Working Men, Michael Dorris: Loved it (most of it. I think I skipped one story). It was haunting and familiar. Regardless of the mystique around Dorris’ personal life, the guy could write.
The Little Disturbances of Man, Grace Paley: Wow. Her sense of voice is unparalleled. There was one story in particular that had me bawling my eyes out. It was the one of the single mother with the two boys (one named Tonto).
The Lifeguard, Mary Morris: It took me a while to warm up to this collection. Some stories were better than others. My two favorites were the last: “Moon Garden” and “Glass Bottom Boat.” I think Morris might be one of those writers who crafts such simplicity that she makes it look easy, when it’s obviously not.
Body, Harry Crews: Ouch. Not for the overly PC, this book jumps right into the thick of a caricature of Southern Fried culture and those who worship the body beautiful and does not let up until the explosive ending. It is funny (often to the point of being offensive and downright cruel), clever, weird and oddly touching. I know I’m late to the game in reading it nearly 15 years after it came out but I found it as relevant today as I’m sure it was then. It is not soon that I will forget the tragic Shereel, the loyal to a fault Nail, the hirsute Motor and the obese Earline (with her Associates degree in Problems of Living). What a cast of characters.
“Sub,” by Robert Kurson, Esquire, July 2004: intriguing story of deep-sea treasure hunters and their attempt to uncover the wreck of a German U-boat. (by the way, did you know that Lance Armstrong is dating Cheryl Crow? I found out in Esquire. Why is it I find that strange?)