GREAT READS HANDPICKED BY GREAT SOUTHERN BOOKSELLERS...

Orange World and Other Stories by Karen RussellKaren Russell's latest collection of short stories are as bizarre, haunted and exquisitely crafted as I hoped they would be. The collection begins with "The Prospectors," wherein two young women attempt to attend an elegant affair and end up dancing with a group of dead boys. In the titular story, a new mother nurses a devil every night and all the while Russell is dissecting the postpartum experience with grace and humor. And in what is possibly my favorite of the collection, "The Gondoliers," about a girl with the qualities of a bat who navigates a dangerous, drowned new world, Russell proves that no one can write south Florida quite like her.

Orange World and Other Stories by Karen Russell ($25.95*, Knopf), recommended by Books & Books, Coral Gables, FL.