I read cozy and historical mysteries, a bit of Paranormal/UF, and to mix it up, I read science and gardening books on occasion.
I bought a paperback copy of this book around the time it came out in the early 90's. I wasn't mad keen to read it; I liked his music but I didn't think that would automatically make him an interesting writer. I bought it because it was being raved about by a friend's boyfriend - I'd never up to that point heard a male (my dad omitted) admit to reading outside school, let alone rave about how good a book was, so I felt I had to give it a try just to see: what kind of writing interests men?
I'm sure I never found a definitive answer to that question (turned out I was just hanging out with the wrong men) but I did fall in love with the stories in this book. I've been re-reading it over the years whenever I felt homesick or nostalgic, because truly these stories capture a flavour of the south, and Florida in particular, that is hard to find in the present day. Snake Bite Key (the setting for a lot of the stories, or the characters' backgrounds) could just have easily been in South Florida in the 70's as it is a fictional island in Alabama.
I recently upgraded my poor old softcover copy to a lovely hardback I found when I was on vacation, and I just had to sit down and re-read it. Funny how certain things stick out once your perspective changes: I never paid much attention to Buffett's references to Australia and Australian Aboriginal myths until I was living in Oz myself; suddenly these references have more relevance for me. But otherwise, the stories hold up - they aren't all gems and I love some more than others.
My personal favourites:
Off to See the Lizard
Boomerang Love - this is my all-time favourite of the stories in this book.
The Swamp Creature Let One In
Good but not great:
Take Another Road
I Wish Lunch Could Last Forever
The Pascagoula Run
These are apparently semi-autobiographical:
You Can't Take it With You: I wasn't ever really sure there was much point to this one.
Are You Ready for Freddy?: Tedious to the extreme. Freddy likes to hear his own voice.
Hooked in the Heart - this one couldn't have been great - I can't remember it!!
Life in the Food Chain - Very good.
A Gift for the Buccaneer - I really liked this one.
Sometimes I Feel Like a Rudderless Child - also thought this one was interesting, although it ended oddly.
An oddball collection of stories, but most of them take me back home and leave me smiling when I'm finished; I'm not sure I can ask much more from Mr. Buffett. Cheers!