Looking for something to read over the weekend ?
Nothing on your book radar that is screaming ‘read me’?
Take a look at my Friday Favorite. It may be new. It may be old. It may be written by a famous author, or by someone you have never heard of. But wherever in the spectrum it falls, it will be a book that is special to me, one that has captured both my imagination and my heart.
EXCERPT: ‘I want to say something,’ I said.
They both looked up. They seemed surprised that I was still in the room.
‘What’s wrong, honey, ‘ said my mother. ‘You aren’t getting sick, are you?’
She crossed the kitchen and felt my brow with the back of a chilly hand. I pulled my head away. ‘She feels warm to me, Gordon,’ said my mother.
‘I have type-B blood, ‘ I announced.
My mother tried to feel my brow again but I wouldn’t let her. ‘I think she’s coming down with something.’
‘You’re not listeningto me,’ I said. Louder. ‘We did an experiment in Miss Stanley’s class and my blood clumped when it was exposed to Type-B antibodies. That means I can’t be the biological child of a Type-A father and a Type-O mother.’
ABOUT THIS BOOK: Each of the characters in Scouting for the Reaper faces an unanticipated challenge: transporting a truckload of penguins across the country, arranging a proper Jewish burial for the remains of Gregor Samsa, selling tombstones dressed as a Girl Scout. These stories explore the domestic and professional adventures of people in over their heads, while leavening their struggles with humor.
MY THOUGHTS: I love Jacob M Appel’s writing. He has the best of opening sentences; ones that grab your attention and then simply do not let go.
I have previously read Einstein’s Beach House and Miracles and Conundrums of the Secondary Planets, both of which I loved and still treasure. So I was very excited to receive Jacob’s latest offering, Scouting for the Reaper. And I was not disappointed.
I would be hard pressed to pick a favourite from this exceptional collection of stories; stories about relationships between people, and I don’t mean love stories, or maybe I do, but not in the traditional sense.
I could give you a brief outline of each of the eight stories contained in this volume, but no description I could give would reveal the deeper threads and undercurrents. I just recommend that you read this book. It is a keeper for me.
THE AUTHOR: Jacob M. Appel’s first novel, The Man Who Wouldn’t Stand Up, won the Dundee International Book Award in 2012. His short story collection, Scouting for the Reaper, won the 2012 Hudson Prize. He has published short fiction in more than two hundred literary journals including Agni, Conjunctions, Gettysburg Review, Southwest Review, Virginia Quarterly Review, and West Branch. His work has been short listed for the O. Henry Award (2001), Best American Short Stories (2007, 2008), Best American Essays (2011, 2012), and received “special mention” for the Pushcart Prize in 2006, 2007, 2011 and 2013.
Jacob holds a B.A. and an M.A. from Brown University, an M.A. and an M.Phil. from Columbia University, an M.S. in bioethics from the Alden March Bioethics Institute of Albany Medical College, an M.D. from Columbia University’s College of Physicians and Surgeons, an M.F.A. in creative writing from New York University, an M.F.A. in playwriting from Queens College, an M.P.H. from the Mount Sinai School of Medicine and a J.D. from Harvard Law School. He currently practices psychiatry in New York City.
DISCLOSURE:Thank you to author Jacob M Appel for the gift of a copy of Scouting for the Reaper in exchange for an honest and unbiased review. All opinions expressed in this review are entirely my own personal opinions.
Please refer to my Goodreads.com profile page or the about page on sandysbookaday.wordpress.com for an explanation of my rating system.
This review and others are also published on my Goodreads.com page https://www.goodreads.com/review/show/1657064892