Friday, October 03, 2003

A New Author for Me

I recently finished (as in just this morning) Heads or Tails, Stories From the Sixth Grade by Jack Gantos. Gantos is a well-known author whose books I've heard about (Rotten Ralph, Joey Pigza) but never read simply because I just can't get to everything. (Right now I can't get to everything because I'm reading the latest Harry Potter, which I'm afraid is going to take the rest of my life.)

Heads or Tails is a book of short stories that sound very autobiographical, and from what I've read about him he is into that sort of thing. I read a lot of humor, a lot of oddball stuff, I was always getting distracted while I was reading Heads or Tails, and it took me a while to get into what I was reading.

Here is the thing about this book--these are good short stories. Complete, with good characterizations, and often with a specific point. I often read short stories in literary journals and go, "What?" Not so with these. I particularly liked the airplane story, the story about the alligator eating the dog, and the last story. And the metaphor at the end of that story? Wow.

I think kids should be reading more short stories, anyway. This book should be assigned reading!!! And then the kids can try writing autobiographical stories of their own!!!

I'm going to read more by and about this guy. I'm particularly interested in trying his memoir, Hole in My Life.

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