Like William Adama, I am not a loaner of books. A giver of books, surely, but a loaner, no. When I hand over a book, I assume it’s gone forever, and if I really like it, I pick up a new copy for myself. This quirk is based on my own foibles: I am terrible when it comes to returning phone calls, emails, and good books.
Luckily for me, my friend Amy is a much more generous soul. When she came to visit me in the hospital (and when a friend sees you looking that bad and still gives you a hug, she’s a keeper), she brought her favorite book, Thisbe Nissen’s collection of stories Out of the Girls’ Room and Into the Night, to keep me company. [Amy and my neighbors Katie and Elena also performed many miraculous acts of cooking and kindness over those ten days, for which I am eternally and profoundly grateful.]
It’s simply wonderful. Every story is engaging, every character wholly realized. One story might make me laugh, and another might make me feel like my stomach had fallen to my feet. These are tales of the perilous nights and days of youth, ranging from cold midwest college towns to the Nevada desert and Manhattan’s apartment landscapes. And I’d almost forgotten the pleasure of reading short stories; like biting into a perfectly ripe pear, with the accompanying satisfaction of finishing the whole thing in one sitting.
That said, I can’t wait to read Ms. Nissen’s novels. Thanks Amy!