What I'm Reading: American Innovations, by Rivka Galchen

Have you ever used the book reserve system on Barnes & Noble's website?  I work at a mall, so it's ridiculously easy for me to reserve a book and quickly pick it up before I leave work for the day using this system.

 I was on my lunch break earlier this week reading May's issue of Elle magazine where they printed a review of this week's What I'm Reading: American Innovations, by Rivka Galchen.  I impulsively requested the store to set it aside for me; they did it so quickly, I just marched on over there and bought it.

I love a good short story.  I love lots of good short stories. I even love some bad short stories that I wouldn't even recommend despite my love of them.  I confuse short stories with my own life or dreams that I've had.  

I'm not sure I love any of these short stories...

But.  They sure are interesting.

This fairly expensive hardcover book which contains ten short stories is printed by Farrar, Straus, and Giroux and retails for a whopping $24.  I would consider it a fairly obscure purchase, and I probably wouldn't have tracked it down if the aforementioned Barnes & Noble book reserve wasn't so awesome and fast (within 15 minutes of my request did I get a confirmation of reservation).  

My favorite story is titled "Real Estate" and it's about a woman who moves into her aunt's mostly abandoned apartment building only to disappear from the life she lived before.  She encounters a man who may or may not be her deceased father while he was still alive, and there are other space/time issues that are typical of a mundane life.  A short paragraph on ghosts inhabiting buildings left me concluding that the narrator was a ghost, and that made me happy.

One of my favorite parts of reading is discovering sentences or portions from a book that truly reflect life.  Lines that depict a truth as I've never considered it before.  Paragraphs I have to reread several times because they are just so poignant in my life that it could not possibly be a coincidence that particular book could possibly be in my hands right now. 

Are you familiar with this feeling?

There are a few of those moments in this book, the truly reflect life moments. 

Anyway, have an excellent weekend!  If you're in Milwaukee, go eat a crepe at Bastille Days this weekend :)

This post is part of a weekly series on "What I'm Reading."  I'll be talking about whatever book I happen to be reading, and you can look for this series every Friday.