Shelf Life, edited by Greg Ketter. Fantasy anthology. 285 pages.
Shelf Life was a solid way to start the new year for me. It was nothing excessively joyous, horrific, mesmerizing, or life-changing. It was comforting and strange, historical and whimsical, and not nearly so full of cats as I would have expected. One store owner even had a yappy little dog. At the end of an anthology, I find it hard to review every single story from the book because not all of the stories spoke personally to *me* as I went along. Some did stand out, though, and those are the ones that I want to remember.
One story that I particularly enjoyed was set in the early days of Hitler's Germany. "A Book, by Its Cover" gave a beautiful rescue and redemption to a boy who had lost everything and a bookseller with no books. "Lost Books" was also a redemption tale, and gave me a new perspective on the burning of the Library of Alexandria. "I Am Looking for a Book" gave me the giggles and reminded me of the Freisner and other deliberately tail-twisting authors I read twenty years ago. And so on.
I don't think I will keep this book, because in the spirit of its contents I think that I need to pass it to the next person who might want or need it. I got what I wanted or needed or sought from it, and I am content.
I picked it up because I saw a recommendation for it somewhere (Unshelved? GoodReads?) and thought it might be a nice comfort read. I recommend it to anyone who enjoys bookstores - especially used and private ones - and the flights of fancies those unique places bring.Books read in 2013