Pretty Monsters is by Kelly Link, one of my favorite writers of short fiction. Her stories come alive with realistic characters and plots that are infused with magical elements. This style, called magical realism, is one that's often attempted, but rarely pulled off so well. Link's imaginative writing takes the reader through a world of haunted phone booths, carnivorous sofas, handbags that contain whole towns, pirates, dueling librarians, undead babysitters, shape shifters and aliens (to name just a few plot points), but in doing so touches on timeless themes like youth, love, and betrayal. This book is highly recommended for people who like creative fiction, but don't normally get into sci-fi or fantasy. Link is a writer who is willing to experiment with her prose, and to go outside the normal genre stand-bys. Pretty Monsters contains nine stories in all, which can be read in any order. Perfect for lunch breaks or doctor visits.
Recommended by Tony Pellicone