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: 4/22/08

...a transcribed discussion of "Neptune's Navy," by Raffi Khatchadourian, from The New Yorker...

[Paul Watson, the main focus of this piece of journalism, is an environmental pirate on a crusade to save the oceans and "protect the world's marine life from the destructive habits and the voracious appetites of humankind." He is the founder of the Sea Shepherd Conservation Society, which is a vigilante organization that was founded thirty years ago, with one of its ships, the Farley Mowat, a trawler that has nearly sunk three times.] 

Bora: I LOVED IT. Chasing these Japanese speed boats down, it's like fiction, but it has facts to back it up. It's crazy. And the way [Watson] manipulates the law, but doesn't do it illegally. 

Josh: No, I think it's pretty illegal.

Bora: Personally, I agree with [his tactics].

Josh: Either way, it's a great piece, and I really liked it.

Terence: I liked it too because it brings up so many issues, like environmental issues.

Bora: Which I think is very 2007 and timeless. 

Terence: It's global. We've been reading about a lot of environmental issues in 2007. 

...a transcribed discussion of "The White Train," by J. Malcolm Garcia, from The Virginia Quarterly Review...

[Based in Buenos Aires, June 2007, this piece follows cartoneros, unemployed farmers and factory workers who take to the streets to scavenge for a living. The White Train carries them all over the city in the hunt for their livelihood.]

Terence: This tells about a human-rights crisis. It's well-written and has a lot of momentum.

Tanea: I liked it, especially how it started in the beginning; the writing warmed me up.

Osvaldo: I loved the beginning too. I wanted to read more, but we ran out of time. 

Arianna: I loved the whole piece. It was a really cool way to talk about an interesting subject that I know nothing about. It changed writing styles too; that kept me going. It twists. So it's experimental with form and tells an interesting story. It's just what we've been looking for. 

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