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Literary fiction, classics, dystopian, history, memoir, prize winners, and of course the 1001 books. You really might catch me reading anything!

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Empire of Cotton: A Global History
Sven Beckert
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Some odd little short stories

Pastoralia - George Saunders

Published in 2000, this book was somehow completely off my radar. The six short stories in this volume all feature people who are generally unhappy. They are unhappy for different reasons, but every one of them is trying their best, and none are wallowing in their unhappiness.

 

Pastoralia, my favorite of the stories, features a man who is working as a caveman in a museum exhibit. Living at the museum full time, he is trying to make enough money for his young son's medical treatment.

 

Another story features a young man working as a stripper of sorts, trying to support his aunt, his two cousins, and each of their young children. With no education and no other options, his aunt makes a plan.

 

The other 4 stories also feature men--boy to middle aged--who are unhappy in their lives. None have given up. In many ways these stories reflect the common theme of unhappy people, but Saunders gives his characters agency that they act on.

 

With under 200 pages, this book is a quick read and highly recommended for fans of short stories and unusual story lines.