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Jess Walter: What I’m Giving

In this special series, we asked writers we admire to share a book they're giving to their friends and family this holiday season. Check back daily to see the books your favorite authors are gifting.

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I'll be giving my brother a book of short stories, Jim Gavin's Middle Men (unless my brother reads this blog post; then he's getting what I usually get him: a $7 gift certificate at the Booze Barn).

These funny, naturalistic stories are about the kinds of people we grew up with (or maybe the kind of people we grew up to be) — characters a less nuanced writer might depict as life's losers. But Gavin writes with such ease and generosity that a genuine poignancy bubbles up.

There is a terrific basketball story in this collection called "Play the Man" with a coach who seems dreamed up by a low-rent Wodehouse, and a perfect one-word description of the high-desert town of Victorville, California — Tatooine.


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Jess Walter is the author of eight books, including Beautiful Ruins and We Live in Water. He's been a finalist for the National Book Award and PEN/​USA Literary prize and won the Edgar Allan Poe Award for best novel.

Books mentioned in this post

  1. Beautiful Ruins (P.S.)
    Used Trade Paper $7.95
  2. We Live in Water: Stories
    Used Trade Paper $10.50
  3. Middle Men Used Hardcover $8.95

Jess Walter is the author of Beautiful Ruins (P.S.)

One Response to "Jess Walter: What I’m Giving"

    Chris December 23rd, 2013 at 2:50 pm

    Interestingly enough, I read Gavin's book right before I read Walter's novel and collection. I concur: all are great gifts for readers ('Ruins' was my favoirte book of the year).

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