RaveSan Francisco Chronicle... maybe I’m biased as a former English major, but A Swim in a Pond in the Rain is refreshing, warm and educational in the best sense of the word. For me, the best non-fiction books — like the best teachers — open your eyes and engage you with personality and passion. And as Saunders takes us through six short stories by Russian masters, we learn to read differently. We slow down. We feel his passion. And we ask questions ... Don’t worry — A Swim in a Pond in the Rain is not a workbook with all questions and no answers. An experienced, generous teacher is leading you along. The subsequent five stories appear in full, followed by Saunders’ take on each one. This isn’t esoteric literary criticism or dry, mansplaining lectures. Saunders’ book will help you enjoy fiction more ... Months after reading an advance copy, the title has stuck with me — it’s such an evocative image (pulled from Gooseberries by Chekhov). And it really fits; the book is a splash in the face. You can dive deep or lie on your back and let the words wash over you.