We hear someone just wrote a book in which the characters have perfect careers, relationships, and families. You can find it in your local dumpster. Further proof that dysfunction makes for good fiction: Wells Tower’s debut collection of short stories, Everything Ravaged, Everything Burned. As the title suggests, the characters’ lives aren’t so pretty — but Tower’s empathy and humor are downright elegant. From a kicked-out husband camped out at a beach house to a curious dad left alone all day while his fortysomething daughter pursues her latest degree, the stories center around real people with whom you can identify. Yes, even the Viking who must choose between a life of pillaging and that of rearing a family (tough guys have feelings, too). Although things may sound a little bleak, scores of hilarious moments will make you chuckle. And we’re not talking trash. Available online at amazon.com or at your local bookstore. For more great reads, check out our bookshelf.