Since I never seem to get around to writing about what I’ve been reading, book by book, I thought I’d just put three books in one basket. Baby, You’re Gonna Be Mine by Kevin Wilson is a collection of short stories and it is most like the books I usually read, though I can’t at the moment define what that might be.
So, I’ll talk about the most unusual book, at least in my maturity. I used to read Stephen King in my (relative) youth and when a new book of short (short for King) stories popped up at the library, I thought “Why not give this a whirl?” When Winter Reading started I was in-progress with If It Bleeds, the title of one of the four (?) stories, page-turners, all. It’s all about plot with King and though he tends to be long-winded these stories churned right along. Thinking about Evil was not what I should have prescribed for myself, though.
It gets worse, in terms of scaring myself silly, because after I finished King I read Lawrence Wright’s End of October. Wright is a Texas author and I saw him on a pandemic panel during the virtual Texas Book Festival. He wrote this book before the novel coronavirus emerged, which seems uncanny but, of course, many scientists had seen it coming. He just chose this subject for a novel and did his research, which he used to imagine something very like what we’re going through. The 1918 pandemic was a model, but there are fascinating reasons for it having been swept under the rug–not that that was in the novel, that was from the panel discussion. Anyway, the book’s course is initially true-ish to our experience but it goes beyond that experience to posit terrifying things. May it not be so.
So, Kevin Wilson’s stories were a relief though the emotional tenor of the stories is not simple, is not without sadness; but sadness is combined with humor and wit, and that is a balm. These stories are so absorbing that every new one wipes the previous one from your mind. The thing about short stories is that the author must create a world quickly for the reader to dive into. I dove in, and am glad I did. I can’t remember where I heard about Baby You’re Gonna Be Mine. I’d like to read one of Wilson’s novels.
By the way, I listened to all three of these books. It was just a matter of what became available first. Sometimes there’s a shorter line for audiobooks and ebooks than for book books at the library.