The Best American Essays 2000

The Best American Essays 2000

By Lightman; Alan Lightman (Editor); Robert Atwan (Editor)

Houghton Mifflin, Hardcover, 9780618035786, 256pp.

Publication Date: October 2000


As this acclaimed series celebrates its fifteenth year, Alan Lightman, the best-selling author of Einstein's Dreams, has assembled a diverse, very personal collection of the year's best short nonfiction, writings that celebrate the essay as an independent genre unlike any other. In his introduction, he declares that the ideal essay is "not an assignment, to be dispatched efficiently and intelligently, but an exploration, a questioning, an introspection . . . It thrashes and moves, like all living things." These pieces embrace stylistic freedom and strong opinions while affording the reader a fascinating view of work in progress, offering a front-row seat as the writer's mind struggles with truth, memory, and experience.
This year's selection features extraordinary essays by such renowned writers as Mary Gordon, Edward Hoagland, Jamaica Kincaid, and Wendell Berry as well by some talented new voices, on a delightfully dizzying variety of subjects. Andre Aciman wrestles with memories of remembering Paris, and William H. Gass delivers an exuberant defense of the printed book as a safe port in the data storms of the information age. Peter Singer views world poverty with an ethicist's eye, and Andrew Sullivan maps the spread of hate crimes in America.
"The qualities I treasure most about these essays are their authenticity and life," Lightman writes. As this volume of THE BEST AMERICAN ESSAYS demonstrates, this unique literary form continues to thrive as a creative outlet for some of America's finest writers.

About the Author

Alan Lightman, Ph.D., currently Senior Lecturer in Physics at M.I.T., received the Association of American Publishers Award for the best book in physical science for Origins. His writing appears in the "Atlantic", "Granta", "Harpers", "The New Yorker", "The New York Review of Books", and elsewhere. He is the author of "The New York Times" bestseller, "Einstein's Dreams" and "Good Benito".

Since the inception of THE BEST AMERICAN ESSAYS in 1986 as a trade book title, Robert Atwan has been series editor. He has published reviews and essays in a range of periodicals and edited many other literature anthologies. Atwan most recently edited two collections of poetry with a biblical theme: CHAPTERS INTO VERSE by Oxford University Press and DIVINE INSPIRATION by Oxford University Press.

Praise For The Best American Essays 2000

Alan Lightman makes his mark on the always outstanding collection [that] seems to outdo itself each year."

Boston Globe