Just a middle-brow reader who loves a good story, recipe or how-to.
Scouting for the Reaper is a collection of 8 short stories, the first 6 of which seem to be connected in their settings, themes, and mood. At turns melancholy and touching, there was a certain cohesiveness. Love lost, love and legacies hoped for, parents with pasts and precocious teens.
Like most short story collections, it is best read in several sittings. I had to relearn not to try reading them too close together, as I could only take so many days of melancholy before I had to put the book down. Or more accurately, close the file on my e-reader for a while. So it was surprising, once I finally sat down to read the last two stories, to find that they were a complete departure from the first 6 and, along with the 5th story of a woman pouring all of her empty-nester affection into a rabbit, were easily my favorites. The seventh story, “Hazardous Cargoes”, provides my favorite line on page 162 of the e-book:
“Nothing more basic than wanting to see another guy’s penguins flailing around in a ditch.”
After reading, and very much enjoying, Jacob M. Appel’s novel The Biology of Luck I was interested in reading some of his shorter fiction and I was lucky enough to win an e-book copy of Scouting for the Reaper in a booklikes giveaway, courtesy of the author.