"Puget Sound: Fifteen Stories" by C. C. Long (Pleasure Boat Studio, $14). Long, a New York-based writer and artist who was born in Bremerton...

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“Puget Sound: Fifteen Stories” by C.C. Long (Pleasure Boat Studio, $14). Long, a New York-based writer and artist who was born in Bremerton and raised on Whidbey Island, offers up a taut and bizarre collection of short stories that covers everything from exploding whales to earthquakes to the second coming of Christ, all linked by their setting along the eponymous inland waterway.

“Fishing for Dreams: Notes from the Water’s Edge” by D.C. Reid (TouchWood, $14.95). Clearly, fishing is in Reid’s blood. The angler and sport-fishing writer from Victoria, B.C., makes the pursuit of salmon, trout and cod sound like an epic quest, one that involves “reaching into the invisible and pulling out the beautiful.” Historical insights, personal fishing tales, practical advice and poetic prose make this more than a sportsman’s manual.

“Short Takes: Brief Encounters with Contemporary Nonfiction” edited by Judith Kitchen (Norton, $14.95). This illuminating collection of “shorts” made up of brief essays and musings, some barely a page in length, gives well-known authors a chance to share their thoughts on writing, inspiration and the process of learning basic human truths. Amy Tan, Sherman Alexie, David Sedaris, Dorothy Allison and Salman Rushdie are among the more than 60 writers featured. Kitchen, the writer who edited the compilation, lives in Port Townsend.

“End in Fire” by Syne Mitchell (ROC, $6.99). An oil crisis, a nuclear showdown, the specter of space warfare — Mitchell’s subject matter may fall under the heading “science fiction,” but her not-so-futuristic story of an astronaut faced with saving Earth from itself brims with real-life concerns. The North Bend author sits on the advisory board of Seattle’s Science Fiction Museum.

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Tyrone Beason, Seattle Times staff reporter