My Creative Writing professor assigned this book for our class, and we read about two stories a week. However, after reading the assigned story, I found it increasingly difficult to stop at just one. Soon I found myself reading 4 or 5 stories at a time. Different themes and different characters do not stop these many short stories from repeating the same truths over and over again, the truth of human life. I have never read such realistic fiction, fiction that echoed so closely what I feel inside from one day to the next. These stories are honest, insightful, and beautiful, carefully assembled and chosen by Oates and Cassil. If you want an honest picture of life over the last century, buy this book.