About The Best American Nonrequired Reading Committee

Our selection committee consists of a handful of high school students. One
contingent is in the Bay Area and a second is in Ann Arbor, Michigan.
These students help Dave Eggers edit The Best American Nonrequired Reading.
Daniel Gumbiner is the book's managing editor; Henry W. Leung and Jia Tolentino
are the assistant managing editors facilitating the committee in Michigan.

This collection, published by Houghton-Mifflin, compiles the country's best
fiction, journalism, essays, comics, and humor every year, and introduces
a large readership to dozens of new writers and publications.

The Best American Nonrequired Reading committee comprising
students from dozens of different high schools meets nearly every week of the
year to read, debate, and compile this offbeat but vital anthology.

Want to say something to us? Contact the BANR committee at
nonrequired@gmail.com. We'll read everything you send us.

Meeting: 1/29/08

...a transcribed discussion of "Y," by Marjorie Celona...

Naomi: "It was one of those stories, plain and simple, I enjoyed reading, and I felt it was a very complete portrait of what it attempted to depict. It told about childhood. It's a coming-of-age story, which bothers me generally, but this didn't bother me. When I talk about what it's about, I don't like the idea, but I liked reading this story. It changed my mind."

Sarya: "I liked it. Just the process; it has a lot of detail in the life process of a girl. It rang true to me."

Arianna: "But what about the tone? It starts out one way, and I was initially drawn to that, and then there was a jarring change."

Naomi: "It just wasn't so chronological because she's talking about it from her perspective, about certain things she couldn't remember."

Tanea: "If I had a bum-eye, I would describe it how other people would describe it."

Terence: "I think in the perspective of another person and how he would think about things about me. The way that I think would do justice to another's perception."

Carmen: [Says nothing and only shows a thumbs up.]

Yael: "You know how people on facebook write about themselves in their bios, like how they're really fake because they're trying to make themselves sound really cool?"

Bora: "I think part of it is that coming-of-age is an awkward process, so it's hard to write about it. It's hard to read about it too. You know when you're watching a movie, and you feel embarrassed for a character and it hurts for you too? I felt like that while reading this."

Here are some other coming-of-age books and movies the students believe got it right:
The Dead Poet's Society
Catcher in the Rye
The Dangerous Lives of Alter Boys
Laurie Halse Anderson books

Here is one coming-of-age movie that Bora thought got it wrong:
Star Wars

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