I'd been curious about Jonathan Lethem ever since Cory Doctorow blogged a riveting review of 'Chronic City' on boingboing, but it was this short fictionalisation of Phil K Dick's early writing life that really made me curious to sample more of his work. It was then that I discovered that virtually no (physical) bookshop anywhere in my vicinity, first or second hand, had a single book by him in stock.

Of course I could have ordered some books on Amazon immediately, but I've been trying to ween myself off the urge to purchase and own every book I want to read.

I was beginning to wonder whether anyone in the UK had heard of Lethem when I found two books in the Durham branch of Waterstones. The city library near where I work has a small number on their records, but most of them are on loan (and mega-overdue), with the exception of one book, a short story collection called 'Men and Cartoons', which I duly borrowed.

The six-ish stories within are very varied, to say the least: from realist social observations, to satirical looks at near-historical periods of time, to melencholic observations about odd relationships, to straight up science fiction. There is a feint thread of comic books in common across a few of them. They were quick and fun to read. Without being able to point at why or where, I felt that they were very well written, and I've got a taste for something more substantial ("Gun, with Occasional Music" just dropped through my letter box).