Stay Up With Me
By Tom Barbash (Ecco, $23)

The short stories in Tom Barbash’s new collection are set in rambling old homes in upstate New York and posh apartments in New York City occupied by people who don’t expect much out of life. Among the protagonists are a newly single mother obsessed with her college son’s love life, a professor whose son dates a student and a professor dating a student. Together, these unlikely heroes reveal the human instinct to sabotage one’s own happiness while persevering through dark circumstances. You may recognize a piece of yourself in each character featured in this eminently readable collection.