2006 books 101-104

101. If I Told You Once by Judy Budnitz- The story of four generations of women, starting with a the first daughter's emigration from a tiny eastern European village to America and ending with her great grand daughter's first attempts to do the very same thing that started the story - break away from her mother.

102. Clouds Eclipses, The Collected Short Stories by Gore Vidal - This is definitely a case of very good things coming in small packages. The book is short (nine stories, 166 pages) but it is not short on quality. These are all early works of Vidal's, including the title piece about a young boy who's aspirations towards spiritual purity are cut short just in time, inspired by a skeleton from the Tennessee Williams family closet.

103. Scott Fitzgerald: A Biography by Jeffrey Meyers - F. Scott Fitzgerald packed a lot of life into his 44 years, most of it unhappy. With his need to be loved, appreciated, or simply liked, coupled with alcoholism, a devotion to a fantasy marriage, and his hero worship of other authors (Hemingway especially), there was no way out of his personal hell. If it weren't for Fitzgerald's hunger for validation, I'd feel guilty about reading his stories.

104. Foggy Mountain Breakdown And Other Stories by Sharyn McCrumb - McCrumb's Ballad series is like a vacation to the Appalachians where you stay in the house of the best story teller in the region. She's a master of sense of place, and can write in the voice of that region like nobody's business. Some of these stories are in that vein, others come from her other side, the one that writes for the basic who-done-it fan. There's nothing in this collection that stands out from her longer works, unfortunately.

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