This is a very nice collection of spooky stories. Some are darker, some are slightly humorous, and some are downright odd. Here are a few classic scar...moreThis is a very nice collection of spooky stories. Some are darker, some are slightly humorous, and some are downright odd. Here are a few classic scary stories alongside some of R. L. Stine's original work. Here are vignettes, short stories, poems, and even a comic book. The only part I didn't personally care for was Stine's rewriting of Stoker's "The Judge's House." Sure, I get that Stine was writing for children, and I know Stoker's wording can be difficult at times, but the dense writing of "The Judge's House" is part of what sets so creepy a tone. Still, it's a minor complaint, and the overall collection is strong.(less)
I was hoping for sentences, for stories or jokes, and I was surprised to find only one word on each page. The book is profusely illustrated, and it is...moreI was hoping for sentences, for stories or jokes, and I was surprised to find only one word on each page. The book is profusely illustrated, and it is funny enough for what it is. Quirky and slightly cute. I think my review is longer than the book.(less)
This collection of short stories provides a good mix of suspense, terror, and intrigue, with just the right amount of humor thrown in. Some of the sto...moreThis collection of short stories provides a good mix of suspense, terror, and intrigue, with just the right amount of humor thrown in. Some of the stories are particularly innovative, and the various twists and turns are sure to keep you interested. A charming YA collection.(less)
This was dreadful. I listened to the audio dramatization in 3D sound, and honestly, the sound effects were the best part. The first half of the story...moreThis was dreadful. I listened to the audio dramatization in 3D sound, and honestly, the sound effects were the best part. The first half of the story was boring. The second half was a marginal improvement, insofar as I became interested in the characters and wondered how, or even if, they would escape the mist. The ending was the clincher, for me. Nothing is explained: not the origin of the mist (What/who is it? Where does it come from? Why does it hunt people?), not the fate of the main characters (They're driving away, but do they make it? Is there even a safe destination?), not the flying monster (It's huge, but it just . . . what? Ignores them?!? Why?), not even the main character's weird decision NOT to drive home to check on his wife (Is she alive or dead? And why the heck does he not seem to care one way or the other?). This "ended" so abruptly that at first I thought there'd be one more disc that I had missed. But no. It just ends in the middle of nowhere with a nonending. I had come to expect more from Stephen King. This was such a disappointment. Of course, this being an abridged adaptation, it may very well be that other people's creative decisions are in play here. I may give the original a chance at some point in the future.(less)
I enjoyed the book overall. I adored some poems but found others to be tedious and confusing. Some poems were difficult to understand, and many, parti...moreI enjoyed the book overall. I adored some poems but found others to be tedious and confusing. Some poems were difficult to understand, and many, particularly the poems written for specific people, might have been more enjoyable if the book had provided some kind of information or context. Some of these poems just don't work in a vacuum. These poems range from romance to horror to fantasy, and there is even a drama included at the end of the book. The poems are given in reverse chronological order, and I was glad of the opportunity to observe Poe's style and skill progress with time.(less)
Dan Choan’s Stay Awake: Stories is a collection unlike any I’ve read. Although the stories are in many ways horrifying – featuring suicide, attempted...moreDan Choan’s Stay Awake: Stories is a collection unlike any I’ve read. Although the stories are in many ways horrifying – featuring suicide, attempted murder, ghosts, a haunted house, and a two-headed baby – they tend to resemble psychological thrillers more than gothic horror or classic horror. Choan is wonderful at creating vivid characters, and their nuanced treatment lends these tales their power. I found the book strangely compelling.
That said, the book left much to be desired. In the first place, the stories are not very different from each other. Moods, motifs, and even plot points reappear in multiple tales. After a while, they almost sound the same. More importantly, the stories do not depict the dark inner thoughts of normal, everyday people who struggle to overcome the challenges of daily life (although Choan certainly could have written such a collection). Instead, these characters – these endlessly fascinating, likeable, pitiable, memorable characters – are people in extraordinary, borderline supernatural situations. And that doesn’t work so well because the characters, so central to Choan’s character-driven style, have become what they are because of plot, and the plots in this book are dreadful. Sometimes, not enough details are given about a character’s backstory for the reader even to know who killed whom! (And since suicidal/murderous parents, prescient children, and magical, lovesick fortune tellers are probably not the norm for most of Choan’s readers, the bare bones, at least, are essential.) Worse, the stories lack endings. It’s as though the last four pages of each story are missing, and the end comes just before the reader would understand what’s happening. I know that the minimalist style can be an art form, but I’m not a huge fan of minimalism to begin with, and it just doesn’t fit too well here.
I understand, of course, what this collection is trying to do. I realize that one of the main ideas behind it involves getting into a character’s mind at a given moment, and I know that by minimizing plot, the emotional developments are emphasized. However, the plots are too weird to allow the characters to work and too unfinished to stand alone. This collection is too middle-of-the-road to do anything well. It might have been a good group of horror stories, or a very well-written bunch of character studies. It remains a gripping book, morbidly fascinating in its own way, but it never really goes anywhere. It tries for a noir-ish psychological-thriller-feel, but it doesn’t quite pull it off.
I received this book for free through Goodreads First Reads giveaways. (less)
I am a huge fan of Poe, and I have read "The Tell-Tale Heart" several times. This time, reading the Creative Classic Series version, I still enjoyed t...moreI am a huge fan of Poe, and I have read "The Tell-Tale Heart" several times. This time, reading the Creative Classic Series version, I still enjoyed the story. However, with all due respect for Byron Glaser's talent, I did not feel that the illustrations particularly added to the story experience. They did, however, make the story a little more fun for the child reader without distracting from the power of the text itself. A short biography of Edgar Allan Poe appears at the end, geared specifically toward young readers. If you want to introduce your child to Poe's short stories, this might be the book to get.(less)