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2017 Reading Challenge

Jill Elizabeth has read 2 books toward her goal of 150 books.
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Book Review: Bibliomysteries by Otto Penzler (ed.)

This was, without a doubt, the BEST short story collection I’ve ever read… I have a checkered past with shorts – I tend to get lured by interim writings from my favorite authors, only to routinely find myself disappointed (either at those tidbits from people I love or at the filler placed around them). Still, like any foolish optimist, I keep trying… I’m SO glad I did, because this was an incredible set of stories from a number of very talented authors.

Normally, I list my particular favorites in an anthology, because I think it’s interesting to see what people like/dislike, but perhaps more importantly because there are usually only a few redeeming graces for me. Not so this time! This time I actually liked – and read – nearly every story in the book. It was a rare exception (Pronghorns of the Third Reich or The Book of Ghosts, for example) that I did not finish one because I could not get into it. There were a surprising number that dealt Nazis/World War II – those are normally not genres that suit me, so there’s no great surprise that those stories were not my favorites. There were a few that I thought were good but not outstanding, but most importantly, there were multiple that I thought were simply fantastic. One of these I had read before (The Caxton Lending Library and Book Depository), but the others were new and absolutely delightful: What’s in a Name (an extraordinary concept!), Book Club, The Book Thing, The Scroll, and It’s in the Book – and one (The Book Case) of them has even sent me in search of its protagonist’s series, which now tops my To Be Read list…

It’s not every day that you get an anthology that includes more big names than random ones, but this one featured a slew of very well known authors (Anne Perry, Jeffrey Deaver, Mickey Spillane), many of whom I really enjoy (Nelson DeMille, John Connolly, Jeffrey Arher, Laura Lippman). Perhaps that explains the book’s appeal for me. Perhaps it is because the collection was curated by the indomitable Otto Penzler, owner of the Mysterious Bookshop in New York City (and an eponymous online shop for those of us who don’t live NYC-adjacent), and a true lover of books and stories. Or perhaps it was serendipity and I found this one at just the right time, when I was in the right frame of mind to enjoy the stories for what they were – delicious snapshots of the importance of books, bookstores, and libraries. Regardless, this was a sheer delight and one I cannot recommend highly enough – even for those of you that, like me, don’t always love the shorts…

My review copy was provided by NetGalley.

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