The Best American Nonrequired Reading series is a favorite of mine for train reading. The series includes lists, short stories, comics/graphic novels, tv scripts, essays, memoir and other nonfiction pieces that were published throughout the collection year. I’ve chosen 2007 because it’s the one I read most recently, but they’re all great. The series is edited by Dave Eggers, and the pieces are chosen by high school students from the San Francisco Bay area who participate in Eggers’ writing center.
My favorite pieces from this collection are a profoundly upsetting story about Hurricane Katrina, called “American Cheese,” by Joshua Clark, and a short story by artist/filmmaker Miranda July called “How to Tell Stories to Children.” There’s also a hilarious list called “Best American Names for Horses Expected to Have Undistinguished Careers.” Great stuff.