For many readers a trip to an old fashioned bookstore is an opportunity to indulge in certain childhood fantasies. It is an opportunity to enter a world of wonder and opportunity, to find that book you’ve been searching for, or the one that you never knew that you desperately needed.
Shelf Life manages to capture that feeling. Originally published in 2002, it contains 15 short stories focusing on books and wondrous bookstores. Like a good collection of fairy tales, the stories themselves are sometimes comforting and sometimes dark and scary. Ketter has collected tales from top grade talent, including Gene Wolfe, Ramsey Campbell, Charles de Lint, and Harlan Ellison.
As with an anthology, you may find that some stories resonate with you more strongly than others. Personally, I felt that the weaker stories were entertaining at worst, and the best stories seem to have stayed with me.