One of my all-time favorites ever. I shelved it with the "shorts," even though it's a novella. I love short fiction. Every novella in this collection...moreOne of my all-time favorites ever. I shelved it with the "shorts," even though it's a novella. I love short fiction. Every novella in this collection deserves a read.(less)
I had forgotten about this one until Sheryl put it up on her "to-read" shelf. I'm going to have to pull it down and read it again. It was passed alon...more I had forgotten about this one until Sheryl put it up on her "to-read" shelf. I'm going to have to pull it down and read it again. It was passed along to me by a good friend with whom I share a very Southern sense of humor, and so was a huge hit.
It's no secret that I adore Southern fiction and non-fiction, and prefer it to any other genre of literature. This charming little book is a prime example of the appeal for me. While this book is not "great literature" by any means, it's very real. Here's the thing: It's not that we have *more* crazy people and eccentric behavior down here than is present in the rest of the country...it's that we EMBRACE it. We love our crazy people, and write lovingly about eccentricities. I know people from "up North" who read Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil and swore it could not POSSIBLY be a "true story," whereas every Southerner I know who read that book was all, "What's the big deal?"
I don't know whether it's classified as fiction or non-fiction, but I do know that I wouldn't have to venture more than a mile from my own house to find a place like Mama's.(less)
I love Stephen King, and I am not ashamed. I love his "realness," and that he has a relationship with his readers. I look forward in particular to his...moreI love Stephen King, and I am not ashamed. I love his "realness," and that he has a relationship with his readers. I look forward in particular to his short fiction, because I know that, with it, I'll get lots of little peeks into his behind-the-scene process. I'm absolutely crazy about the little bits of extra info at the end of the collection, the stories that answer the ever-present, "Where did this idea come from?" questions.
Of course, I had my favorites--I particularly enjoyed "N.", a tale of an OCD psych patient, with its suggestion of a contagious aspect to psychiatric disorders.
Yeah, you're not reading anything into THAT.(less)
Admittedly, I'm a huge fan of short fiction, and possibly predisposed to review it more kindly than others might. Still, I ripped right through this c...moreAdmittedly, I'm a huge fan of short fiction, and possibly predisposed to review it more kindly than others might. Still, I ripped right through this collection, going from one story to the next with enthusiasm. And, interestingly, for me, the stories seemed to get better and better as they went along. The stand-outs for me were all toward the end: "My Father's Mask" and "Voluntary Committal." I also had a very soft spot in my heart for "Pop Art," and of course thrilled at "Abraham's Boys," since it was a continuation of the story of Abraham Van Helsing, and I'm a sucker for Dracula lore.
Though I haven't seen anyone describe it as such, one story, "You Will Hear The Locust Sing," seems to me to be something of a loving, slightly tongue-in-cheek tribute to Kafka. I mean, the protagonist's name is "Francis Kay," and the opening line is, "Francis Kay woke from dreams that were not uneasy, but exultant, and found himself an insect." What else could this be but a fun little exercise along the lines of, "Hey, you know what would've happened if *I* wrote The Metamorphosis?"
"Better Than Home" choked me up a little with its final lines, and was the story which most reminded me of Hill's literary legacy--after all, Stephen King has written of father/son relationships in the framework of baseball, too.
"The Black Phone" is a good old-fashioned horror/suspense short, something that would be right at home in an issue of that old Alfred Hitchcock magazine, or as an episode of one of the old horror/suspense shows like "Tales From The Darkside." Short, simple, clean, and satisfying.
If you like short stories, you could do a whole lot worse than this collection.(less)
So far, the best thing about this book is having people ask me what I'm reading on my Kindle. I smirk and reply, "Like You'd Understand, Anyway."
Serio...moreSo far, the best thing about this book is having people ask me what I'm reading on my Kindle. I smirk and reply, "Like You'd Understand, Anyway."
Seriously, though--Shepard is gifted. Gifted and extremely well-informed. How he has time to write with all the research he must do, I have no idea. This collection is taking me a long time to work through, because I'm finding each of them to have such tremendous scope--they seem to deserve the respect and consideration of a full-size novel. I'm reading a story or two in between other books right now.(less)
This collection contains three pieces of short fiction by Harry Bates. Depending on your outlook and attention span, they're either longish "short sto...moreThis collection contains three pieces of short fiction by Harry Bates. Depending on your outlook and attention span, they're either longish "short stories" or shortish "novellas."
The title story, "The Day The Earth Stood Still" bears just about zero kinship with the films of the same name, so don't come looking for anything like that. The story is simple, understated, and powerful, leaving most of the hard introspection to be done by the reader instead of being laid out in blueprint form by the writer. It's pretty much the perfect sci-fi tale, a real piece of art.
It should also be noted that TDTESS can be read online, under its original title, "Farewell to the Master," for free:
How some punk kid who was born THE YEAR I GRADUATED HIGH SCHOOL can make me crack up this much, I have no idea, but Dude is hilarious.
I'm not sure thi...moreHow some punk kid who was born THE YEAR I GRADUATED HIGH SCHOOL can make me crack up this much, I have no idea, but Dude is hilarious.
I'm not sure this very short collection of humor qualifies as a "book" (on my Kindle, it's exactly the same size as the free samples of books that Amazon offers), but if you've got a few minutes to kill, you could do a whole lot worse than passing them this way.
He had me with "A conversation between the people who hid in my closet every night when I was seven." The cast of characters for that dialog included Freddy Krueger, a real-life murderer featured on that night's news, a dead uncle whose body the kid saw at an open casket funeral, his family doctor who gives him shots, and Chucky.
"DEAD UNCLE: Man, I cannot wait to kill this kid. MURDERER: Same here. FREDDY KRUEGER: I've wanted to kill him ever since he saw my movie. DEAD UNCLE: Hey, do you guys remember that night-light Simon used to have? MURDERER: Man, that thing scared the heck out of me. FREDDY KRUEGER: It's a good thing his mom got rid of it. Now there's nothing to stop us from killing him. (Everyone nods in agreement.) DR. MURPHY: Hey, Guys, sorry I'm late. I was busy scheduling an appointment with Simon, to give him shots."
This one's being offered free for the Kindle right now. (less)