Things You Should Know: A Collection of Stories
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Things You Should Know: A Collection of Stories

3.8 of 5 stars 3.80  ·  rating details  ·  942 ratings  ·  84 reviews
In this stunningly original collection, A. M. Homes writes with terrifying compassion about the things that matter most. Homes's distinctive narrative illuminates our dreams and desires, our memories and losses, and demonstrates how extraordinary the ordinary can be. With Uncanny emotional accuracy, wit, and empathy, Homes takes us places we recognize but would rather not...more
Paperback, 224 pages
Published September 2nd 2003 by Harper Perennial (first published 2002)
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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 1,583)
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Allison
A.M. Homes is so dark that I sometimes can't bear it. But this collection blew me away, especially the long story that fictionalizes Ronald and Nancy Reagan. It is fantastical yet realistic, hilarious and oddly moving. Actually I think that's what I like about A.M. Homes. She leaves me with a pleasant emotional confusion.
Anna
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Malcolm
There are only a few writers who do broken people quite as well as Homes – although both Barbara Gowdy and Jayne Anne Phillips come close. Many of Homes’s characters are slightly off kilter, alienated, uncertain of their place in the world either by virtue of age or by changed circumstance, in many cases they feel stuck, trapped or lost but unable to work out what to do. This is what provides the thematic core of this excellent collection of stories, many of which teeter on the brink of the grot...more
Megan Jones
Another stunningly twisted collection of short stories by A.M. Homes. The only reason for rating it four instead of five stars is because Safety of Objects is still my favorite. But this collection doesn't fail to disappoint. In typical Homes style, she mixes the typical suburban family life with dark, frightful twists and turns that one can only imagine in their nightmares...or their hidden reality. Another added bonus - a few of these stories take place in my hometown of the Hamptons, and Home...more
Snotchocheez

2.5 stars

My first encounter with Ms. Homes writing was a decidedly ambivalent affair. I like her writing style, which tends toward the dark end of life- observation. There's just something about this collection of short stories that just left me, I dunno, insensate? I got the impression that Ms. Homes' effort (much like Jenny Offill's chilly Dept. Of Observation) was an exercise in catharsis after suffering through a bad relationship. The eleven stories (seemingly most of them about marital diss...more
Miguel Jiménez
Los relatos de A.M. Homes son especiales, no se parecen en nada a cualquier otra cosa, siquiera a ellos mismos: cada uno es diferente. Pero no va tanto por ver qué tan impresionante es el argumento del próximo cuento(aunque también lo tiene) sino lo suyo es el desarrollo, lo que hace es Escritura Creativa de Tratamiento. Parece que cada frase fue construida de forma sensata, pensando en cuál era la palabra exacta para producir la sensación deseada y/o comunicar alguna situación. Esto, con unos p...more
Duncan
I have to confess that short stories don’t always agree with me. Too often they seem to be an exercise in experimentation, which doesn’t appeal. However, once in a blue moon I find something really good, so I keep plugging away.

According to a literary agent I used to share a building with, the British are philistines, which is why our publishers rarely touch short story collections. There isn’t any money in them because us Britons don’t appreciate them. But then again the man spent most of his t...more
Sheri LaVigne
I am in love with A.M. Homes. I ended up savoring these stories as long as I could, but like any good addiction I devoured them. This is the kind of writing I'm envious of people to have the first experience of.
Kendall
I read another collection of her short stories call The Safety of Objects.' I read this book based on my experience with that one and based on a blurb at Salon.com. For me- this book is a mixed bag. All her stories kind have that feel you get when you see something horrible- like some gross injury on one of those emergency room programs- and you want to look away- but you just can't. Even though it's making the blood rush from your head and causing your heart to palpitate- you keep looking. She'...more
Spike
There are only a few good stories in here, which serve as bookends for this largely uneven collection. The best of the lot are "Remedy", "The Former First Lady and the Football Hero" (which appeared in Zoetrope), and my favorite, "Rockets Around the Moon". "Rockets" is an insightful look into the world of children who are effectively abandoned by selfish parents. In this tale, the protagonist is swept up into a neighboring families tragedy even as he desperately allows them a place as his surrog...more
Laura Besley
I picked this book up off my bookshelf by mistake (I thought it was if nobody speaks of remarkable things by jon mcgregor) and my friend who had left it in my house by accident said "it was okay." I therefore had very low expectations. However, I really enjoyed it.

