One of my favorite short-story writers came into the office the other day to sign books. Jim Shepard’s newest collection is called YOU THINK THAT’S BAD, and is more of the same incredibly well-researched, moving, and flawless craft that we’ve all become used to from Shepard.

What doesn’t come across in his fiction, though, is how funny he is in person. Last time he signed my book, around three years ago, he wrote, “To David, who chose poorly” in reference to my NOT choosing him as my staff pick in Random Revelations (mostly because I’d never heard of him at that time). This time, he followed it up with this:

For Dave, Whose judgment has improved--
For Dave, Whose judgment has improved--

And after he signed, we all grabbed a beer and went back to our work, our days that much better.

It’s good to see such a pleasant, good-humored person receive the kind of praise he’s getting, even if he’s not getting it for his pleasantness:

“There is so much knowledge, insight, feeling, and artistry in each engrossing Shepard story, he must defy some law of literary physics.” –Donna Seaman of Booklist (full)

“There is no question concerning the breadth of research, ambition, and quality of writing that informs and characterizes this collection of short stories.” —Library Journal

“…elegant, darkly tinged stories of love…” —Publishers Weekly (full)

-Dave

Jim Shepard has beer at his signing

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