The Best of McSweeney's
Founded with the mission of publishing only works rejected by other magazines, Timothy McSweeney's Quarterly Concern--just McSweeney's to its fans--has developed into a hip but high-quality destination for short fiction, poetry and sundry other formats from well-known names like Michael Chabon and David Foster Wallace to unknown and unpublished writers waiting for discovery. The eminently collectible issues have appeared in hardcover, paperback, cube shape, a box of separately bound pamphlets and other constantly changing formats.
In commemoration of its 15th anniversary, The Best of McSweeney's draws from the journal's entire run to present cutting edge fiction from Zadie Smith, Jonathan Lethem, Jonathan Ames and a host of others. In Roddy Boyle's "New Boy," what seems to be a case of school bullying turns into an observation of the curious way friendships can form. John Hodgman explores human nature and the cutthroat marketing world through an offbeat and hilarious dialogue between three cavemen in "Fire: The Next Sharp Stick?" Edwin Rozic and Aleksandar Hemon's "The New, Abridged Dictionary of Accepted Ideas" easily skewers modern life with short entries such as, "Death--Negative thinking." Also included are excerpts from the comics issue as well as a selection of letters to the editor--which constitute a genre unto themselves.
The Best of McSweeney's is the perfect gift or indulgence for any discriminating reader--except possibly for the deluxe edition ($55 boxed set, 9781938073601), which also includes some of the most popular objects accompanying the magazine over the years. --Jaclyn Fulwood, youth services manager at Latah County Library District and blogger at Infinite Reads