• Who Will Run the Frog Hospital?

    Lorrie Moore

    kind of a fictional memoir of a middle-aged woman as she reminisces to herself about her best friend at fifteen. the familiar tone enriches the story, and the recounting of returning to her hometown after a long absence rang especially true. though the frog theme stuck into my subconscious in a bizarre way.

  • A Fine Balance

    Rohinton Mistry

    i kept noticing people reading this on the train and then laura was reading it when i visited her in montreal. it turns out it’s an Oprah book, which is probably why so many people were reading it.

    i like epics lately — this one takes place...more

  • The Perks of Being a Wallflower

    Stephen Chbosky

    i tend to like books written as letters or diaries, as i tend to have a harder time reminding myself it’s not real. the concept of anonymous letters from a freshman in high school written to a mysterious older person he doesn’t actually know somehow emphasizes that, even with the few awkward parts that struggle to maintain the weird...more

  • Rapture

    Susan Minot

    i think i got books mixed up. i remember looking at a book in a store recently and thinking it sounded good. i also saw this book and remembered how i read Minot’s book of poems several months ago. somehow this became the book i wanted to read, but i can’t recall the other book at all. i glanced at...more

  • The River of Lost Voices

    Mark Brazaitis

    written by one of sandi’s professors at wvu, these stories are all set in guatemala. it’s a little weird reading stories about guatemala from the perspective of a white american, but he seems to bring light to the tense and...more

  • Ship Fever

    Andrea Barrett

    the back of the book claims these are “set against the backdrop of the nineteenth century.” i don’t want to nitpick or anything, but several are mostly set in the twentieth century and two are set in the eighteenth century.

    the stories all hinge on the sciences — from genetics to zoology to public health to several other...more

  • The Stories of John Cheever

    John Cheever

    i only read about a third of this, since 700 pages of short stories seemed like a bit much all at once. even if i have been reading so many short story collections lately. these are set mostly in nyc, various times between the 1930s and 1950s with a range of class focuses. Cheever has exciting insights into his characters. i loved the slightly...more

  • Close Range

    Annie Proulx

    sometimes i don’t know if it’s that the stories get better as they come or if it just takes a few to get into the general feel. having been in wyoming last year, it’s nice to have a sense of how attuned the descriptions of scenery and atmosphere are in this collection. the longer stories are easy favorites: “Pair of Spurs”...more

  • A Tree Grows in Brooklyn

    Betty Smith

    i’m surprised i never read this when i was younger, and reading it now, i wish i had read it then. it’s a coming-of-age story set in williamsburg (long before it was hip and fucked up) at the turn of the century. there are so many wonderful things about...more

  • Circling the Drain

    Amanda Davis

    it’s kind of morbid that i sought this book out after reading Davis’s obituary in march. she also published a novel entitled...more