Ben Loory's debut collection, Stories for Nighttime and Some for the Day (Penguin, July), is a rich gathering: nightmares, dreams, and those things you see from the corner of your eye all populate this book. Bite-size but with both disconcerting and wondrous scope, it was hard to put down and had to ration the stories, preventing myself from rushing to the end. (Closing the cover between readings, I often found myself saying, "Well, just one more.") With such intriguing titles as "Death and the Fruits of the Tree" and "The Snake in the Throat," each of these 30-plus tales is unlike anything you've read before, with anthropomorphized, lonely, opera-loving televisions; city dwelling octopi; and terrifying explanations of the boogeyman's true identity. An alien invasion is both less and much, much more than it appears. In the way that the best dreams do, these gems will stay with you for a long time.