Karen Brown's first collection of short stories, Pins and Needles, includes the story Galatea, which was selected by novelist Salman Rushdie for the new 2008 edition of Best American Short Stories. Brown is a creative writing professor at the University of South Florida.
What is on your nightstand?
The Housebreaker of Shady Hill and Other Stories by John Cheever. I'm including it in a course I'm teaching. I also had them read (John) Updike.
Did your students enjoy Cheever?
Yes, they liked Cheever; Updike, not as much.
Do you know why?
I think Cheever was surprising. The suburb always seemed so perfect. Remember, Cheever's stories were in the 1950s. I got this book from my grandmother, who received it from her girlfriend.
Why do you think your grandmother and her friend read Cheever?
It was set in the postwar, and that's when they were raising their children. Maybe the people in the stories resonated with them.
Piper Castillo, Times staff writer