This collection of eleven short stories is extremely varied; in length, subject matter, style and genre. I didn't read them in order, but that's one of the joys of a collection of short stories. The story THINGS YOU SHOULD KNOW, about...more
Jim Breslin
An interesting collection of short stories from AM Homes, though I enjoyed her earlier collection, The Safety of Objects, a little bit more.

Georgica is a beautifully strange tale of a woman who continually tries to inseminate herself in a most unconventional way. While what occurs in the story is truly bizarre, Homes writes this story in a way that transports the reader to a different dimension.

My favorite story was The Former First Lady and the Football Hero. This story is Homes imagining of...more
Caitlin Constantine
Everything I've read of AM Homes's writing has been - at least to me - all about finding the humanity in those we see as broken. This collection isn't any different. There is a part of her that seems to delight in grossing her reader out, to which anyone who read "The End of Alice" can attest. She only ventures into that kind of super-explicit writing twice, and only one of those times did I think it could be considered gratuitous.

It's difficult to summarize an entire collection of short storie...more
Núria
Reconozco que probablemente leer los cuentos de A.M. Homes después de haber leído los de Amy Hempel es un poco injusto, porque las comparaciones pueden ser odiosas y crueles. Aún así, cuando en una colección de cuentos no hay ninguno que me produzca auténtica envidia ni ninguno que hubiera deseado poder escribir yo, es que algo va mal. Confieso que ya antes había intentado leer ‘Cosas que debes saber’ pero había fracasado, aunque ahora veo que (en parte) mi problema era que empecé por el cuento...more
Diana Passy
Há um pouco mais de 1 ano dei a sorte de estar em Nova York na época do Brooklyn Book Festival, e fui ver uma mesa com a Nicole Krauss. Eu não lembro mais de nada do que foi dito (e ainda não li o livro da Krauss), mas durante esse tempo todo ficou na minha cabeça o pedaço de um conto que outra escritora leu no começo, uma cena em que o marido estava catando penas que tinham começado a nascer nas costas da mulher.
Fiz uma anotação mental de "preciso ler esse livro algum dia", pensei em comprá-lo...more
Holyfool
uncertain and raw short stories noir. a beginning with no end and an end with no beginning.

you need to qualify homes in her own category. in one minute she could easily disappoint you and the next minute you could find yourself admiring her contradicted writing.

her short stories take you from one extreme to another. so uncontrived and pure unveiled that makes you stop, think and try to react about what you just read.

you must have an open mind while reading this book, not so much about the way t...more
Lee
I love A.M. Homes' books. She is a fearless writer; her works are raw, viceral and urgent. The stories range from disturbing to tender, and everywhere inbetween. She writes what everyone else is afraid to!
Josie
I was not terribly impressed with these stories. Although most were raw with emotion and brutally honest - which I can appreciate - the same theme permeated the entire volume (save for one story, which happened to be the best in my opinion). There are only so many times an author can explore suburban dissatisfaction, malcontentment, and general detachment from life before it becomes tedious drivel. Save for the title story, "Things You Should Know" which is a 2 1/2 page brilliant little piece, a...more
Suzanne Northcott
fantastic, best collection of stories I've read for ages. I love short stories and there are some beauties here -- Georgica in particular. I can't describe without giving away a bizarre but fabulous and possibly believable way to solve the longing for a child and the not-longing for a partner. and Remedy, that gets to the frustration of watching parents become suspicious of advice from children, or others they have known all their lives, yet place trust in complete strangers, refusing to see tha...more
Nurshafiqa
picked this book because the title sounds interesting. and there's some sort of sheep-dog hybrid which looks quite cute. anyway since i'm too lazy to write a proper review, i'll just share some thoughts.

