best contemporary science and nature writers of 2011 allow you to see outward into the universe with the power of the Hubble Space Telescope, look inward with the detail of tunneling electron microscopy, and most importantly of all, allow you to look into an extremely highly polished mirror. And you’ll see in this mirror, in exquisite detail, how we humans react when confronted with birth, life, sex. How we act when our desire for gastronomic delicacies threatens the existence of a non-human species. What we do when long held assumptions shatter into a bazillion little bits, like the safety glass in car windows, when new evidence explodes, or implodes, a more comfortable and more familiar way of looking at life. Does this all sound too melodramatic, too grandiose? Well then. You’ll also found out why eating slightly ripe, or very ripe, food out of dumpsters might actually be good for you. And cheap, to boot.
Sometimes, just once in a while, artists (in this case, writers), lift science out of the dry text book pages, out of the logical march of mathematical equations, and hold the nature of this world that we live in up for inspection with such clarity, such luminescence, that awe is the only response one feels capable of. Which this book does, 25 different times in a row.” –Daniel Murphy “Dan Murphy” (Redmond, OR USA)
The Best American Essays 2011 includes:
Hilton Als, Katy Butler, Toi Derricotte, Christopher Hitchens, Pico Iyer, Charlie LeDuff, Chang-Rae Lee, Lia Purpura, Zadie Smith, Reshma Memon Yaqub, and others
“Best of Anthologies often catch a lot of flak on Amazon, but this year’s Best American Essays is superb. I’ve loved each piece I’ve read. Individual pieces cover a variety of topics, styles, and backgrounds. Two of my favorites so far are Pico Iyer’s “Chapels” which is a meditative piece about finding quiet, and Madge McKeithen’s “What Really Happened,” which I can’t even describe here because I would mess it up.
The pieces in this anthology will expand your worldview and deepen your understanding of all the ways we are alive and human.” — Happy Epsilon
The Best American Nonrequired Reading 2011 includes:
Daniel Alarcón, Clare Beams, Sloane Crosley, Anthony Doerr, Neil Gaiman, Mohammed Hanif, Mac McClelland, Michael Paterniti, Olivier Schrauwen, Gary Shteyngart, and others.
“The BANR 2011, besides having the most interesting and fun short fiction, non-fiction and assorted other offerings, is unique in its creation, being the product of lots of time and effort by high school students. They have chosen a little something for everyone: a wonderful essay about Roger Ebert, two funky and interesting story length cartoons, many short stories that make you think, and, of course, the best “wikileaks revelations” of 2011!! Based on your personal taste, you may not like everything in this book, but I know you will like a lot of it. Let’s hear it for non-required and fun reading!!” — L. Jackson
The Best American Travel Writing 2011 includes:
André Aciman, Christopher Buckley, Maureen Dowd, Verlyn Klinkenborg, Ariel Levy, Téa Obreht, Annie Proulx, Gary Shteyngart, William T. Vollmann, Emily Witt, and others
“The criteria for selecting the pieces that make up this collection are stated in the Forward and in the Introduction to this collection of essays. Travel writing isn’t guidebook information and a series of lists. Rather it is storytelling and approaching a place or certain locale from a different perspective that illuminates the subject matter by storytelling. It is a window into life as we don’t know it. It presents the unexpected.
The travel writing in this anthology does just that. Each author presents life in a new and different light that makes the reader pause and think. We are given insight into the culture, geography, and history of a certain place or people through another’s observation, description, analysis or comment.
The beauty of this collection is in the variety of places in the individual pieces and the particular voice of each author. Some essays are light and playful while others are quite serious. Ben Austen’s “Southern Culture on the Skids” is a far cry from William Vollmann’s “A Head for the Emir.” Annie Proulx’s “A Year of Birds” could also be described as excellent nature writing. “Miami Party Boom” by Emily Witt displays an edgy youth culture totally unfamiliar to suburbanites.
I’m not sure the articles in this volume are the very best of travel writing today since there is so much published in print and online, but each of these articles did provide the unexpected in an entertaining manner. Each essay presented a new experience for the reader, giving meaning to present life in an engaging manner that was fresh, original and creative. That’s what I like.” — Anne Burnik
The Best American Sports Writing 2011 includes:
Paul Solotaroff, Sally Jenkins, Wells Tower, John McPhee, David Dobbs, Wright Thompson, P. J. O’Rourke, Selena Roberts, and others
“I buy this book every year for my brother at Christmas. He looks forward to it and he expects it! He likes the variety of stories written by excellent journalists and authors.” — C. Register “Rubeslippr”
Also, today Amazon offers to download a game for your Kindle Fire for free – Aces Traffic Puzzle Pack
Parking Lot Blues
Honk! Honk! You’re trapped! You’re stuck in a crowded parking lot, so you must use masterful strategy to maneuver the cars and clear a path for your grand escape. With 480 different puzzles, Aces Traffic Pack is a challenge for even the most sophisticated drivers. This puzzler offers 80 puzzles per level from Novice, Amateur, Rookie, Pro, All Star, and finally Ace. You’ll always have to come up with a new escape plan.
Get those limos out of the way
The bird’s-eye view of each parking disaster provides a clear field of vision and perspective. For further ease of use, apply the gridlines to help visualize your next move.
King of the Road
You can’t be a road king if you don’t keep track of your stats. Aces Traffic Pack keeps a variety of records. Keep tabs on your overall stats, level stats, and even stats for specific puzzles. The online high scores and statistic tracking adds a competitive element, so you can compete against yourself or challenge a friend to beat your best time or lowest move count. See which puzzles you’ve easily escaped, which are giving you traffic nightmares, and which ones you’ve haven’t solved yet.
Aces Traffic Pack features colorful backdrops of cityscapes with open starry skies and the rumbling of car engines. The racecar-themed interface is intuitive and easy to navigate, but there’s nothing easy about figuring out your escape route.