Nine Inches, by Tom PerrottaRead about the other entries on the list.
Tom Perrotta’s stories qualify as feel-good tales because their scenarios will be familiar to anyone who has lived, worked, or raised children in a suburb or small town, and their denouements often serve as wish fulfillment for the reader. Ever been annoyed by a fellow parent at a Little League game? Well, the characters in “The Smile on Happy Chang’s Face” lose their cool so you don’t have to. Many stories have funny scenarios that sound like they could have happened down the street, yesterday—like “Nine Inches,” in which teachers serving as chaperones at a junior high dance must keep their charges that far apart because the last dance devolved into a “a drunken brawl/gropefest,” forever immortalized on YouTube.