Guest editor John Jeremiah Sullivan chooses some heavy stuff for The Best American Essays of 2014; tales of sexual abuse, miscarriage in Mongolia, alienating illnesses, foreign deaths, candid sexual promiscuity and obsessive contemplation (even of joy) dominate the collection, but there are two "lighter" essays and both are worth reading:
1) "The Old Man at Burning Man" by Wells Tower, which describes a trip the narrator and his dying father take to the bizarre post-apocalyptic festival out in The Black Rock Desert in northern Nevada;
2) "Slickheads" by Lawrence Jackson, a description of a Baltimore gang war in the '80's between the Woodlawn slickheads and the Oxford preps . . . the language in this one is wild, inventive and colorful-- "yeah, they was popping and breaking, helicopter and all that, but that shit is for tourists"-- and there are lots of nicknames-- Pretty Ricky, Knuckles, Meechee, Charm Sawyer (and, if you listened to Serial, then you'll appreciate the references to Leakin Park).