I Knew You'd Be Lovely - Alethea Black If you don't usually read short stories, consider making an exception for this entertaining little collection. There are plenty of good reasons to read these stories, but the best reason of all is just for pure delight. Alethea Black is someone you'd like to have for a friend so you could enjoy her playful nature and the funny lines she loves to share. Every day when I sat down to read a story or two, I couldn't wait to find out what new way she'd find to delight me. There are thirteen stories in this collection. Some are hilarious, some deeper and more sorrowful. Even the stories with a more serious tone contain an element of play and a joy in the creative use of language. Black finds fresh and surprising ways to present a serious message. In "That of Which We Cannot Speak" she addresses the banality of small talk using a character with laryngitis who shows up at a party with a clipboard around her neck for writing what she needs to say. There are a couple of themes that seem to run through many of the stories. One theme follows the consequences of not being entirely honest with those closest to us. We don't get what we need because we withhold the truth. In "The Laziest Form of Revelation," we see how being naked in front of someone is a cheap substitute for sharing your authentic self. The second theme in the collection is that of characters on the verge of something new in life---maybe something better, maybe just something different. In "Mollusk Makes a Comeback," Katie is a young woman for whom Murphy's Law seems to have been custom-made. But by the end of the story, you know her hopeful nature will help her keep believing she's "just about to get to the good part." The author's notes about each story are a wonderful and revealing addition. She shares how she got the ideas for her stories and some of her process in writing them.