Most helpful positive review
21 of 23 people found the following review helpful
on October 19, 2008
I just picked this book up yesterday, and I found 48 stories by 48 different authors to keep me busy for quite some time. As a student of fiction writing, it is great to have a collection of contemporary stories, "of which nearly all were written and published in the twenty-first century." Although there are many stories that could not be collected here, Joyce Carol Oates and Christopher R. Beha selected a great range of short stories. The first lines, alone, of these stories are worth the price of the book. For example, Rick Bass begins "The Hermit's Story," with "An ice storm, following seven days of snow; the vast fields and drifts of snow turning to sheets of glazed ice that shine and shimmer blue in the moonlight, . . ." or Sherman Alexie who begins "The Toughest Indian in the World," with "Being a Spokane Indian, I only pick up Indian hitchhikers." These lines are wonderful, giving the reader just enough to stir up interest. These are character driven stories. These are not stories to be read once and tossed aside. They are stories to return to, to study, to savor. I've finished half of them, but I have no favorites, and there are none that I dislike. Although too big for a back pocket or a handbag, this is a collection that should go with you when you travel, relax, sit by the beach, or when you curl up in your favorite chair.