By Nicholas Fonseca
Updated May 10, 2006 at 04:00 AM EDT

It’s amazing that Augusten Burroughs still has any stories left untold. Yet here he is with 26 new tales that again stretch the limits of believability and, at times, a reader’s patience. (A few entries are strangely inert until one of his typically clever climaxes.) Burroughs’ precious misanthropy does, I’m sorry to report, start to wear thin about halfway through Possible Side Effects. Which is why its darker latter half, mining his humanism more trenchantly, is such a welcome distraction. ”The Forecast for Sommer” is a gut-wrenching ode to a suicidal friend of his mother’s, while ”The Georgia Thumper” tackles his hatred toward his cruel maternal grandmother. Those two stories alone are worth the book’s price.

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