This is a book that I've mentioned at least once before, probably when the galley arrived. It will get another mention next month when I review it. For now though, it's arrival today in the mail (hardcover!) is more than good cause for me to remind you all--go to your favorite bookseller this weekend and pre-order this book.
Stern is a magician with words and sentences. One highly praised over the years by both Gordon Lish and Cynthia Ozick. The NYTBR has called him a "... prodigiously talented writer." Recently the wonderful Tom Williams raved about Stern's writing. And look at where his last quartet of books has been published (Viking, Melville House, Algonquin and this one's from Graywolf Press--some pretty great publishers).
If you've not had the pleasure of reading Mr. Stern's work, well first of all shame on you, then this is a perfect jumping into it point--The Books of Mischief is compiled of New & Selected Stories. 17 stories total, 10 of which were previously published in a trio of Stern's collections, 6 of which have been published in various journals or anthologies, and one brand spanking new story, "The Tale of a Kite," that leads this new book off.
The stories are not thrown together in the Table of Contents by their original locations, instead they're sorted by the locations where the stories take place: North Main Street, Memphis; The Lower East Side, New York; Europe; and The Catskills.
Whether you read some of these stories in their original books or journals or not, the compiling of them in one simple to find 380 page hardcover is reason for excitement, and purchase, and do so now so that you can mark September 4, 2012 on your calendar down as "Reading Stern--all night."