The Best of the Rest presents the work of 77 of America's most talented local newspaper columnists from 41 states. They represent the "rest" because editor Sam G. Riley has excluded nationally syndicated columnists in order to expose to a wider audience many equally talented columnists whose fame generally is localized. The columnists chosen for inclusion were "nominated" by a nationwide panel of 100 journalism professors--two from each state. Those writers who agreed to participate either self-selected their two favorite columns or sent a larger sampling for the editor's choice. For this first such book on local columnists, Riley has concentrated on news columnists, personal or general interest columnists, and humor columnists, exempting those who write more or less exclusively on topical areas, such as sports, business and finance, fashion, or travel. In his lively and insightful introduction, Riley identifies three main characteristics of newspaper column writing much in evidence in these selections: humanity or people-centeredness, wit, and freedom of approach. He also sketches a brief history of newspaper column writing and provides a sense of what local columnists do, offering his opinion that "being a columnist is the most fun a person can legally have at a newspaper." The selection of columns makes for delightful reading and will be instructive and inspiring to journalism major students and other students of writing. A selective bibliography is included.