A benefit of our shortened attention spans is the re-emergence of the short story. That pleasurable form of fiction, sliced thinner than a novel but at its best equally compelling, for a decade or two languished out of fashion but returns full of ginger. In Out of the Mountains, Meredith Sue Willis gives her characters the juice of life. Some turn up in more than one story, prompting the pleasure of recognition.
That kid -- you know, the one who collects rocks and digs a hole in the backyard just to see what's there -- will like this book. Author Charles Ferguson Barker is a geologist who, I suspect, never got over wanting to know what he'd find if he dug a hole.