The Best Creative Nonfiction, Vol. 1

Narrative nonfiction at its cutting-edge best from writers at the cusp of recognition and fame.

Lee Gutkind, proclaimed the "Godfather behind creative nonfiction" by Vanity Fair, along with the staff of his landmark journal Creative Nonfiction, has culled alternative publications, 'zines, blogs, podcasts, literary journals, and other often overlooked publications in search of new voices and innovative ideas—essays and articles written with panache and power."The Truth About Cops and Dogs," by Rebecca Skloot, describes a vicious pack of wild dogs, preying on the domesticated pets of Manhattan. Monica Wojcik's "The w00t Files," for the chic geek crowd, comes directly from John McPhee's famous Literature of Fact workshop at Princeton, a launching pad for famous young writers. Daniel Nestor, of McSweeney's and Bookslut, explains James Frey, while the very overweight Michael Rosenwald becomes a Popular Science nearly nude centerfold in a quest for knowledge about high-tech diagnostics.

Reviews from Goodreads.com

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By sydney (Somerville, MA) · ★★★★☆ · January 03, 2008
Sometimes I get bored reading nonfiction- but this book lived up to its name. I really enjoyed Eula Biss' "The Pain Scale" (comparing her experience of chronic pain to the numeric "pain scale" they use to quantify pain in medical settings), Rebecca Skloot's "The Truth about Cops and Dogs" (her in... ...more
By Rebecca (New York, NY) · ★★★☆☆ · December 27, 2008
Stories in this anthology fall into predictable categories. The better, more coherent and structurally sound pieces are those selected from major publications ("The Truth About Cops and Dogs," from New York, "Wild Flavor," from Paris Review, "The Cipher in the Room," from the Seattle Post-Intelli... ...more
By L. (Evergreen, CO) · ★★★☆☆ · August 12, 2013
It is difficult to review a collection comprised of a genre rather than a theme, comprised of dozens of authors, rather than the renowned or requited works of one. Do you let your favorite stories, masterful and mindblowing, cast a halo around those that required sheer force of will to work throu... ...more
By Abby (Chicago, IL) · ★★★☆☆ · March 10, 2008
I finished this book while out of town and then immediately lent it to someone to read "The Pain Scale." So, I can't write the thorough review of it I wanted to, but will hopefully do so when I get the book back.

Overall the book was better than I expected, but uneven as compilations usually are.... ...more
By Lisi (Kalamazoo, MI) · ★★★★☆ · February 23, 2008
I received this book for Christmas and then read it in Puerto Rico. It was perfect for my short attention span on the beach.


North Pole, South Pole, Sea of Carcinoma was an essay written by Dev Hathaway about the last year of her life after receiving a diagnosis of renal cancer (a bad deal). I ha... ...more
By Roewoof · ★★★☆☆ · June 16, 2013
I normally find reading or reviewing anthologies as tedious, because there is so much good mixed in with the bad. This particular anthology started off strongly, the stories in the beginning were beautifully written, the subjects were interesting and kept my attention. Towards the end of the book... ...more
By Kati (Ooltewah, TN) · ★★★★☆ · September 10, 2012
Creative non-fiction is one of my favorite genres to read and this book demonstrates why. While not every selection struck me, the whole book was worth it just for "North Pole, South Pole, the Sea of Carcinoma" by Dev Hathaway, a radiantly-written account of the author's last year of life. Readin... ...more
By Lee (Melbourne, 07, Australia) · ★★★★★ · February 18, 2015
I really loved this anthology. I love how inventive the structure of the many included works there is and how many of them are really bordering on poetry. A great variety of topics too, including eating competitions, chronic pain and Italian migrants in the USA. ...more
By ModCloth (San Francisco, CA) · January 11, 2010
Being that I wanted an overview of current creative nonfiction, I thought this would be a good place to start. Published by the Pittsburgh literary journal of the same name, I found a good mixture of creative nonfiction styles and topics. A few of the essays I couldn't get into such as Biss's "Pa... ...more