What the most literate city in America reads on the bus
Reader: Joan Algarin Age: 54 Occupation: Retired professor of Japanese literature Residence: Ballard Bus: Route 15 to downtown, 9:30 a.m.
Book: Fabulous Small Jews, by oseph Epstein State of completion: Page 331 of 352
Plot summary by Amazon.com (via Publishers Weekly): Epstein has compiled a collection of short stories as thoughtful and arresting as its title (from a poem by Karl Shapiro). Whether they are in a nursing home, recovering from the loss of a spouse of 50 years, or looking back at marriages, shortcomings or missed opportunities, Epstein's characters are quirky, witty, resentful, fearful and cautiously hopeful as they face their future, or whatever they have left of it, in a world in which all the rules have changed.
Plot summary by Joan: "It's a collection of short stories that focus mostly on Jewish-American life in Chicago."
The hook: "It's for a book group at the Women's University Club. I would have never picked it up if not for my book group."
Critique: "The stories are very good. Good vignettes and gorgeous descriptions."
Afterward: "The story I liked the best is 'Artie Glick in a Family Way.' It's about a late middle-aged Jewish man pushed around all life by his father who falls in love with a 30-year-old lawyer. His psychologist tells him he's not ready for a relationship and to break it off, but he ends up getting rid of the psychologist. It's a nice story."