• @85@A true essay is @95@ldquo;something hazarded, not definitive, not authoritative; something ventured on the basis of the author@12@s personal experience and subjectivity,@95@rdquo; writes guest editor Jonathan Franzen in his introduction. However, his main criterion for selecting @28@The Best American Essays 2016@018@ was, in a word, risk. Whether the risks involved championing an unpopular opinion, the possibility of ruining a professional career, or irrevocably offending family, for Franzen, @95@ldquo;the writer has to be like the firefighter, whose job, while everyone else is fleeing the flames, is to run straight into them.@95@rdquo;@87@ />@87@ />@28@The Best American Essays 2016@018@ includes ALEXANDER CHEE, PAUL CRENSHAW, JAQUIRA D@95@Iacute;AZ, LAURA KIPNIS, AMITAVA KUMAR, SEBASTIAN JUNGER,@87@ />JOYCE CAROL OATES, OLIVER SACKS, THOMAS CHATTERTON WILLIAMS@28@ and others@018@@87@ />@95@#160;@87@ />JONATHAN FRANZEN, guest editor, is the author of five novels, most recently@28@ Purity,@018@ and five works of nonfiction and translation, including @28@Farther Away@018@ and @28@The Kraus Project.@018@ He is a member of the American Academy of Arts and Letters, the German Akademie der K@95@uuml;nste, and the French Ordre des Arts et des Lettres.@87@ />@95@#160;@87@ />ROBERT ATWAN, the series editor of @28@The Best American Essays@018@ since its inception in 1986, has published on a wide variety of subjects, from American advertising and early photography to ancient divination and Shakespeare. His criticism, essays, humor, poetry, and fiction have appeared in numerous periodicals nationwide.@86@