Adult/High School-Arranged by themes, the stories in this terrific collection can be read both for enjoyment and for literary merit. They were written by established as well as recently published authors and include works by Anton Chekhov and Myla Goldberg. Topics range from crimes of passion to the humdrum of everyday life, and the tales' brevity and cutting-edge themes will appeal to busy students. Many of the pieces deal with contemporary issues like one-night stands (Pam Houston's "Sometimes You Talk about Idaho"), cheating (Ethan Canin's "The Palace Thief"), world destruction (T.C. Boyle's "After the Plague"), intolerance (Z.Z. Packer's "Brownies"), and the impersonal workplace (Daniel Orozco's "Orientation"). Each story is captivating; some are shocking. The selections are great examples of how writers use words to craft great literature. Interviews with Jhumpa Lahiri, Boyle, and Hannah Tinti provide additional insight into the writing process.-Pat Bender, The Shipley School, Bryn Mawr, PA Copyright 2004 Reed Business Information.