ellen gilchrist's the courts of love
this was the first collection of gilchrist's stories i ever read, the one that inspired me to go get her collected stories and some of her other books. and a lot of the stories hold up on second reading, especially most of the nora jane stories (the first ten stories all revolve around a character named nora jane and her family) and the two stories that deal with animals (a small bear and a badly injured dog, respectively). the animal ones are actually my favorites--she really captures the complex emotions between people and their dogs. or maybe it's just that i like dogs a lot.