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.