Book Review: Shelf Life: Fantastic Stories Celebrating Bookstores


Shelf Life: Fantastic Stories Celebrating Bookstores is a collection of short stories edited by Greg Ketter. They are all well written, and all have a bookstore as a major componant of the story. You might even call the bookstore the main character in the tales. Genres of the story range from science fiction, fantasy, horror, and historical or speculative fiction. The collection is a joy to explore for everyone that loves books, libraries, or bookstores. A treasure for every bibliophile.

The contributing authors are David Bischoff, P.D. Cacek, Ramsey Campbell, Charles de Lint, Marianne de Pierres, Harlan Ellison, Rick Hautala, Nina Kiriki Hoffman, Gerard Houarner, John J. Miller, A.R. Morlan, Lisa Morton, Melanie Tem, Patrick Weekes, Jack Williamson, Gene Wolfe. The introduction is written by Neil Gaiman, and the cover art is done by John Picacio.

Shelf Life is a compilation of short stories that exceeded my expectations. Typically, with any anthology, there is at lest one short story that stands out as less interesting or a lower quality than the rest. It is not always that the one story is bad, sometimes it just does not fit into the theme or mood of the collection as well as the rest. There was no such story in this group, while there were still some that stood out as absolutely fantastic. Every story brought a bookstore to life and had me roaming its floors. I really enjoyed the book, and found myself moving slowly through it so that I would be able to savor each story to the fullest.

Shelf Life is a book that I highly recommend to everyone that finds themselves getting lost in books, wandering through library stacks, and exploring the shelves of any bookstore they can find. It would be a thoughtful holiday or birthday gift for any bibliophile on your list.
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