This series of anthologies is a perennial favorite at PopMatters. The 2009 editions of The Best American… Travel / Science / Short Stories / Mystery Stories / Science and Nature / Comics / Sports / Essays and the playfully titled Nonrequired Reading (excerpts from current works by authors such as Philip Connors, Nathan Englander, Denis Johnson and others, ed. by Dave Eggers and Marjane Satrapi) are brilliantly curated collections. The reputable series’ editors and guest editors (who are leading writers in the field) are sharp readers who cast their net widely then pull it in slowly to capture the finest representation of essays and stories for the pleasure and edification of the discerning generalist. Between these pages you’re likely to find an article from, say, The New Yorker that you were absorbed in earlier in the year, but you’ll be happy to find the quality pieces you missed—that the editors didn’t. See the list of the entire series here on Amazon.