Your Mood: Whimsical—but in a Björk way, not a Zooey Deschanel wayRead about the other books on the list.
The Girl in the Flammable Skirt, by Aimee Bender
In a single collection, you get a boyfriend de-evolving into a salamander, a woman giving birth to her own mother, a man without lips, and a mermaid (among others). It’s an eccentric parade of characters and situations that will make you want to climb into Bender’s brain and get your Entertainment Weekly subscription forwarded there. Still, no matter how fantastical their premises, each story has an emotional payoff that feels all too relatable. Sure, we haven’t all been in a relationship with someone who has lost his lips—but we’ve all felt love, disappointment, hope, and grief. Bender wraps all that up in weird. And it’s great.
Writers Read: Aimee Bender (June 2010).