okay so the book OVERALL, was.. okay. there's a few stories inside that stands out, and a few that left me thinking, "what?". actually.. truth be told, i read this book only when i had absolutely nothing to do. it was not the kind of book that made me genuinely want to read, that i specially made...more
Art
this collection really surprised me. i don't know if i can put my finger on why, but just the diversity of stories told, the manner in which they are told, the risks of what kind activities go on in the stories...its a very full book and the stories stay with you. each deals, in very different ways, with following what we feel to be our most private desires, about lying, about living out a life in which you don't feel like you exercise much control, about transformations without the clear dividi...more
Elchuey
Written as only A.M. Homes can, this collection of short stories challenges is to look deeper than the surface, in order to truly understand the motives of each character. The fictionalized account of the Reagan's, is incredibly moving; I cried throughout the reading and then sobbed at the end. I'm not a big fan of Reagan, that's not why I cried. The tears were born from the humanity that illuminates their story, and the thought that one could very easily find themselves in the same circumstance...more
Mia
I typically like short fiction, it just "works" for me and I find short stories the perfect bath time accompaniment so I pick up a lot of short story anthologies. This one, however, blew me away. Each story has some resonant themes that make me curious if it is the author herself (this is the first of her books that I have read) or whether it was a phase. Either way, I immensely enjoyed these stories. I thought I'd read maybe one or two, then wash my hair. Instead, the water went cold, my toes t...more
Mark
I didn't quite finish this. Homes likes to shock us, from a setting of mundane suburbia. This can be fun, but since things are rarely shocking and happy, and the book arrived at a less than happy time, I decided to let it go.

An example story, our protagonist, dealt back and forth between well meaning but inattentive divorced parents, finds grounding in his normal friend's family. When their father kills a child in a driving accident, and subsequently himself, the friend loses it on the ferris w...more
AJ


I half wonder if it was my attention span these days that made most of this book hard for me. I should have picked up something lighter... But coming off the last book I read by Homes, I suppose I also had high expectations. This book of short stories did not grab me in any case; I found most of the stories without hope or warmth. When I did get vested in one of the stories, ultimate lately, I found myself depressed or let down in the end. Not a total loss but I guess in my current frame of my...more
Jeremy Wang
Accessible on an emotional level, even if not always on an intellectual level.
Michelle
I struggled with what to rate this book. It's well written without a doubt. It's just depressing as can be. Do not read this is you are in a vulnerable state of mind. I can read some pretty dark memoirs and historical accounts but they are redeemed by story tellers who have survived and grown. This collection of stories is peopled by a hopeless lot of characters. Raymond Carver's characters aren't as hopeless as this group from Homes. But she can spin a tale. Her ability as a writer is all that...more
Chris
I have only vague memories of this collection of short stories. I do remember their was a great story called Things You Should Know, that is sort of just about that. Another good one is the imagined story of a day with Ronald Reagan after his presidency and deep into his alzheimers. I might have given this four stars, I just don't remember it well enough. But, if you are looking for some short stories to read, I do remember this being a worthy one (and I don't always like short story collections...more
Jillian Sweeney
Aug 22, 2008 Jillian Sweeney rated it 4 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: Anyone who feels like they are alone.
One of my favorite authors, this is a collection of short stories that really explores situations that might seem abnormal. It really goes deep into the dark side of the domestic life which friends an neighbors wouldn't notice on first or second glance. I think this is a great book to read for anyone who feels abnormal themselves or feel like they are experiencing something that no one else has. It opens your eyes to things unseen. Makes sense to me...
Richard
really dry, dark short stories. Homes conveys isolation superbly
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A.M. Homes (first name Amy) is the author of the novels, This Book Will Save Your Life, Music For Torching, The End of Alice, In a Country of Mothers, and Jack, as well as the short-story collections, Things You Should Know and The Safety of Objects, the travel memoir, Los Angeles: People, Places and The Castle on the Hill, and the artist's book Appendix A: An Elaboration on the Novel the End of A...more
More about A.M. Homes...
This Book Will Save Your Life May We Be Forgiven The End of Alice The Safety of Objects Music for Torching

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