Sunday, December 18, 2022

Fall Reading 2022 Duck for Cover & Other Tales


Barbara Venkataraman has captured the imagination of fans with her Jamie Quinn mystery series and tickled their funny bones while also making them stop and think with her Quirky Essays for Quirky People. This latest collection of short stories offers a mix of humor with insight into human interactions that may have some readers laughing out loud while others wince at how close to home some of the observations land. 

For instance - there is the self-absorbed guy who complains all through dinner only to discover that his date specializes in the topic he has been bad-mouthing. He probably won't be getting a second date, right? Or the story of the juvenile offender who thinks he will just slide through his court-ordered restitution. 

Each story has a different cast of characters and setting, but they all are powered by human interactions. Whether it is the escalating disagreement between two neighbors, parents trying to protect their children from online dating, or an adult child trying to cope with a parent's dementia, every tale has a kernel of truth and some humor to take out some of the sting. 

My favorite in the collection is "See You at the Movies," about a grandfather and grandson who share a love of movies and often communicate in movie quotes. I have family members with whom I share that same bond, so the story touched my heart with those sympathetic feelings. 

Short fiction is such a great way to spend a few quiet moments. Readers can dip into a book for just one quick story, or settle down to read the entire collection. Either way they will have some laughs, maybe a few tears, and pause to consider a few observations as they work their way through these tales.

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